Advent is that season of the year when we prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of Christ. This week we prepare ourselves to celebrate the feast of the immaculate conception of Mary, a feast involved with the wonder of our blessed mother who said ‘he who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.’ Mary knew that hence forth all generations would call her blessed as she surrendered herself to the mysterious will of God ‘ be it done to me according to your word.’
This coming Tuesday, the feast of the sinless Mary, Pope Francis calls each of us to prepare – prepare with the intensity of a John the Baptist – prepare for something many of us forget, or maybe don’t trust. Pope Francis calls us to prepare our minds and hearts to the reality of God’s mercy and love for each of us.
As Pope Francis opens the Holy Year doors of St. Peters this Tuesday, he is symbolically opening the doors of God’s mercy inviting all of us to enter in and be forgiven and healed.
On this coming Tuesday Pope Francis invites us to live and thrive in this year of mercy. This is a year in which we try to trust the truth of God’s mercy for us. This is a year in which we trust our Father’s words ‘
‘Though you sins are as scarlet they shall be white as snow, though they be red as crimson they shall be white as wool.’ Showing us the maternal side of God the Pope repeats the question God asked Isaiah, ’can a mother forget her baby or a woman the children within her womb? Yet even if these forget I will never forget you.’
Here’s a question we really have to ask ourselves, do we really trust God’s mercy for us or do we project onto God our own stinginess of heart, our tendency to hold on to grudges and past hurts, do we project onto God our unwillingness to let the past we past? Do we make God into our image, do we imagine God to be as tight fisted, hard hearted as we are, or are we really trying to image God’s mercy and forgive as we’ve been forgiven?
Do we have issues with God’s mercy because we have issues with the ways in which we fail to be merciful, forgiving or understanding to others? Can we say to ourselves, I am a wretch, but God loves me as I am? Can we pray,’ God help me to love others as they are. Can we ask God for the grace to be more tolerant, patient, tender and forgiving of those men and women and family members who rub us the wrong way or drive us up the wall? Can we pray for the grace for a tender attitude towards those we find difficult?
As Pope Francis said when he instituted this Year of Mercy,
“ The world needs to discover that God is the Father, that there is mercy, that cruelty is not the way, that condemnation is not the way, because it is the Church herself who at times takes a hard line, and falls into the temptation to follow a hard line and to underline moral rules only; many people are excluded of its life because of this. Salvation comes not through the observance of the Law, but through faith in Jesus Christ, who in his death and resurrection brings salvation together with a mercy that justifies.’ We are all sinners,all of us carry inner burdens. I felt that Jesus wanted to open the door to His heart, that the Father wants to show us his innate mercy, and for this reason he sends us the Spirit. This coming Tuesday Pope Francis opens the Jubilee Doors and invites us to walk through these welcoming portals of God’s mercy – will we walk with him?
The schedule for Christmas confessions is posted in the bulletin – the day and the evening of Dec. 19th
All are welcome.