(7) Mercy is the source of our salvation. God does not save us out of a sense of obligation, but rather out of intense desire. Mercy is the sign that God is madly in love with us, never gives up on us, and is not willing that any of us should perish. God’s mind is consumed with only one thing: salvation.
Pope Francis chose Psalm 136 as the focal text for his confirmation of this, seen in the recurring phrase, “God’s mercy endures forever.” In the word ‘forever’ we see the eternality of God’s love. In the word ‘endures’ we see the strength of God’s love.
All this came together in Jesus, the Word made flesh–mercy with skin on. Throughout his life on earth, Jesus manifested mercy over and over again, refusing to condemn, ever ready to forgive. On the night of his betrayal, he prayed Psalm 136 with his disciples in the upper room, connecting himself to this text and to its message.
Mercy is the one-word summary for what Jesus said, “With humans, this is impossible; with God nothing is impossible.” Why? Because God’s mercy endures forever and is offered to anyone, anytime, anywhere. In his Great Commission, Jesus passed the torch to us, telling us to go and do likewise, and that he would be with us all the way.
We have our mandate–the call to be merciful, until “Christ comes in final victory” and effects the ultimate triumph of mercy.
[Note: the numbers at the beginning of each meditation correspond to the section of the Pope’s document on which it is based]