“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
(Matthew 5:7, NABRE)
2016 will be an extraordinary year for Catholics, literally and figuratively. Last 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – which celebrates Mary the Mother of God, also known as the Mother of Mercy – the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy commenced, and it will last until the Feast of Christ the King on 20 November 2016, the last Sunday before Advent. It is called extraordinary because it is not a long-predetermined Jubilee Year, ordinary ones of which are usually held every 25 years (the last one being in 2000).
Jubilees are special year-long periods of prayer where universal pardoning and remission of sins, stemming from the tradition declared in the Book of Leviticus. For this particular Jubilee, Pope Francis invites us to focus on God’s forgiveness and mercy – because for all Christians, it is only God’s mercy through his saving grace that we are saved.
We are invited to show mercy the way we were shown it, and for the spiritually healthy, this is a natural reaction to the joy of being shown mercy by God that we cannot help but share it with others. If you were shared a piece of very good news, such as an advocacy you love or the birth of a relative or friend’s child, you would want to spread the news, right? That’s how it goes with mercy and the Good News of all good news.
How extraordinary indeed.
As such, The Daily You will be launching another “themed” week of posts, this time revolving around the topic of Mercy and Compassion – the theme of his Philippine papal visit earlier this year. We are also timing this with the Philippine tradition of Simbang Gabi (lit. “night worship”), which is a novena of Masses leading up to Christmas Day, to give ample time and provisions for everyone to reflect and show mercy as a way of “preparing” for the coming of the Lord.
As we begin this week-long cyber-celebration, let us listen to the words of the Pope’s Jubilee Prayer, the Prayer for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and let it seep into every fiber of our being, that we, too, may be agents of “extraordinary” mercy.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
(Luke 6:36, NABRE)
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this of you, Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of
Mercy; you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.