Mercy is the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us, (Miseicordiae Vultus 2 ) and therefore is the appropriate appellation for the events surrounding the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus.
Mercy has two dimensions, Shakespeare’s double blessings, the giving and the receiving. The Incarnation, Jesus “the face of the Father’s mercy,” (MV 1) is the gift of the Father’s love, which is unconditional and is directed toward the needs of another or others. The incarnation responded to our call for deliverance, for restoration for reconciliation, “To you O Lord I call,” (Ps 28:1)
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion is the initiatory episode of Mercy Week. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, enters Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey, the symbol of peace, as opposed to the horse, the symbol of war. He arrives amid the hosannas of the crowd but against the background of the high priests conspiring against him. Mercy incarnate, our substitutiary, who bore our sins, is in place. (Is 53:4-5)”… his words, his actions, and his entire person reveals the mercy of God.” (MV 1)
Later the conspiracy will be “sealed with a kiss,” but not before Jesus’ gives himself in the Eucharist, the New Covenant of Mercy. He perpetuates it to make us co-participants in His sacrament and service. He then surrenders himself to the Father and his betrayer and his accomplices.
Following blasphemous interrogations and a spurious judgment, God’s gift of mercy is rejected by the powers of darkness who cannot overcome it. It cannot be destroyed and awaits the moment when the darkness will be shattered by the Resurrection.
“We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it” (MV 2)