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(Part 1)


October 11, 2015

Our theme for 2016 is “Rich in Mercy.” This is taken from Ephesians 2:4. This theme also falls in line with our Church’s Extraordinary Jubilee Year (The Year of Mercy) which is from December 8 this year to November 20 next year.

Next year’s theme is intended to bring us ever deeper into the mystery of God’s plan for us. For the past few years our themes have been intense. In 2013 it was BE.LI.EV.E![1] We looked to the faith that works wonders.[2] As part of the theme, we focused on the call to the New Evangelization,[3] for Catholics to meet, live and share Christ.[4] In 2014 our theme was Empowered to Witness. Here the focus was on becoming saints, martyrs and warriors.[5] This year 2015 our theme is Look at Jesus, Look to the Poor (No One in Need). This has brought us to the very challenging aspect of working not just at evangelization but at total liberation, in building the Church of the Poor.[6]

In this third millennium, with darkness in the world intense and with a tsunami of evil overwhelming us all, the call to become authentic Christians is ever more urgent. This is a call to holiness and Christian perfection. This is a call to self-denial and self-emptying. This is a call to go all out and engage in spiritual warfare. This is a call to mercy.

God is a God of mercy. In fact, God is mercy. What has God done for us? “You were dead in your transgressions and sins .... but God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Eph 2:1,4-5). Mercy is forgiveness. Mercy is giving life to those who are dead in sin. Mercy is love. Further, “God raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6). God not only did not exact upon us the punishment we richly deserve, but He exalted us, raising us in Christ to the heavens, where we will dwell eternally with Him.

Still further, God extends us mercy, and then expects us to be merciful ourselves, to extend that same mercy to others. Since God is mercy, then God expects us to be like Him, to be holy. In fact, the call is to Christian perfection (Mt 5:48). Interestingly, the parallel passage is Luke 6:36, where we are told by Jesus, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” Mercy for us is not just something we experience from God, but is what we need to become, in order that we might truly be godlike. Mercy is perfection.

Unlimited forgiveness. Unilateral, unconditional, self-sacrificial love. Love of enemies. Being perfect as God is perfect. Zealous proclamation of the gospel. All these are about mercy.

Let us enter more deeply into God’s plan for us, as we explore the depths of mercy.

* * *

[1] Read the book “BE.LI.EV.E!”
[2] Read the book “Forty Days of Wonder-Working Faith.”
[3] Read the book “The New Evangelization­A Work of the Divine Family.”
[4] Read the book “The Live Christ, Share Christ Movement.”
[5] Read the book “Called to be Saints, Martyrs, Warriors.”
[6] Read the books “Bringing Glad Tidings to the Poor,” “Freeing the Captives,” and “Forty Days with the Poor.”
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