On Tuesday of last week the opening of the great Jubilee Year of Mercy was celebrated by the Holy Father in Rome, and in Churches throughout the world. Here at Holy Redeemer we marked the occasion with a well-attended Mass which was celebrated by Fr Sean Wales, our Provincial Superior. I extend my thanks to all who attended and to all who were involved in the preparations for what was a very beautiful and meaningful liturgy.
The theme of mercy is one that we will consider and reflect upon throughout this year of grace and opportunity. It is a theme that can be reflected in an infinite number of ways, and the gift of this year for each of us it that it allows us to deepen our understanding and experience that every single aspect of our lives should be built around the centrality of the truth of God’s mercy for us, and our call from Our Most Holy Redeemer, to follow His example and become models of mercy to one another and for the sake of our troubled world.
We remember well the occasion in the Gospels when Peter asked Jesus how many times we must forgive. Peter suggested the figure of seven times, which to each of us might seem to be quite a lot indeed. But Jesus’ answer was to say that we must forgive not seven times but seventy times seven times! In other words, if we are to be serious about putting on the mind and heart of Christ, we must become people of endless forgiveness and mercy to all who enter our lives. This is something that can cause us everything, and is never easy, but this is the graceful life that Jesus calls us to each and every moment.
The struggle to forgive, especially when we are wounded by those we must love, appears to be humanly impossible to us. But, fortunately, we have the example of Our Most Holy Redeemer to inspire us, especially when we remember that one of the last words that He spoke from the Cross was a prayer to the Father to forgive those who brought about His crucifixion. It was at the same time a prayer for each one of us, for the sins of the world until the end of time. Truly, each and every one of us lives every moment in the merciful and loving gaze of God.
As we move towards the great feast of Christmas we are made freshly aware that the coming of Jesus into our world is the coming of the mercy of God into all human history. This is what we are called to give thanks for and to manifest in our own personal lives.
On Thursday evening at 7.30.p.m. we will be given the opportunity to celebrate sacramentally the gift of mercy. Here at Holy Redeemer we will be holding our penitential service, where we will be given the opportunity to ask forgiveness for our sin and for the weakness of our human condition. In receiving absolution for our sin, through the abundant mercy of God, we will also be strengthened in our desire to bear witness to God’s mercy to one another. Let us make use of this moment of grace in our parish community.
Fr Gerard, CSsR