Monday, February 1, 2016

Missionaries of Mercy

During this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy our Holy Father will give a special homily one Saturday a month during the year.  I read the homily for this past Saturday and said to myself, I want to do this - to be like this.  So I am sharing it with you.

Dear brothers and sisters,

We enter day after day into living the Holy Year of Mercy. With his grace, the Lord guides our steps as we pass through the Holy Door, and he comes to meet us to remain with us always, despite our shortcomings and contradictions. Let us never tire of feeling the need for his forgiveness, because when we are weak, his closeness makes us strong and allows us to live our faith with greater joy.

Today I wish to speak to you about the close relationship between mercy and mission. As St. John Paul II reminded us: “The Church lives an authentic life when she professes and proclaims mercy … and when she brings people close to the sources of the Savior’s mercy (Dives in misericordia, 13). As Christians, we are responsible for being missionaries of the Gospel. When we receive the good news, or when we experience a beautiful moment, it’s natural that we feel the need to share it with others. We feel within ourselves that we cannot hold back the joy that was given to us: we want to share it. The joy aroused in us is such that it drives us to communicate it.

And it should be the  same when we encounter the Lord: the joy of this encounter, of his mercy, [should drive us ] to share the Lord’s mercy. Indeed, the concrete sign that we have truly encountered Jesus is the joy we experience in sharing it with others. And this is not to “proselytize,” this is to give a gift: I give you what gives me joy. In reading the Gospel we see that this was the experience of the first disciples: after their first encounter with Jesus, Andrew went directly to tell his brother Peter ( cf. John 1:40-42), and Phillip did the same thing with Nathaniel (cf. John 1:45-46). To encounter Jesus is to experience his love. This love transforms us and makes us capable of sharing to others the power that he gives us.

Somehow we could say that from the day of our baptism, a new name is given to each of us, in addition to the one our mother and father give us, and this name is “Christopher.” We are all “Christophers.” What does it mean? “Christ-bearers.” And it is the name of our attitude, an attitude of being bearers of the joy of Christ, of the mercy of Christ. Every Christian is a “Christopher” (i.e., a bearer of Christ)!

The mercy we receive from the Father has not been given to us as a private consolation but makes us instruments so that others may also receive the same gift. There is a wonderful interplay between mercy and mission. To live mercy makes us missionaries of mercy, and to be missionaries enables us to grow more and more in the mercy of God. Therefore, let us take our Christian lives seriously, and let us strive to live like believers, because this is the only way the Gospel can touch the hearts of people and open them to receive the grace of love, to receive the great mercy of God, that welcomes everyone.

No comments: