These readings today offer us a wonderful opportunity to reflect on God’s love for all of us; thus, a diversity of dwelling places for us -- a place for each one of us, no one excluded by God, because of God’s great love for all of humanity.
Jesus tells the disciples that he is the way, the truth and the life, and we can know God and see God through him! Pope Francis reminds us that “Jesus is the face of the Father’s mercy”, a living incarnation of God’s mercy, an incarnation that we are called to become like, as disciples of Jesus.
Jesus tells his disciples that through their belief in him they will be able to do what he has done and even greater! Perhaps that “even greater” is allowing the risen Christ, who dwells within us, to transform us into an extension of the living presence of God’s mercy in the midst of a wounded and suffering world.
Perhaps the call of the Gospel is to allow ourselves to become “the face of the Father’s mercy”, to take on, as his disciples, the mantel of mercy. To be willing to make meaningful changes to our lives in order that we might better show forth God’s mercy in word and action by reaching out to all the lonely and frightened people we encounter in our lives, and offer a word of hope and encouragement, a word of care that shows kindness, gentleness and mercy to them.
The U.S. Surgeon General and the NIH have both recently released reports linking a grave increased risk for a whole host of serious mental and other health conditions such as: a weakened immune system, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and even death. All of these linked to loneliness and a lack of social contact with other human beings. And yet we live in a time of unparalleled social media connections, and yet more and more people are finding themselves feeling ever more isolated and alone in an deeply distrusting and divided society. So what is the answer? We are the answer! You and I. Our discipleship calls us to reach out to those in need, both emotional needs and worldly physical needs. To stand with them and let them know that they are cared for and loved by God, and that we love them and care for them.
Making ourselves emotionally available to “the other” can be overwhelming and scary but it also can be a transformative experience, one that takes us to a place of new relationships and can help to heal our own woundedness. And ultimately it may very well be part of God’s plan in calling us to reach out to each other and to be of support to each other. To work together to create the “community of the beloved”! God’s community!
How can I be more merciful in my words? What specifically can I do to be more merciful in my actions? Who in my life right now is most in need of being shown mercy?