2nd Sunday in Advent - Year C - 6th December, 2015

God's Loving Mercy

Today's scripture readings are a timely reminder to us that Christmas is about more than food and drink, presents and pleasure, comfort and contentment. It is a time of eagerly waiting for the coming of the Lord and above all to accept his loving mercy.

On this coming Tuesday, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Francis will open the Jubilee Year of Mercy . Pope Francis writes “After the sin of Adam and Eve, God did not wish to leave humanity alone in the throes of evil. And so he turned his gaze to Mary, Holy and Immaculate in love, choosing her to be the Mother of man’s Redeemer. When faced with the gravity of sin, God responses with the fullness of mercy. Mercy will always be greater than any sin, and no-one can place limits on the love of God who is ever ready to forgive”

The coming of Christ into the world assures that somehow in God’s good time “all mankind shall see the salvation of their God.”

In concluding his letter for the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis writes “May the Church never tire of extending mercy, and be every patient in offering compassion and comfort. May the Church become the voice of every man and woman, and repeat confidently without end: Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord and of your steadfast love to all mankind.

When we begin to understand that God loves us so much that he would level mountains and valleys for our safe passage we can begin to understand our own call to show love and mercy to others. We have the means to accomplish God's work of mercy and it is God himself who will "carry it through to completion, right up to the day of Christ Jesus." but is through us that God brings mercy to our world.

We rejoice in all that Christ has done, is doing and will do for us. But we are also aware of our need for forgiveness because we are not yet completely free from the sway of evil. We should not make light of the power of evil or dismiss our own selfishness and sinfulness as mere peccadilloes. These are the barriers that prevent us from truly welcoming God into our lives. God’s steadfast love and mercy comes to us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Let us not ignore this wonderful offer of God’s mercy.

Our eternal destiny is in our own hands, it is we who must accept the invitation.

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Fr Kevin O'Shea C.M.