The mission Jesus received from the Father was that of revealing the mystery of divine love in its fullness.

‘God is love’18, John affirms for the first and only time in all of Holy Scripture. This love has now been made visible and tangible in Jesus’ entire life. His person is nothing but love, a love given gratuitously. The relationships He forms with the people who approach Him manifest something entirely unique and unrepeatable.

The signs He works, especially in favour of sinners, the poor, the marginalised, the sick, and the suffering, are all meant to teach mercy. Everything in Him speaks of mercy. Nothing in him is devoid of compassion.

Jesus, seeing the crowds of people who followed Him, realised that they were tired and exhausted, lost and without a guide, and He felt deep compassion for them. 19

On the basis of this compassionate love He healed the sick who were presented to Him20, and with just a few loaves of bread and fish He satisfied the enormous crowd.21

What moved Jesus in all of these situations was nothing other than mercy, with which He read the hearts of those He encountered and responded to their deepest need.

When He came upon the widow of Nain taking her son out for burial, He felt great compassion for the immense suffering of this grieving mother, and He gave back her son by raising him from the dead. 22

After freeing the demoniac in the country of the Gerasenes, Jesus entrusted him with this mission: ‘Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you’.23

The calling of Matthew is also presented within the context of mercy. Passing by the tax collector’s booth, Jesus looked intently at Matthew. It was a look full of mercy that forgave the sins of that man, a sinner and a tax collector, whom Jesus chose – against the hesitation of the disciples – to become one of the Twelve.

Saint Bede the Venerable, commenting on this Gospel passage, wrote that Jesus looked upon Matthew with merciful love and chose him: miserando atque eligendo (by having mercy and by choosing). This expression impressed me so much that I chose it for my episcopal motto.

 

Extracted from Pope Francis ‘Misericordia Vultus’ Paragraph 8
18 1 Jn 4:8,16
19  cf. Mt 9:36
20  cf. Mt 14:14
21 cf. Mt 15:37
22  cf. Lk 7:15
23  Mk 5:19
24 cf. Homily 22: CCL, 122, 149-151

This article can be found in Mirror 0815.