Seasonal Reflection: Lent, 2016

Reflecting on Peace


Thus says the God of hosts: Judge with true justice, and show kindness and compassion toward each other. Do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the resident alien or the poor; do not plot evil against one another in your hearts.
Zechariah 7:9-10

Pope Francis has declared this an “Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy” and has specifically asked that “the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year be lived more intensely as a privileged moment to celebrate and experience God’s mercy” (Misericordiae Vultus, 17). In his Lenten Message for 2016, he guides us in how to do just that.

First, Pope Francis encourages us to listen attentively to the word of God. There we hear of God’s infinite mercy, tenderness, and compassion, even and especially to the least faithful. We learn of God’s unconditional love as God seeks to restore relationships wounded by sinfulness. We observe God’s mercy in action, reaching out to our forebears, offering them a new chance to look, convert, and believe (Misericordiae Vultus, 21).

Then Pope Francis invites us to experience God’s mercy, ourselves, and to share it with others. He notes that “God’s mercy transforms human hearts; it enables us, through the experience of a faithful love, to become merciful in turn.” It inspires us to engage in “concrete, everyday actions meant to help our neighbors in body and spirit;” that is, to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and to reject arrogance, greed, and indifference toward the poor and the environment.

Finally, Pope Francis reiterates that “the season of Lent in this Jubilee Year is a favorable time to…listen to God’s word and practice the works of mercy,” to reach out to “our brothers and sisters who need to be fed, clothed, sheltered, visited,” and to touch our own sinfulness through “counsel, instruction, forgiveness, admonishment and prayer.” As he concludes, “Let us not waste this season of Lent, so favorable a time for conversion!”



Adapted from the Prayer of Pope Francis for the Jubilee

Lord Jesus Christ, you have taught us to be merciful like your heavenly Abba,
And have told us that whoever sees you sees God.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
The adulteress from seeking happiness only in created things;
Made Peter weep after his betrayal and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible God,
of the God who manifests power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
Let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from God,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed, and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this of you, Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy;
You who live and reign with Abba God and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.


Suggested Actions

  • - Read the complete Misericordiae Vultus, Bull of Indiction
    of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy at

    - Read the complete Lenten Message of Pope Francis at

    - Read scripture and let it capture your heart and mind.

    - Accept God’s mercy, recognize it, and be grateful for it. Allow it to convert you.

    - Extend mercy to others. Practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy; make them a guide in your personal and political life. Support programs that feed the hungry, provide affordable housing, living wages, and quality health care for all. Seek prison reform. Comfort those who suffer physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Forgive offenses; oppose vengeful practices. Educate those whose beliefs are based on misinformation, prejudice, and fear.

    - Join the 34th Good Friday Way of the Cross organized by Pax Christi Metro New York on March 25th, starting at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, E. 47th St. between 1st & 2nd Aves. at 8:30 AM. Each Station will reflect on a different way we are called to live lives of mercy with care and compassion.

Reflection Archives
2016:  Ordinary Time   2015: Christmas 
Advent  Ordinary Time   Easter   Lent     2014:    Christmas   Advent   Autumn   Summer   Easter   Lent  


                                    Pax Christi Metro New York © 2016 
371 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10014 | (212)420-0250 | fax (212)420-1628 |