It is precisely because sin exists in the world, which “God so loved…that he gave his only Son,”(Jn. 3:16) that God, who “is love,”(1 Jn. 4:8) cannot reveal Himself otherwise than as mercy.
Some expected a political Messiah. Some believers today still await a Judge who will clear the decks. At least in our stage of sacred history, that will likely not happen. Except for those who take the Lord’s justice into their own hands.
This corresponds not only to the most profound truth of that love which God is, but also to the whole interior truth of (people) and of the world which is (our) temporary homeland.
Is the fact of our own pilgrimage part of the reason why we are in an era of mercy, not an era of judgment? It would seem we remain in a place where any human sin can be forgiven. Only our own stubborn blindness prevents the activity of God in our lives:
Mercy in itself, as a perfection of the infinite God, is also infinite. Also infinite therefore and inexhaustible is the Father’s readiness to receive the prodigal children who return to His home. Infinite are the readiness and power of forgiveness which flow continually from the marvelous value of the sacrifice of the Son. No human sin can prevail over this power or even limit it. On the part of (a person) only a lack of good will can limit it, a lack of readiness to be converted and to repent, in other words persistence in obstinacy, opposing grace and truth, especially in the face of the witness of the cross and resurrection of Christ.
Dives in Misericordia, the second encyclical of Pope John Paul II, is available online here, and is copyright © 1980 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana