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Mercy Word of the Week


The Mercy Word of the Week

As we progress through the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, University Ministry offers our community a "Mercy Word of the Week" to help us focus on the themes of mercy that are already so closely aligned to our mission and heritage as an institution sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.

The first Monday of each month will bring a brief reflection on each of the University's Core Values as expressions of our Mercy charism. We hope these focused thoughts will lead to your own considered contemplation on mercy and its role in your life.

Forgiveness: Sometimes forgiving others is easy, but other times it can be profoundly challenging, especially when hurts run deep. In numerous Gospel parables Jesus urges his followers to view the offering of forgiveness and mercy to others through the lens of our own need to receive forgiveness. He further calls us to model the forgiveness and mercy we bestow on others on the gratuitous and unmerited mercy we have already received from God.

In Matthew 18:21-35, the forgiven servant in Jesus' parable fails to understand this important point. After being forgiven of his debts by his master, he proceeds to deal harshly with his fellow servant, who owes him a good deal less money than what he owed his master. When the master hears of this from others who recognize the servant's hypocrisy, he is furious that the mercy he first extended to the servant was not passed forward to another. The message of the parable ultimately comes down to this: If God is merciful enough to forgive us for our faults and failings, who are we to deny mercy to others?

At the same time, forgiveness can be arduous internal work. In some instances, it might take years for us to be fully ready to forgive another person or group of persons for something that they've done to us or failed to do for us. We should refrain from being too hard on ourselves if our journey toward forgiveness is not as swift as we might feel it should be. We can only arrive at forgiving as God forgives with God's help and grace, and our continual prayer should be for a heart and a spirit of mercy.

Jim Bruton

University Mission and Ministry