Year of Mercy Begins Tuesday
As the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy commences on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), we are surrounded by charitable opportunities and, because we are in Advent, may feel just a bit more inclined to perform works of mercy.
We may volunteer at our local soup kitchen, adopt a needy family or, with the abundance of bell ringers in front of shops, make a quick contribution that may lessen our “guilt” at buying so many gifts.
In reality, because God has shown mercy on all of us, we are encouraged to incorporate mercy into our daily life. Everyday deeds – taking care of children, teaching adults and children about faith, caring for an elderly parent or visiting a sick friend in the hospital – are true works of mercy. As Saint Teresa of Avila said,
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks,
Compassion on this world
But after the holidays, for some of us, it may seem difficult to incorporate mercy into our pressure-filled, hectic daily routines. Yet Pope Francis – echoing the call of the Gospel – continually challenges us to reach out and encounter those in need and those living on the margins of society.
“Another Tragic Act of Public Violence”
Bishop Gerald Barnes of the Diocese of San Bernardino released the following statement on Wednesday after the mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center:
Today, we have experienced another tragic act of public violence, this time in our own Diocese of San Bernardino. Please join me in praying for all of the victims of this horrific incident and their families. For those who lost their lives, we pray for their eternal rest and God’s strength to their loved ones left behind; for those who are wounded, we pray for their health and healing. Let us also ask God to protect the brave men and women in law enforcement who are pursuing the suspects in this case. Our community of San Bernardino has faced great challenges through the years. Let us come together now in unity to bring light to the darkness of this day.
The decision of California’s Legislature and Gov. Brown to place Californians at risk by making it legal for a physician to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs makes a travesty of compassion for the sick, care of the poor and protection of our most vulnerable residents.
In the aftermath of the violent attacks on Paris, 31 governors made public statements that they wanted resettlement of Syrian refugees halted in their states. Days later, the U.S. House of Representatives, with comparable intentions, passed H.R. 4038, The American Security against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, which would effectively halt all resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the United States for a protracted time.
Taken together, the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are the most effective child antipoverty measure the federal government has. Last year alone they lifted over five million children out of poverty.
Now is the time to urge Congress to protect the right of conscientious objection to abortion. Please urge your elected representatives to support the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA).
Christ the King: The Two Standards and Our Jesuit Pope
To understand Pope Francis, it helps to understand his Jesuit formation. Our modern society presents many examples of one of St. Ignatius’ main concepts – the two standards. Blogger Judy Barrett looks at one of the most recent:
In late September hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets in Washington, New York and Philadelphia to get a glimpse of Pope Francis during the Papal visit and World Meeting of Families. Since then we’ve had time to meditate on the Holy Father’s messages about peace, joy and love, and the family as the bedrock of every culture. He spoke of looking at the faces of the poor rather than seeing them as statistics, and of practicing little gestures of kindness. If, like me, you followed the Papal visit on the media, you could see love and joy in the faces of the crowds. You could hear hope and respect in the voices of commentators during the live television coverage.
Meanwhile, on that same September weekend, some 400,000 advocates of sexual freedoms gathered on the opposite coast for a fair celebrating their lifestyle which included public nudity and other immodest activities. I won’t go into further details.
Dec. 4, 2015
Vol. 8, No. 40