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Become “apostles of mercy” towards those in need

By editor - 04 April, 2016

Pope Francis

On Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis appealed to the faithful to become “apostles of mercy” towards those in need.

In his homily at Mass in St Peter’s Square, the Pope reminded pilgrims that they were “called to become living writers of the Gospel, heralds of the Good News to all men and women today”.

“We do this by practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are the hallmarks of the Christian life,” the Pope explained.

“By means of these simple yet powerful gestures, even when unseen, we can accompany the needy, bringing God’s tenderness and consolation.”

Pope Francis referred back to Sunday’s Gospel which recounts the episode in which the Apostle Thomas doubts the Resurrection until he puts his hand into Jesus’ side.

The scene denotes the contrast between the disciple’s “fear” as they hid behind closed doors, and the “mission” on which Jesus sends them “to proclaim the message of forgiveness,” the Pope said.

“Being apostles of mercy means touching and soothing the wounds that today afflict the bodies and souls of many of our brothers and sisters.”

“Curing these wounds, we profess Jesus, we make him present and alive; we allow others, who touch his mercy with their own hands, to recognise him as ‘Lord and God.’”

On Saturday, the Pontiff lead a prayer vigil for Divine Mercy, in which he spoke of the many faces of the mercy of God.

The prayer vigil coincided with the 11th anniversary of Pope St John Paul II’s death.

Pope Francis reflected on the ‘vast ocean’ that is the mercy of God, saying “so great and infinite is his mercy, to the point that it is greatly challenging to describe it in all its entirety”.

Turning to Scripture, he noted that the Bible expresses God’s mercy as nearness to His people and in the expression of tenderness, especially in the prophet Hosea.

The Pope went on to name the many faces of God’s mercy. “How many expressions there are of God’s mercy! This mercy comes to us as closeness and tenderness, and because of this, comes also as compassion and solidarity, as consolation and forgiveness.”

“The more we receive, the more we are called to share it with others; it cannot be kept hidden or kept only for ourselves. It is something which burns within our hearts, driving us to love, thus recognising the face of Jesus Christ, above all in those who are most distant, weak, alone, confused and marginalised.”

Pope Francis will visit the Shrine of Divine Mercy during the 28th World Youth Day in the Polish city of Krakow this summer.

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