Check the readings for this coming Sunday. Do they inspire the quality of mercy, as the second Easter Sunday has been subtitled? Saint Luke reminds us of the early Christian community, “There was no needy person among them.” Is our demonstration of mercy limited to our own? We have enough trouble with that these days, don’t you think?
The psalmist reminds us of an everlasting mercy. The Hebrew word is also translated as loving-kindness. Maybe that is easily dissed as unmanly by those disenfranchised white male Christians–love, and being kind to others. But if God’s mercy is a marathon, that strikes me as being a long pilgrimage of hardship for the person tempted to let up on the mercy and tend to his–or her–own needs.
Thomas wants the endorsement of the Lord before he moves ahead with the others. Is that sometimes the case with us? Someone else is merciful to a gay person, a vagrant, or someone who had an abortion, or someone who holds an objectionable political view. And we want to wait for authority. What will the pastor say? What will be the bishop rule? What will Pope Francis do? Sometimes we have to be an adult about it, and just do the right thing without checking the nail marks to be sure, absolutely, if it is the Lord in our midst.
A few commentators are dismissing the Jubilee of Mercy, not considering that it’s somewhat more than a year. Everybody’s favorite inside commentator seems to be caught up in favor:
(The Jubilee) will (repeat: will) have programmatic consequences in the life of the church, and which might just end up being the culminating initiative of the entire Rule of Francis.
I certainly hope so. But I think it must go deeper than just programming. A few works of art, an oratorio or two, some nice speeches. It needs to be a seed planted pretty deep within the body of believers.
Special years come and go. World events have taken a lot of the burnish off Jubilee 2000. And why not? It’s just a number with three zeroes. It might not even accurately reflect an exact anniversary of the Nativity. And besides, whose birthday would Jesus insist we honor if we had to choose between him and the poor we always have with us?
So, mercy is coming. Doubters be wary.