The Pope announced a Jubilee Year of Mercy to encourage us to “welcome the numerous signs of compassion and mercy of God to the whole world”. He says that these signs of God’s mercy are especially offered to the suffering, the lonely, the abandoned and those without hope of being pardoned or feeling the Father’s love. With these words the Pope set a whole agenda of activities and commitments for the Church and of course also for Chiro.
To extend mercy and compassion to every man and woman, we must begin at home because often it is the most difficult place to extend genuine mercy and compassion. This Year of Jubilee is an opportunity to bind wounds and extend pardon in the intimate corners of our homes.
Chiro, our home outside our home, should also be a beneficiary of our mercy: among our leaders and members an atmosphere of compassion and mercy for each other should always prevail! This Year of Mercy is an opportunity to heal wounds, to offer reconciliation, to act with genuine goodness, to refrain from judgment and in a positive sense to see and appreciate the good in every leader and member. It is a simple thing to point out someone’s faults or failures. But we are asked to do more, we must spare people from humiliation or punishment that might be caused by our rash judgment or our presumption we know everything about him or her. But according to Jesus, this is not enough to express mercy. He asks us to forgive wholeheartedly. In order to do that, we have to recognize our own sinfulness. We are limited in our capacity to understand another person. Without Christ’s help we will not be able have such a degree of self-acceptance in order to reach out with humility and compassion.
“Merciful like the Father” is the motto of this Jubilee Year. We must learn like our heavenly Father to give our entire self, always, freely and asking nothing in return. This is the true code of behavior of each Chiro member.
One of the activities the Pope recommends is the revival of the Corporal and Spiritual Works of mercy. The Pope explains: “it will be a way to re-awaken our conscience, too often grown dull and indifferent in the face of poverty, calamity, suffering and pain. Let us discover the appeal and challenge of the Works of Mercy in our groups so we can truly live out and celebrate in honesty this Year of Mercy. Every other month a new watchword will highlight one or two of the Works of Mercy as they are formulated by the Church. By practicing them we will enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel, where the poor have a special experience of God’s Mercy.
Maybe you are thinking; ‘ if being a true Chiro and disciple of Christ means doing more good works of mercy and compassion, then my chances of being a disciple are slim because my daily activities are already so busy with duties and responsibilities in school and at home. I don’t have the extra time and energy to do more”
Please, understand this: to make a real difference as a true Chiro of Christ does not mean you have to do more. But it requires that you do things differently. You have to re-prioritize the ways you spend your time. In other words, it may be time to rearrange the inner home of your soul and do first some inner renewal.
Let’s be all part of this yearlong celebration of God’s Mercy and do our best to be “merciful like the Father”
We will not only benefit from this commitment personally but also our group, the Chiro and the whole Church will be more authentic and a true disciples of Christ.
May God’s Merciful love bless you abundantly this New Year 2016!
Rev Gerry Bouckaert CICM