Concepts for the Jubilee Year of Mercy

The archdiocesan Office of Evangelization has compiled a list of key concepts for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Clarion Herald’s series continues with five more:

Compassion means, literally, “to feel with” (CCC #1503 ff.). Thus, “at the sight of the crowds, (Jesus’) heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.” He was able to feel their sense of abandonment and their lack of direction. Similarly, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, when the remorseful, wayward son “was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.” The father knew the sense of humiliation, worthlessness and near despair that his son was feeling, because he could feel it, too. Therefore, he greeted him with a kiss, rather than a scolding. Such is the fruit of genuine compassion, which lies at the heart of mercy. (Further reflection: Matthew 9:36; Luke 15:11-32)

Grace is a participation in the life of God. It is not some abstract concept, but rather the real and living presence of God, who freely and undeservedly assists us and aids us in responding to his loving invitation to become his adoptive children and to share in his own divine life (CCC #1996). (Further reflection: John 1:12-18 and 2 Peter 1:3-4)

(Divine) Providence
Divine Providence is God’s way of guiding and caring for all of creation, leading us toward an everlasting union with him. God always was, always is and always will be providing for us and assisting (gracing) us; however, we still have to make the everyday decision to live as disciples of Jesus. We respond to God’s providen- tial assistance through our prayers and actions, especially in how we live out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. (Further reflection: Jeremiah 29:11)

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When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. Justice is the constant and firm will to give God and neighbor what is due to them. We act justly when we recognize the dignity of each human person and cooperate with God’s grace. In his love and mercy, God does not give us what we deserve in terms of human justice; rather, he showers freely given grace, mercy and forgiveness upon us. (Further reflection: Luke 7:36ff. and Matthew 20)

Hesed is a Hebrew word which means God’s loving kindness, and describes God’s mercy, forgiveness and tenderness. In Catholic Theology, this concept is associated with the word mercy, yet it means so much more. It involves the very heart of a people. Looking through the lens of the Hebrew Scriptures, we can develop this same posture of love, mercy, and forgiveness in its divine meaning and essence. (Further reflection: Hosea 2:21)