The Youth and the call for Mercy
Another year has come for our Catholic Youths to reflect on an aspect of our faith. This year theme is “the Youth and the Call for Mercy”. This theme is in tandem with the Holy Father, Pope Francis call on this Jubilee year, “The year of Mercy”. The fact is that we the children of God must be basking in the comfort of Divine Mercy. It has become axiomatic therefore that the Catholic Youths should choose Mercy as the central guide for their youth week.
The call to be merciful is a universal call by our Lord Jesus Christ to humanity as a whole, to show mercy to each other, just as HE our God shows mercy to us sinful humanity. Jesus teaches us in the gospel of St. Luke (6:36-38) as follows “Be compassionate as your father is compassionate. Do not judge and you will not be judged yourselves; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon and you will be pardoned. Give and there will be gifts for you; a full measure pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap, because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back”.
This teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ is tied to the call for mercy. To be compassionate on others is to be merciful to others. This body of teaching by Christ which calls for compassion, not to judge others, nor to condemn them and finally to grant pardon to those who wrong us, bring out the kernel of Jesus’ teaching on life, on the act of living and on eternal life. The call to be merciful strikes at the core of human existence. Without pretences, the holy scriptures tell us that the holiest person sins about seven times a day. Such a sinner obviously requires pardon from the one that was wronged. Therefore, this eternal teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ is apt now and forever for us to be on the part of eternal life.
As the Holy Father, Pope Francis said on the 50th World Communications day … “the church, in union with Christ, the living incarnation of the father of Mercies is called to practice mercy as the distinctive trait of all that she is and does. What we say and how we say it, our every word and gesture, ought to express God’s compassion, tenderness and forgiveness for all”. This call by the Holy Father is a challenge to humanity and especially to our youths. As our society drifts into individualism and selfishness, driven largely by the messy economy and joblessness, our youths are all the more challenged to show compassion and mercy to all. Despite the fact that we are all caught up in the labyrinth of the messy quagmire of the nation’s economy, yet compassion and mercy tower higher than our predicament.
As sons and daughters of God, we are called to show mercy to all without exception. As the church’s words and actions are all meant to convey mercy, to touch peoples hearts and to sustain them on their lives journey to the fullness of life which is Christ, so also our lives as youths should follows the church’s words and actions, to convey God’s mercy, and touch lives to the glory of God.
As youths, we have been ushered into the banqueting hail of God’s mercy and love and we bask and enjoy the life of grace which have been generously lavished on us. We are comforted by the blessed assurance that our sins have been forgiven us and now we are enjoying that intimate fellowship with God. This intimacy guarantees that we can continue to ask and to receive, seek and to find and to knock since the door will be opened onto us. There is no limit to what God can do for us and there is no transgression that He will not forgive, so long as we sincerely cry out in mercy. The amazing beauty of God’s inexhaustible mercy is that no matter what we do and how often we cross the line, our heavenly father is always there to forgive and have us back when we have a contrite heart without pretences. The father is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Ps 103:8). As Pope Francis once said ‘mercy can help mitigate life’s troubles and offer warmth to those who have known only the coldness of judgment
As Christians, we have a new life of grace won for us by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. This new life comes with responsibilities. We are called to show mercy to others just as God shows us mercy. Refusing to forgive others indicates a lack of appreciation of the precious blood that was shed for us. The light of God’s forgiveness cannot shine through our lives when we lock our lives against forgiving those who offend us. We must become very radical disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, through obeying his commandments.
True disciples of Jesus must love His brothers and sisters and must forgive everyone who has trespassed against us.
By Rev. Fr. Dr. Jude C. Onwana