by Sr. Mary Angela Woelkers, SCTJM
Eyes of Mercy
Our Lord is a God of mercy and justice, both virtues which have a profound impact on our daily human reality. We see this dynamic expressed in the story from the first reading about the people of Judah, whose sins were so great that “there was no remedy.” (2 Chr 36:16) Despite their sins and infidelities, they are called to return home to Jerusalem from their exile. This mercy alone has eyes to see beyond offenses, pain and rejection, and is alone capable of forming authentic communion. Jesus was “lifted up” on the Cross (Jn 3:14). His love for humanity, for each of us, is definitively expressed in this act of mercy.
It is a daily challenge to be merciful, just as we have received mercy. For we are called, as disciples of Christ, to follow in His footsteps: He “who is rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4). He has gazed upon us with eyes of mercy. It is easy enough to hear of God’s merciful love for us. However, how do I respond to those who have done the seemingly unforgivable, who have deeply wounded me, those I love, or the innocent of society? Are there people that I pass without seeing at all, or with fear or indifference? How can I see them as persons with inherent dignity, and not just a totality of their offenses or problems?
St. John Paul II writes in his encyclical Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy): “Man attains to the merciful love of God, His mercy, to the extent that he himself is interiorly transformed in the spirit of that love towards his neighbor. This authentically evangelical process is not just a spiritual transformation realized once and for all: it is a whole lifestyle….” (DM, #14) Having received the gift of God’s mercy, seeing all our realities in the light of Divine Mercy, we must allow it to transform our hearts to be merciful. Then we can truly acquire the mind of Christ, the authentic values of the Kingdom, and we will see those we encounter with eyes of mercy. In this fourth week of Lent, the Church invites us to examine our perspective. May we see ourselves in the light of the Redeemer, and open our eyes, with vision thus renewed, to gaze upon all with eyes of mercy.