March 22, 2018, 4:11 am
Facebook iconTwitter iconYouTube iconGoogle+ icon

‘Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord!’

THE RULERS sneered at Jesus and said, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God.” Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, “If you are King of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription that read, “This is the King of the Jews.”

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.”

The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And, indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”


Today, Solemnity of Christ the King, the Church closes the entire liturgical year that presents and celebrates the mystery of divine salvation accomplished in and through Jesus Christ. Today also marks the closing of an extraordinary year, the Jubilee Year of Mercy. It is most appropriate at this point to recall what Pope Francis wrote about this date: “The Jubilee Year will close with the liturgical Solemnity of Christ the King on 20 November 2016. On that day, as we seal the Holy Door, we shall be filled, above all, with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity for having granted us an extraordinary time of grace. We will entrust the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking him to pour out his mercy upon us like the morning dew, so that everyone may work together to build a brighter future. How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God! May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst!” (Misericordiae Vultus, n. 5).

Has the Jubilee succeeded in its expectation–that we gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives? As Saint John Paul II pointed out at the close of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, our commitment, with its generous efforts and inevitable failings, is under God’s scrutiny. But we cannot fail to give thanks for the small and great “marvels” the Lord has worked for us that form a “legacy” of the Year of Mercy: our reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, our pilgrimages, and our practice of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Those who have done their pilgrimage in the Archdiocese of Manila have something more tangible: the “Jubilee Passport” marking their completion of pilgrimage in five Jubilee churches. Would that this serve later as their “passport” at the Pearly Gates manned by St. Peter!

As we remember the Jubilee with gratitude and thank God for the enthusiasm it has rekindled in our faith-life, may this Jubilee be also a “prophecy of the future,” that is profiting from grace to put into practice the “resolutions” inspired by being steeped in mercy. Can we share the deep desire of Pope Francis to “go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God”?

Our good intention and our witness would be inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated the face of Jesus—the misericordiae vultus. “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy,” declares Pope Francis. It was indeed serendipity, a happy coincidence, that the Jubilee Year fell on Cycle C where the Gospel of Luke is read in most of the Sunday liturgy. The Lucan Gospel is often called “the Gospel of Mercy” because here especially, “the signs he [Jesus] works, especially in the face of sinners, the poor, the marginalized, the sick, and the suffering, are all meant to teach mercy.” The “motto” of the Jubilee–Merciful like the Father–is based on this Gospel (Lk 6:36). The celebration of the Jubilee is also based on Jesus’ proclamation of “the year of the Lord’s favor” in the synagogue of Nazareth as narrated by Luke (4:16-21). Most fittingly, the dying word of the King of kings is a word of mercy addressed to the repentant thief who had owned up his crimes: “Amen, I say to you, today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

Hence, this hope and prayer of Pope Francis: “May the Church become the voice of every man and woman, and repeat confidently without end: ‘Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old’ (Ps 25:6)” (MV n. 25).
Fr. Gil A. Alinsangan, SSP
(Nov. 20, 2016)
No votes yet

Column of the Day

Realities of aging

By PHILIP S. CHUA | March 22,2018
‘We no longer have any excuse not to maximize our health and longevity.’

Opinion of the Day

CenterLaw voids Duterte’s decision

By NESTOR MATA | March 22, 2018
‘The Center for International Law (CenterLaw) voids Duterte’s decision to withdraw from the UNCHR and ICC.’