That’s when it happens … that’s when Heaven opens up a special avalanche of grace that is pouring out upon the world and it will continue to rain down upon us for the next 335 days! That’s because our Holy Father Francis, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, established a Year of Mercy to run from Dec. 8, 2015 to Nov. 20, 2016.
You may ask, “What’s so exciting about that – it’s like declaring next year “The Year of Air or the Year of Water?” Exactly! It’s just like that … because air and water are essential elements to our survival … without them we die. And so it is with recognizing God’s Mercy … without it we lose God’s truly selfless generosity! Air and water are all around us and we often take them for granted. But think for a minute how we would live without them. We wouldn’t … we couldn’t and it’s the same with God’s Mercy.
I think, as Catholics, we may take God’s Mercy for granted, when really it is God’s free and unmerited gift to us as the key to Eternal Salvation. Do we recognize this? And do we act in ways that show we treasure the gift of Mercy. Then, as we come to understand the Mercy of God, we can challenge ourselves with the question: “Are we committed to proactively sharing Mercy as a human virtue with others?”
Well, there’s always room to take our understanding of Mercy to a higher level, which will be our mission for the year ahead. 2000 years ago, John the Baptist announced the coming of Christ with the words: “Repent and believe in the Gospel”! Since then the Church has always preached this call to conversion and holiness and during its history there have been times of great faith and mercy lived. But sadly, today is not one of those times. In fact, in our own Country that was founded on a deep and abiding faith in Almighty God, there is a rising tide of persecution that threatens the religious liberty we have enjoyed and celebrated since 1776. Let us call on God’s Mercy (understanding what Mercy can mean for humanity) this coming year … for God’s sake!