It is astonishing to believe how quickly time passes. This year has been an eventful one for me. Obviously, the coronary bypass surgery that has slowed me down quite a bit has also made me a bit more thoughtful about the presence of God in my life and, indeed, all around me.
I often urge you to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Most Catholics who are beyond high school should have read most, if not all of it, by now. I am not quite so naïve, however, as to think that I am accurate in my assumption. Join me in reviewing the Catechism especially as we wind down the Year of Mercy.
The Catechism teaches that God’s mercy is revealed in Christ to sinners. We come to understand that God’s mercy is not some abstract concept, but a reality that speaks to us through the humanity of Jesus. Humanity possesses a new and compelling dignity because God has become Man—God shares our humanity.
Like the Incarnation itself, the dignity and the mercy of God are gratuitous: namely, they come without charge, totally unexpected, and completely undeserved. The amazing actions of God—grace and mercy, are given freely and beyond our wildest imagining.
As the Year of Mercy concludes we might do well to remember, each day, the words of Saint Paul to his beloved Philippians: (2:1, 5-8)
If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.
By Bishop William Patrick Callahan