Friday, December 11, 2015

Year of Mercy

We are now in the fourth day of the special Jubilee Year - Holy Year of Mercy - proclaimed by Pope Francis earlier this year. Starting on December 8th - this Holy Year continues until November 20, 2016.  Between those dates - many opportunities for everyone to become involved - either in their home parish - or across the world. In our diocese - nine parishes have been designated as "Pilgrimage Churches" - sites which may be visited as an exercise in personal piety. Pope Francis has asked us to focus on the Corporal Works of Mercy - feeding the hungry - giving drink to the thirsty - clothing the naked - sheltering the homeless - visiting those in prison - comforting the sick - burying the dead. I am happy to report that my homes parish has an excellent track record in all these - except visiting those in prison. For some reason - mostly red tape with entering prisons - we have not addressed that particular ministry.  Perhaps going forward - this will become a new and vibrant ministry of our parish.

Jesus asks us - when did you feed me - give me drink - clothe me - visit me in prison - BAM! Stopped dead in our pious tracks - no Lord we have not visited those in prison - there is so much red tape - it is dangerous - these people are the lowest of the Earth - they scare us. I would have to agree - to some extent.  Then again most of us have never visited a prison - nor do we wish to - intimated - afraid of the consequences. Our personal filter about prisons - mostly fed by movies - makes us shy away form this important ministry. We all know of the success of prison ministry - many others are visiting one daily - but not us.  In this Holy Year of Mercy - we must remember that to receive Mercy - we must show Mercy - to all.  Something to think about this Advent - as we seek to make changes in our own lives.

Deacon Dale