Perhaps the writer of the hymn ‘Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing’ had Psalm 136 in mind, for one phrase in the hymn says, “streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise.”
Never-ending mercy could easily be the theme of Psalm 136 because the words “God’s mercy endures forever” are repeated twenty six times. Moreover, the phrase has the word ‘forever’ in it–another way of testifying to the never-ending nature of God’s mercy.
Pope Francis’ writing makes it clear that we must never cease to show mercy. Mercy must flow to everyone, everywhere, all the time. The psalmist had the same idea by showing how mercy endures in a vast array of circumstances.
Never-ending streams of mercy declare that there is always hope. We are not alone. We are not abandoned. God is with us. The Church is supposed to be the tangible manifestation of that reality. We are not permitted to direct the flow of mercy to some and deny it to others.
That’s why a faith or a church not charactized by mercy is anathema. We are not keepers of a dam, turning off and on the flow of mercy as we like–rather we are conduits of mercy, so that wherever we are others may drink freely of the Water of Life. “God’s mercy endures forever.”