Year of Mercy: Storied Into Love

(9) Jesus understood the transformative power of stories.  Parables were his primary means of speaking the revelation of God to us.  Among his best-known stories are two parables of mercy: e.g. Luke 15:1-32 and Matthew 18:21-35.

These parables of mercy do two things simultaneously. First, they confirm that God is merciful.  And second, they make it clear that we are to be merciful too.  If the face of Jesus is mercy, and if Christlikeness is the essence of the Christian life, then “we go and do likewise” by showing mercy to others.

This is not a high-minded abstract notion, it is a disposition of our heart expressed one moment at a time, one place at a time, one person at a time.  It is holiness as described by Jean Pierre de Caussade: “Do the next thing you have to do and do it for God.” Mercy is always realized in concrete, specific ways.

Pope Francis puts it simply, “As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other.”

[Note: the numbers at the beginning of each meditation correspond to the section of the Pope’s document on which it is based]

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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