Father Stefan reflects on Pope Francis ‘Joy of the Gospel’ In union with God, we hear a plea

Pope Francis writes, “We incarnate the duty of hearing the cry of the poor when we are deeply moved by the suffering of others. Let us listen to what God’s word teaches us about Mercy. ‘Blessed are the merciful, because they will obtain mercy.'(Mt 5:7) The apostle James teaches that our mercy to others will vindicate us on the day of God’s judgement: ‘So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy, yet mercy triumphs over judgment.'(Jas 2: 12-13)

Cantalamessa in his book, ‘Beatitudes eight steps to happiness’, writes, “The most surprising thing about God’s mercy is that he experiences joy in having mercy. Jesus concludes the parable of the lost sheep by saying, ‘There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no repentance.’ (Lk 15:7) The woman who found the lost coin cries out to her friends, ‘Rejoice with me.’ (Lk 15:9) In  the parable of the prodigal son, joy overflows and becomes a feast, a banquet…We need to respond with forgiveness and even, when possible, with excusing others instead of condemning them. Regarding ourselves this saying applies: ‘He who excuses himself, God accuses; he who accuses himself, God excuses.’ Regarding others the converse applies: ‘He who excuses his brother is excused by God; he who accuses his brother us accused by God.'”

Pope Francis writes, “We should not be concerned simply about falling into doctrinal error, but about remaining faithful to this light-filled path of life and wisdom. For ‘defender of orthodoxy are sometimes accused of passivity, indulgence, or culpable complicity regarding the intolerable situations of injustice and the political regimes which prolong them,”

St John of the Cross says, “At the end of our life we will be judge on Love.” We will be judged how much we love. Jesus talked a great deal about mercy. Scripture tells us, ‘The Father is rich in Mercy.’ Being a faithful Christian is more than just keeping the rules. It is possible to keep all the rules and lack mercy in ones heart. Jesus says, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”(Lk 6 37-38)

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