Working Notes on Mercy for Divine Mercy Sunday some insights on Mercy

I saw this reflection on Mercy on my face book.
“Kýrie eléison: ‘Lord, have Mercy”

The word “mercy” in English comes from the Greek root word “eleos” (Greek eléison). This word has the same root as oil, or more precisely, olive oil (ἔλαιον); a substance which was used extensively as a healing ointment to sooth bruises, burns and minor wounds. Oil was poured into the wound and gently massaged into the injury. The Greek phrase; “Lord, have mercy,” “Kyrie, eleison” could also be translated as ‘Lord, soothe me, comfort me, heal me, remove my pain. In the Old Testament, there are two related words to “mercy;” “checed” meaning “steadfast love” or “rachum” meaning “compassion.” Rachum is also related to “rechem” which means “womb” and can mean the pity or love a parent has for a child. So verses that deal with mercy can also be translated as steadfast love, pity and compassion.

Ironically, the Greek Kyrie predates the Latin liturgy, and besides the Amen, Alleluia and a few other words of Hebrew or Aramaic, the Greek Kyrie is the only non Latin part of the Roman Rite (Novus Ordo or Tridentine). Even among the various lituries of the East and the West, we all ask for God’s mercy. But in the Greek, the phrase contains more emotion, more humility, we ask as children. We ask for comfort from a father, our God to give us His steadfast love.

This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday. For those of us who are praying the novena, today’s group includes those who do not yet know Christ. When we think that mercy, it isn’t just about judgment and condemnation, it also invokes a sense of healing, soothing and steadfast love. We pray for all to come to know the Divine Mercy of Christ.”


One thought on “Working Notes on Mercy for Divine Mercy Sunday some insights on Mercy”

  1. Fr. Stefan Thank you for your inciteful explanation of the phrase Kyrie Eleison. No wonder I have always loved it so much in the liturgy. God bless the remainder of your week and all those you serve.

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