This past Tuesday, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis opened the Holy Year of Mercy 2016. During this year, we celebrate above all God’s infinite mercy toward us. We celebrate the great love and mercy God showed us by sending His Son into the world for our sake. We celebrate God’s act of mercy in giving us a spiritual mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. How can we celebrate this Year of Mercy on a personal level? We are aware of the infinite mercy we have received from God. With grateful hearts then, we should give back from what we have received. Our Holy Church constantly invites us to practice acts of mercy. She teaches us about corporal and spiritual acts of mercy. Among the corporal works of mercy, we are called to be attentive to the bodily needs of others such as feeding the hungry, giving a drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and the imprisoned, and burying the dead. Through the spiritual works of mercy Mother Church invites us to be attentive to the spiritual needs of people. They are counseling the doubtful, instructing those seeking knowledge of their faith, practicing fraternal correction, comforting the afflicted, forgiving offenses, bearing wrongs patiently, and praying for the living and the dead. Dear friends, let us think and pray about these corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Let us make an extra effort during this Holy Year of Mercy to reach out to others through acts of mercy. Have a blessed and joyful Advent Season.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.