This Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis invites us all to not just meditate on this theme but to also get involved, reach out and get others with this gift that we so many times are given undeservingly by our heavenly Father. We are given it practically every single day and may not even realize it. Do we recognize it when we receive it or do we recognize it when we ourselves give it to others? It is our baptismal call that we are to be Christ for others in this world today who so badly need to see and experience Christ. In order to give it you must know it so the question first is, "Do you know mercy?"
Pope Francis has given us a beautiful gift this year by helping us do just that: answer that question for ourselves and for others. We are given the opportunity to look deeply into our inner selves to recognize what mercy really is. How has God's mercy touched my life and how has it changed me? How has this gift given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ going to inspire us to help others recognize it? What is the true meaning of mercy?
The other day I heard someone say, "I don't really know what mercy means. I hear the word and I draw a blank. I can't think of anything." This is a good time to look up the Scripture readings which talk about God's mercy and meditate on them, and then look at your life and see how it touches you. There are plenty of resources out there that have been prepared for this Year of Mercy. There are Bible studies, prayer and retreat opportunities that are going to be offered throughout the parishes and in our diocese to help reflect and pray on the theme of mercy throughout the year. Take advantage of these opportunities and invite a friend or two. There are free apps to help you pray and meditate, like the 365 Days to Mercy and Laudate, "Reflejos de Luz." These resources can help us recognize mercy in our lives and how we can share mercy with others as a means of evangelizing.
Take some time to meditate on the Scripture in the letter of Jude 1:20-23.
One of the people in history which I recognize as knowing and sharing mercy is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In one of his preaching's he spoke on the Scripture in Matthew 5: 43-46. It can be found on the internet under the title, "Love Your Enemies." He uses his experiences to share how powerful this Scripture is and how important it is for us to follow it even though it may be very difficult at times. Our theme for this year's Martin Luther King Jr. celebration is "Do You Know Mercy?" Bishop Martin D. Holley from the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., will be our guest homilist. The Mass will begin at 10:30 a.m. at St. Martin de Porres Church at 555 Northampton St., Buffalo. The Mass will be followed by a reception and chances to win theme baskets. Proceeds will go toward the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund. Please join us as Bishop Holley shares with us some thoughts on this theme.