The Year of Mercy begins

By Shane Dwyer

Mercy is such an old fashioned word. Can you think of the last time you heard it used as part of an everyday conversation? We all know what it means (sort of) but as a reality in our culture it seems to have very little place. Instead, we’ve replaced it with two less inspiring concepts: leniency and revenge.

When it comes to the mistakes each of us makes we hope for leniency. If I behave badly I want people to understand that it isn’t really my fault. My background, my circumstances, and the pressures of work and life all conspire to mean that I am not really responsible for what I do. You should be lenient towards me because, if you only knew “what troubles I’ve seen”, you’d understand.

It’s a different story with people who have hurt me. They don’t deserve leniency: they deserve revenge. We want society to throw everything at them. We want them to feel as bad, if not worse, than they have made us feel.

There is no life or peace in either leniency or revenge. Instead, we all need mercy.

Beginning December 8 we are celebrating a Year of Mercy. During this period we acknowledge that we are responsible for the mistakes we make and we celebrate the wondrous mercy that God wishes to offer to us all.

Nothing that a human being can do can separate him or her from the love of God. In his mercy God invites us all back into a loving relationship with him. But God’s mercy is an invitation. We must RSVP.

During Advent you are offered the chance to join a daily online program to help you prepare for and enter into the Year of Mercy. Just go to to join.