January 13th, 2016
Messengers of Mercy
Is our world in need of mercy? Indeed, it is! Much more than the yesteryears, we stand at the crossroads of conflicts created by myriad forms of violence both internally and externally. We do find innocent people longing for the mercy of God in our world today. Increasing forms of terrorism, resulting in the present refugee crisis of Europe and the Middle East, have in many ways made the humanity seek the unfailing gifts of God’s mercy. In the midst of an urgent need for making God’s mercy a reality today, the Jubilee Year of Mercy comes certainly as a precious gift not only to realize the mercy of God but to reflect over and radiate the same to those in need.
Ever since Jorge Mario Bergoglio became the Pope, he has attracted millions and millions to realize the mercy of God. His merciful deeds have brought back many to the Church of God. The Pope has been constantly striving hard to make the Church and her mission ‘to be a witness to mercy’. With a noble intention of bringing the Gospel of mercy to each person, the Pope announced an Extraordinary Jubilee having the mercy of God at its centre. The invitation was brought forth to all in his own words quoting the gospel, “We want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6:36).”
Pope Francis inaugurated the Jubilee year of mercy on 8th December, 2015 opening the Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica and it will conclude on 20th November 2016, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The Holy Father himself said, “The Holy Year is “itself a gift of grace.” To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them.”Certainly, for all of us, this holy year is a special gift to seek the mercy of God again and again amidst our imperfections. The Jubilee year invites the Catholics to seek God’s forgiveness in and through the Sacrament of reconciliation, and this in turn will enable us to show the mercy of God to those in need. It is only in the constant realization of receiving the mercy of God that we could share His mercy to those in need.
Pope Francis has emphasized the important role of mercy in our world today saying, “mercy can really contribute to building a more human world.’ Keeping mercy as the key word of the Gospel, the clarion call of the Pope to rediscover and render fruitful God’s mercy becomes much more relevant for us all people of good will and mainly for the staff and volunteers of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), who have an important role to play in making the mercy of God more visible to those in need. By providing food, health care, shelter and education to millions of men and women seeking mercy, JRS over the years has made the mercy of God a reality in different parts of the world.
Ever since I came to know the selfless service of JRS, I have admired the unique service rendered by JRS staff, volunteers and benefactors mainly for those in greater needs. For all those, serving in and through JRS, the Jubilee Year of Mercy is a special gift not only to experience the mercy of God but to become messengers of God’s mercy in and through the effective service to the refugees all over the world. By doing so we could become the message of God’s mercy in our modern world. In my view, a merciful deed for those in need is worth million words of mercy. Through every merciful deed that we do for those in need, we could offer ‘comfort to every man and woman of our time’. This powerful message of mercy in our simple deeds will make our merciful journey during this year of mercy a meaningful and memorable one. Let us make that happen by becoming the messengers of mercy!
G. S. Thayriam is a Member of the Hurtado Jesuit Community and Scholastic.
Jesuit Refugee Service UK is based at the Hurtado Jesuit Centre in Wapping: www.jrsuk.net