29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Homily

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Isaiah 53:10-11
Psalm 33:4-5, 18-19, 20, 22
Hebrews 4:14-16
Mark 10:35-45
October 18, 2015

Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

We know God is merciful.  We count on His Mercy.  Because we know we can count on God’s Mercy, we can place our trust in Him.

Recognizing the importance of God’s Mercy to all people, Pope Francis has declared a Year of Mercy that begins on our parish feast, December 8th, the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  Fitting as Mary’s yes to being the mother of Jesus began a new era in God’s Mercy.

In declaring this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has called us to be a people of mercy.  Our prayers for Mass include repeated references to God’s mercy.  Near the beginning of Mass, in our Penitential Rite we cry out Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.  In our Gloria we cry out have mercy on us.  In the prayer I say after the Our Father includes by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress.  In the Lamb of God, we say again have mercy on us.

Without a doubt, mercy is central to who we are as Catholics but what comes to mind when you hear the word “mercy”?

I suspect the first thing that comes to people’s minds is the forgiveness of sins.  Without a doubt, we count on the forgiveness of our sins, not just our own but others as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is all about God’s mercy as forgiveness of our sins.  The Penitential Rite near the beginning of Mass is about our sins.

The ultimate example of God’s mercy is to look at Jesus crucified on the Cross.  Isaiah prophesizes about this as he writes about the one crushed in infirmity who will justify many.  The Crucifix shows us that there is no limit to God’s mercy.

We all find ourselves in need of God’s mercy for our sins at times in our lives.  It might for pride, like James and John as they sought positions of honor at Jesus’ side.

However, we need to realize God’s mercy is not just about the forgiveness of sins.  Remember the words I quoted from the prayer after the Lord’s Prayer, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress.

It refers to our sins but also asks God to keep us safe from all distress.  In His Mercy, God helps us in other ways, preserving us in time of famine, helping us in our needs, and protecting us in danger and distress.  Jesus shows His Mercy in serving our needs.

In the Papal Bull Misericordiae Vultus (http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco_bolla_20150411_misericordiae-vultus.html) declaring the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis frequently talks about our need for forgiveness but he also speaks of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy as ways of showing mercy to others.

The Corporal Works of Mercy can be found in scripture, most explicitly in Matthew 25:31-46 where Jesus tells us that we will be judged by how we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for the sick.  To be merciful here is to help others in their physical needs as we ask God (and thank Him) for helping us in our own physical needs.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy are about helping people in, of course, spiritual need.  They include counseling the doubtful, helping the sinner, comforting the sorrowful, and praying for the living and the dead.

Our living out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy is really about us showing mercy to others as we ask God to do for us.  How is it that Jesus says we become the greatest?  By serving others.

We will begin the Year of Mercy in a little less than two months.  How are you in need of God’s mercy?  Do you need to be forgiven?  Do you need to be feed or consoled?

How can you show God’s mercy to others?  Who needs your forgiveness?  How might you help the hunger, the homeless, and those in distress?

Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.