Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Mercy, Jesus, & the lost sheep

Pope Francis is all about mercy.
If I could summarize Pope Francis' pontificate so far in one word, I think it would be mercy.  This is not, of course, a great insight on my part; indeed, many commentators have pointed out that the Holy Father is trying to demonstrate a compassion that might otherwise go unnoticed by a media and culture that is fixated on so-called hot-button issues.

Of course, the mercy that the Vicar of Jesus has been trying to show us is not the sort of "live-and-let-live" attitude that many assume.  Instead, it is the mercy of the Good Shepherd who sees the lost sheep, as today's Gospel (Mt. 10:1-7) points out, and goes out to pursue them.

And he doesn't do it alone!  Jesus calls out twelve men to enter formation for a new thing in Israel. He sets his apostles at the task of evangelizing: first to the lost sheep of the House of Israel and later, as we who have ready the rest of the story know, to the whole world.

We would do well to heed Jesus' call to "go and make this proclamation, 'The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand'" (Mt. 10:7).  Why? Because it is only through this ministry of mercy — most clearly found in the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation — that people can find peace.

This is the mercy that Pope Francis is talking about, and it is the mercy that we, too, need to share.

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