07 Editorial - Invitation to be Agents of Mercy - Fr Anthony Charanghat

posted Apr 20, 2017, 9:04 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 20, 2017, 10:28 PM ]
The focus of Pope Francis' Message for Divine Mercy underlines that God's name is 'merciful' and His Mercy to us is itself an invitation to be Agents of His mercy. He has revealed Himself to us, on many occasions in the Bible as the father and mother's embrace of their child. The understanding of the concept of mercy spelt out in Sacred Scripture, above all, is the closeness of God to His people, essentially through help and protection. This aspect is reflected in the beautiful words of the prophet Hosea: "Through cords of compassion, and bands of love, I ease the yoke on their jaws, and bent down to feed them." (11:4)

We do not have a God who is incapable of understanding and sharing our weaknesses (cf. Heb 4:15). Quite the contrary! Precisely because of His mercy, God became one of us: Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin" (Gaudium et Spes 22). By His incarnation, the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart, explains the Holy Father.

We have often heard how Thomas was adamant in wanting a reality check for the basis of his faith. He refused to believe. And he found his faith at precisely the moment he touched the wounds of the Lord. The Pope reiterates "a faith that is not able to touch the Lord's wounds, is not faith! A faith that cannot be merciful, as the Lord's wounds were a sign of mercy, is not faith - it is an idea, an ideology." But if we really want to believe, we must draw near and touch those wounds, caress those wounds to be healed, so that we in turn can reach out to others to soothe their wounds.

This mercy comes to us as closeness and tenderness, and because of this, comes also as compassion and solidarity, as consolation and forgiveness. The more we receive, the more we are called to share it with others; it cannot be kept hidden or kept only for ourselves. It is something which burns within our hearts, driving us to love and recognise the face of Jesus Christ, in those who are most distant, weak, alone, confused and marginalised.

The Pontiff impresses on us that Mercy never allows us to feel satisfied. It is the love of Christ which makes us restless until we reach the goal; it impels us to embrace, welcome and include those who need mercy, so that all may be reconciled with the Father. Citing scripture, he says that Mercy does not remain still: it seeks out the lost sheep, and when one is found, a contagious joy overflows. Mercy knows how to look into the eyes of every person; each one is precious, for each one is unique.

We ought not to fear, for it is a love which comes to us and involves us to such an extent that we go beyond ourselves, enabling us to see His face in our brothers and sisters. Let us allow ourselves to be humbly guided by this love; then we will become merciful as the Father is merciful, urges Pope Francis.

In Jesus, therefore, we are able not only to touch the mercy of God with our hands, but we are inspired to become instruments of His mercy. It is easy to speak of mercy, yet more difficult to become its witness. This is a path that is life-long and which should not be interrupted. Jesus has said to us that 'we must be merciful as the Father'. It is a lifelong endeavour, exhorts the Pope.