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.
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
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 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
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace
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.
- Read the complete Misericordiae
Vultus, Bull of Indiction
of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco_bolla_20150411_misericordiae-vultus.html.
- Read the complete Lenten Message of
Pope Francis at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/lent/documents/papa-francesco_20151004_messaggio-quaresima2016.html.
- 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
Ordinary Time 2015: Christmas
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