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In the Jubilee Year of Mercy in 2016, Pope Francis used a sentence from today’s Gospel as the theme for the year: Merciful like the Father. He asked the whole Church to spend a year thinking about that sentence: 
“Be merciful as your Father is merciful.” 
This sentence is challenging! It means that the way God acts, is the way a follower of Jesus must act. The disciple acts “like” God. You and I are called to imitate the mercy of God. 

Jesus came to show us what the mercy of the Father is like. Jesus is the perfect imitation of the Father. So today’s Gospel calls us to the imitation of Christ – to act like Jesus. 

Most of us have a long journey toward becoming merciful like the Father as Jesus was. 

In his words which began the Jubilee Year in 2016, Pope Francis said: 

“We want to live this Jubilee Year in light of the Lord’s words: Merciful like the Father. The Evangelist reminds us of the teaching of Jesus who says, “Be merciful just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). This is a programme of life as demanding as it is rich with joy and peace. (Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, April 2015) 

Then Pope Francis gave us some practical advice how on how to live God’s mercy, how to make God’s mercy our lifestyle: 

“ … In order to be capable of mercy, therefore, we must first of all … listen to the Word of God. This means rediscovering the value of silence in order to meditate on the Word that comes to us. In this way, it will be possible to contemplate God’s mercy and adopt it as our lifestyle.(Ibid) 

First, the Pope says, we must listen to the Word of God. If we are going to do this, then we must rediscover the value of silence so we can meditate on God’s Word. When think about God’s mercy in this way, he says, we can adopt God’s mercy as our lifestyle. 

Jesus gives us some practical hints in today’s Gospel on how to imitate him and be merciful like the Father. He said: 

“Do not judge … do not condemn … grant pardon (be forgiving) … give.” 

Let’s listen to this Word of God and sit in silence and think about them, meditate on them. As we do this, we might find ourselves asking: 

  • Do I judge? Do I stand in harsh judgement of others, which Jesus never did?

  • Do I condemn?  Jesus refused to condemn – am I quick to condemn?

  • Am I forgiving? Do I forgive as Jesus forgives or do I hold grudges?

  • Do I give? Jesus gave himself, even to death on the cross. Is my life more about getting than giving?

 Finally, we might ask ourselves: 

Am I merciful as my Father is merciful? 

If we refuse to judge and condemn, if we are strong in our mercy, forgiveness and in our giving, then Jesus says: 

“there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap.” 

When we adopt Jesus’ mercy as our lifestyle, when we are generous and merciful in forgiving and in giving, we do not just get the same amount back. No! Jesus’ gifts to us will be running over. 

Jesus’ forgiveness and generosity to us, makes our forgiving and our giving look insignificant and small. 
May this time of Lent help each of us to be merciful as our Father is merciful.


CLICK HERE to read Pope Francis' introduction to the Year of Mercy 2016