Dear Friends in Christ,
God has loved us. We know and believe this because Jesus Christ, in his words and actions, reveals the mercy of God. Pope Francis wants us to understand better how we are called to be God’s gift to one another through our merciful deeds. From this season of giving, we can expand to share God’s gift of mercy throughout the year.
Pope Francis wrote, “Mercy is the beating heart of the Gospel.” He encourages us to give the gift of God’s mercy to others; so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God”. “May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the kingdom of God is already present in our midst.” As believers, the church’s witness reveals God’s tender mercy.
Our gift-giving includes the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The corporal works are: feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, giving drink to the thirsty and burying the dead. The spiritual works are: converting sinners, instructing the ignorant, advising the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving injuries and praying for the living and dead. Imagine how grateful others will be when we pray at the death of their loved ones, when we feed and clothe those in need, when we help in the formation of the faith of children and adults.
As these works of mercy are practiced and shared daily, we can teach by our words and actions. You can show the gift of God’s mercy by encouraging those in need of confession or inviting a friend to Mass.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Philip Wells