Being Merciful

Logo for Holy Year of MercyPope Francis has declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy to begin on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception this December 8th . In Judaism and Christianity, the Jubilee is a special year of remission of sins, forgiving debts, and reconciling broken relationships. It is a year in which the people of God are asked to especially make manifest the mercy of God. So maybe, here at the beginning, it is a good time to think about the meaning of “mercy.”

Merriam-Webster offers that mercy is the “forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power.” Sadly, that is the limit of how many understand God: the grim judge who is holding back power and punishment even though we deserve it. Such an understanding never gives any insight into the nature of God or his divine motivation or desire. But we do know about God’s desire – He desires that all be saved (1 Tim 2:4). And so the people of God have been reflecting on such things for a while. Continue reading