Following on from Martin’s blog, this week we continue – mercy being central to our journey in faith. Pope Francis in his address at the close of the recent Synod on the Vocation and Mission of the Family says
“For the Church, to conclude the Synod means to return to our true journeying together, in bringing to every part of the world, to every diocese, to every community and every situation, the light of the Gospel, the embrace of the Church, and the support of God’s mercy”
To facilitate the journey, we have the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. In this extra-ordinary year ‘of the Lord’s favour’ the power and grace of our lives as baptised Christians is to be renewed and lived out in the fullest way possible. In our turn walking in the footsteps of Christ, we continue to be his hands, his feet, his beating heart, for the world. And we, like Christ, are to be the merciful face of the Father, who ‘desires our wellbeing and wants to see people happy, fully of joy and peace (MV9).
In order to accompany our candidates and catechumens in a truly ‘merciful’ way, we must first think about what mercy has meant and means for us. Pope Francis makes some suggestions:
- It’s not an abstract idea but a concrete reality, like the love of a father or mother for their child.
- So what does the word ‘mercy’ mean for you?
- When have you needed and experienced mercy in your life?
- When are you been most merciful?
- Pray with scripture, especially the Gospel of Luke – and in the light of scripture, to reflect
- How is this true in my story? Can I encourage others by telling my story?
- Who are the people in our families, teams, community, life who need God’s overwhelming love and mercy at this time?
- Finally, to live out the Year of Mercy in the light of this encounter with Jesus through the Word, and put what we pray into action, in our homes, parishes, world..
- In what very practical ways could you be more merciful in your relationships? And in your parish community?
- How can you support those in your RCIA team, and those on the journey – where do they need mercy?
These reflections may help us proclaim mercy – extraordinary mercy – in our travelling together. This mercy is to be experienced by everyone, no-one to be excluded – even you and me.