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Seeds of the Word - Let us make one only resolution in 2016: be merciful

Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica to inaugurate the Jubilee Year of Mercy at the Vatican Dec. 8. Photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano, handout Pope Francis opens the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica to inaugurate the Jubilee Year of Mercy at the Vatican Dec. 8. Photo: CNS/L’Osservatore Romano, handout

Let’s profit on the Jubilee of Mercy and become better people this year.

We begin every year wishing a better life. Sometimes, it seems as if we anxiously waited for the previous year to come to an end, to turn the last page of what might have been a bitter chapter in the story of our life. When we turn the page and find the new chapter God gives us, we hope the new year will be better than the last. And we wish to become better than we were before.

2016 is a very special year. We celebrate the Jubilee of Mercy. A holy year to overcome the lack of mercy that worries Pope Francis so much, as it clearly fractures the life of every person, of every family, and of every society. Many times, even the life in a parish is affected by this deficiency of mercy. The Holy Father wishes that this year we overcome this crisis. Walking firmly the “paths of the Lord, mercy toward those who honor the covenant demands.” (Psalm 25:10)

It will help to repeat to ourselves every day Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7) If we take our religion to heart, our resolutions list in 2016 should be reduced to a single one: to be more merciful than before.

This resolution alone, if truly fulfilled, will translate into a spring of mercy that will flow from our heart: We will feed more hungry people who reach out to us; we will offer our home to those who need company; we will donate more clothes to the homeless; we will sacrifice more of our precious personal time to visit the sick and to attend the funerals of our relatives or friends.

At the same time, we will be more patient when we teach our children; we will give advice — without imposing it — to those who ask; we will dare to correct those we know are failing instead of remaining silent; we will no longer ignore the pain of others, and will console them; we will be more patient and tolerant of others’ limitations; we will spend more time praying for everyone … and the biggest challenge: We will be more generous when we forgive and more firm with ourselves to cast out the resentment from our heart!

The resolution to be more merciful is more than enough to become better people and better children of God this year. Reviewing the previous two paragraphs helps us to understand Pope Francis’ urgency to make of this a merciful world. For as we are merciful, we become closer to the image and likeness of God: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36)

On the other hand, the absence of mercy turns people selfish and insensitive, uninterested and apathetic, intolerant and uncomprehensive, cruel and vindictive, resentful and aggressive. No wonder our world has become what it’s become! This is why Pope Francis wants all of us to learn to be merciful. Only then we will merit God’s mercy.

Let us work, then, starting at home, to be craftsmen of mercy. No longer causing conflicts and bitterness. But rather resolving ourselves any tension, trouble, or conflict that is stealing peace from everyone in our family.

Let us work to be merciful every day, recalling always that we are celebrating this great jubilee. We will then be blessed, for we will be shown God’s mercy.

Be passionate about our faith!

This is the English translation of the “Semillas de la Palabra” column "Hagamos un solo propósito para 2016: Seamos misericordiosos" that appeared in the January/February 2016 issue of NORTHWEST CATHOLIC.

Mauricio I. Pérez, a member of St. Monica Parish on Mercer Island, is a Catholic journalist. His website is www.seminans.org.

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