Belfast Telegraph

Thought for the weekend: This is the time to heal wounds

By Fr Patrick McCafferty

The atrocities perpetrated last week in Paris are still uppermost in our minds. Tragically, the terrible events that unfolded in that great city are not isolated incidents in our world.

We think of outrages committed against our brothers and sisters in Beirut, in Syria, Turkey and Iraq. The merciless slaughter of the innocent by those without pity. In our own corner of the world, wounds still run deep.

On this Sunday, Catholics celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. We see Him in the Gospel read at Mass, powerless, betrayed, bound, standing before Pilate, soon to be condemned, beaten, tortured and led away to die in agony. Pilate mockingly asks Him, "So you are a king then"? (John 18:33-37). Yes, He is a king, but not the kind to which we are accustomed. Here is a King who does not stand above those over whom He rules, but stands with them, shoulder to shoulder. He speaks to us of Truth. This Truth is not an abstract idea. This Truth is simplicity itself. It tells us clearly that we are loved unconditionally. We are created by God, who is tender mercy and love without end. We, therefore, are created to live also in the image and likeness of the One, who is Merciful Love. How vitally important it is that we faithfully live out this marvellous calling in a world that is, all too often, devoid of compassion and mercy.

In just over two weeks from today, Pope Francis will inaugurate the Holy Year of Mercy. In the Pope's own words, this will be "a year in which to be touched by the Lord Jesus and to be transformed by his mercy, so that we may become witnesses to mercy. Here, then, is the reason for the Jubilee: because this is the time for mercy. It is the favourable time to heal wounds".

So many in our world, our country, our communities, are scarred and wounded by sufferings and injustices. This is the time for mercy. The Mercy and Love of God is stronger than Death. The floods of destruction that are unleashed against us cannot quench the flashing fire of this Love without end (Song of Songs 8:6).

Belfast Telegraph


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