Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Pope Francis has called for a Jubilee Year of Mercy to begin Dec. 8 and lasting until Nov. 20, 2016. This extraordinary jubilee year will be a great opportunity for all of us to immerse ourselves in the graces that have been won for us by our Lord’s paschal mystery, in which he showed to us the mercy of the Father. I want to do my part to encourage all of us to participate in this Year of Mercy as much as possible.
The mercy of God is not just one of God’s many attributes, but is the essence of God himself. We are more or less merciful. God is mercy. Mercy is a synonym for love and as St. John the Apostle proclaimed, “God is love.” This love is marked by tenderness, compassion, and a deep and unchanging love of God for all of God’s creation, but especially the highest of all created beings, the human person. We can do nothing to destroy or lessen God’s mercy for us. We cannot earn it or even be worthy of it. It is pure gift. All we can do is receive it, with humility, recognition and acknowledgment of the giver. And we can try to imitate God’s mercy in our relationships in family, school, work and society. Of course, we will always fall short of the depths of God’s mercy, but we are nonetheless invited to be sharers of the mercy of the Father.