That’s it. The Year of Mercy is ending and the doors will soon be closed. The celebrations have started with great fanfare in Malta and around the world, but now the time has come to find a new concept and buzz word, a new marketing stratagem to attract people.
Well, that could be one way of seeing things which follows a marketing perspective whereby one constantly keeps offering new offers, products and needs. Another way could be that of keeping in mind that the Church’s ‘product’ is so ancient and yet so new.
There exists the risk that, once the year is over, all that has been said and done is ditched politely to one side in order to make way for something new. True, the concept could become a cliché. By using it for a prolonged period of time without integrating it deep in one’s heart, one ends up being fed up and seeks to change it with something new.
Actually, mercy was not something new which Pope Francis and his marketing gurus came up with. Mercy is God’s own attitude towards us and thus not a finite concept which passes with time and ends in a particular space. The Church’s role is to propagate and live this message.
In this sense, mercy can simply remain a buzz word or else become, more than ever, an attitude which gives taste and light. The risk that these could coexist contemporaneously would mean that lip service is given to the word without actually embracing it as an integrated and ingrained attitude.
Should this happen, rather than a merciful attitude the Church would be living a schizophrenic existence and the year that is ending would have only ephemeral consequences. By ‘Church’ I am not referring to its administration but to all baptised. All of us should embrace and integrate mercy as the salt and light of our existence and in turn become ourselves hope and joy for those around us.
Mercy becomes this integrated attitude when you are willing to give and receive it. Giving, or else being merciful, is an outpour on one’s part onto others; receiving it is being humble enough to accept mercy from someone else. First of all, it requires a humble attitude, secondly it requires an attentive open heart to the always ancient and always new beauty which is God.

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