The festivities of our 50th jubilee have ended. Now, the entire Catholic Church has been called to a jubilee year in which we take up Our Lord’s message of compassion and forgiveness, a Holy Year of Mercy from December 8, 2015 until November 20, 2016.
Pope Francis who convoked the Jubilee of Mercy reminds us that Christians should be witnesses of mercy. Since we all are sinners (Romans 3:23) and “like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6), we need to rediscover the mercy of God, the love of God, in order to provide comfort and consolation to every man and woman we meet. Once we experience the mercy of God, we cannot but be witnesses of His mercy and treat others mercifully in thoughts, words, and deeds. In our daily life, whether at school, home, or at any place, we are commissioned to show the face of the mercy of God, to welcome people, to refuse no one, to demonstrate the love of God, to be living icons of God’s compassion.
This theme of Mercy has been adopted, at the local level, by the General Secretariat of Catholic Schools in Lebanon inviting us to reflect this year upon the topics of mercy, social work, and community service. Faith has to be put in action, and our part in God’s plan is to work for the common good, to treat everyone as our brothers and sisters. Each one of us can contribute, within the scope of his/her ability, to promoting human dignity, family and community, participation and solidarity, care for creation and environment, peace and reconciliation, assistance of the miserable and individuals with disabilities, rights of workers, and the dignity of work.
As we begin Year 51 at Jesus & Mary School, I expect that this year dedicated to mercy and social service would help us all open hearts to the mercy of God. Only then, can we show to others compassion, forgiveness, kindness, correct judgment, and refrain from violence, injustice, intolerance, and prejudice. May Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, watch over us and help us be merciful just like our Heavenly Father is merciful, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Rev. Fr. Antoine Ghazal, Ed.D.