The corporal and spiritual works of mercy predated the Jubilee. If we are to remain faithful to the Gospel mission, they certainly must extend into the future. In the thinking of Pope Francis, working in mercy is one of the most effective ways of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus. We have continued to work in mercy as Christ did. But there is always room for new ventures, and a certain creativity:
18. Now is the time to unleash the creativity of mercy, to bring about new undertakings, the fruit of grace. The Church today needs to tell of those “many other signs” that Jesus worked, which “are not written” (Jn 20:30), so that they too may be an eloquent expression of the fruitfulness of the love of Christ and the community that draws its life from him. Two thousand years have passed, yet works of mercy continue to make God’s goodness visible.
What about a litany of modern possibilities?
In our own day,
- whole peoples suffer hunger and thirst, and we are haunted by pictures of children with nothing to eat.
- Throngs of people continue to migrate from one country to another in search of food, work, shelter and peace.
- Disease in its various forms is a constant cause of suffering that cries out for assistance, comfort and support.
- Prisons are often places where confinement is accompanied by serious hardships due to inhumane living conditions.
- Illiteracy remains widespread, preventing children from developing their potential and exposing them to new forms of slavery.
- The culture of extreme individualism, especially in the West, has led to a loss of a sense of solidarity with and responsibility for others.
- Today many people have no experience of God himself, and this represents the greatest poverty and the major obstacle to recognition of the inviolable dignity of human life.
To conclude, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy continue in our own day to be proof of mercy’s immense positive influence as a social value. Mercy impels us to roll up our sleeves and set about restoring dignity to millions of people; they are our brothers and sisters who, with us, are called to build a “city which is reliable”.[Lumen Fidei 50]