If you want to know what mercy is – look at Jesus. In his Lenten Message, Pope Francis describes Jesus as “mercy incarnate.” (Message for Lent 22) In his Bull introducing the Year of Mercy, the Holy Father writes: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8,16), John affirms for the first and only time in all of Holy Scripture. This love has now been made visible and tangible in Jesus’ entire life. His person is nothing but love, a love given gratuitously.”
Love can never be words alone, neither can mercy. “As we can see in Sacred Scripture,” the Pope reminds us, “mercy is a key word that indicates God’s action towards us. He does not limit himself merely to affirming his love, but makes it visible and tangible. Love, after all, can never be just an abstraction. By its very nature, it indicates something concrete: Intentions, attitudes, and behaviors that are shown in daily living.” (MV 9)
Jesus is mercy incarnate because he was sent to personify the Father’s mercy through actions. Jesus tells us that himself in Luke, (4:18) the Holy Father explained: “They called upon him to read the Scripture and to comment on it. The passage was from the Book of Isaiah where it is written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to those in captivity; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor’ (Is 61:1-2). A ‘year of the Lord’s favor’ or ’mercy’:: this is what the Lord proclaimed and this is what we wish to live now.”
Mercy is the foundation of the Church, it should also be the foundation of our discipleship.