God’s extraordinary mercy continues to haunt His lost and wayward children who clamor for more assurance that they are not alone in life’s darkness, amidst the trials and battles for justice, respect and equality. Yet God remains the ‘Forgiving and Compassionate Father’ patiently awaiting the return of the ‘Prodigal Son.’
“God’s face is the face of a merciful father who is always patient. That is his mercy. He always has patience with us, He understands us, He waits for us, He does not tire of forgiving us if we are able to return to Him with a contrite heart,” Pope Francis said in his first Angelus message last March, 2013, a few days after his election as pope. Then he urged everyone to be renewed by God’s mercy and become agents of His mercy, so that we become a “Church of Mercy.”
Even Pope Francis’ coming to the Philippines last January 15-19, 2015, was the journey of a compassionate shepherd extending his caring presence to the victim-survivors of Typhoon Yolanda. In this Holy Year of Mercy, may each one of us bring life to the motto to be “Merciful like the Father!” This can be done through charitable actions or the works of mercy by which we assist our needy neighbors—corporal wise by feeding, sheltering, visiting the sick and imprisoned, giving alms, etc., and spiritually by instructing, advising, consoling, and comforting, including peace-building and the pursuit of good governance and honest elections.
Let us cry out in Psalm 108: “Bless the Lord, my soul, and do not forget all His kindness; He forgives all your sins and heals all your sickness” (vv. 2-3); “as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him, for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust” (vv. 13-14).