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This evening in our local Church we celebrate the end of the Catholic Church's 'Jubilee Year of Mercy'. One of the core teachings of the Gospel is an expansion of our understanding of love: “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?” (Matt 5:44-45). It is this teaching on mercy that Pope Francis hoped to instill within the faithful during this Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Forgiveness is fairly easy to do with small offenses, or with actions that don't affect me directly. But true mercy, of course, must extend beyond this.

On today's local paper we're told about a mother who lost her two young children and her husband as a result of a devasting crash caused by a suicidal driver. Attending a memorial service to road victims she said: "I forgive the driver - he wasn't in his sane mind - he was ill and I honestly don't believe he meant to harm my family. He was a father himself".

Do I want to see people like Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, meet the mercy of God? No.

But I know that God desires His mercy for everyone, and so, in these last days of the Year of Mercy, I ask that God grant me the grace to desire it.


it's a bit easier if one does not believe in heaven or hell

that quote from Matthew doesn't refer to a hereafter - it is a now situation - which is not easy
i admire people who can be like the woman you quote

here we have families who have forgiven the young man who sat in bible class with his victims and then killed them

what is "mercy"?
what was the year of mercy supposed to do?
is mercy the equivalent of understanding and allowing difference?

But i wonder if i should should think of love, forgiveness, and mercy as though they were almost identical. The God of the Old Testament was slow to anger, but once He got angry -- watch out!
When Jesus was at his best. he taught a God who was all loving, who would have no need to forgive or show mercy for these things are covered by unconditional love.

We need to be merciful, because do not forgive enough.
We need to forgive, because we do not love enough.

Jesus might well have asked: "How great is mercy? Do not even the worst tyrants sometimes show mercy to those they have conquered?"
LOVE means always putting the good of the other person first.
(as I have said before: even when 'love-making' one must put the good and pleasure of the other person first, otherwise one is merely using the other person for one's own pleasure!)

FORGIVENESS is involved when an injustice has been done.

MERCY is required because we are weak and fragile people. Mercy is an extension of love.

All three are closely connected. I need all three.