“Jesus Christ is the face of God’s Mercy.”
On Wednesday 6th July, Fr James Sweeney and parishioners from Our Lady Queen of Peace, Llanelli gathered together to reflect on the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy with Therese Warwick from CAFOD South Wales.
Pope Francis has asked us to rediscover the richness encompassed by the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
The parish talk on the Year of Mercy focused on why Pope Francis has dedicated a whole year to Mercy. What is Mercy? And why is it important?
Mercy is central to Pope Francis, even down to the motto on his crest: “Miserando Atque Eigendo” – by having mercy, by choosing Him or “To be shown mercy and chosen”
God’s mercy and joy are recurring themes in the Pope’s life and mercy has to be experienced face to face.
In the parable of the Prodigal son, Pope Francis has said that this one story encapsulates the whole Gospel.
It is the longest parable in the whole Bible – and many scripture scholars also say this one story is the pinnacle of Jesus’ teaching, the one that conveys the message of his ministry.
We looked at the spirituality of imperfection, that many mystics have examined: we need to fail and be powerless to be redeemed. We come to God not by doing it right, but by doing it wrong.
This is the Good News of the Gospel. We can all receive the love and mercy of God. His mercy is ever abundant and there is more than enough for everyone. We seem to think that we have to work hard to earn it. But God will reach out to us and that knowledge will transform us.
“From the depths of the mystery of God, the great river of mercy wells up
and overflows unceasingly. It is a spring that will never run dry, no matter how
many people draw from it. Every time someone is in need, he or she can approach it because the mercy of God never ends.” (Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis)
This cross is made from the wreckage and pieces of a boat that was wrecked on 11 October, 2013 off the coast of Lampedusa.
311 Eritrean and Somali refugees were drowned en route from Libya to Europe. Inhabitants of Lampedusa helped to save the lives of 155 others.
After meeting some of the survivors who are Eritrean Christians in the church on Lampedusa, Mr Francesco Tuccio, the island’s carpenter, was moved by their plight but felt frustrated that he could not make a difference to their situation.
The best he could do was to use his skills as a carpenter to fashion each of them a cross from the wreckage of the boat as a reflection on their salvation from the sea and hope for the future.
A similar cross was made for Pope Francis who carried it at a memorial service for those who had perished.
Mr Tuccio kindly made another Cross for the British Museum to mark an extraordinary moment in European history – the displacement of millions and – marking the fate of Eritrean Christians.
It also stands witness to the kindness and compassion of the people of the small island of Lampedusa who have done what they can for the refugees and migrants who arrive on their shores.
We think of the words of St Paul: “Remember always to welcome strangers, for
by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (Hebrews 13:2)
“We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it.” (Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis)
You can download resources for the Year of Mercy here http://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Year-of-Mercy
There are leaders’ notes: http://cafod.org.uk/content/download/29186/333412/version/1/Prayer_refugees_Pilgrimage-leaders-notes.pdf