Prepare for Sunday Mass: A reflection for Divine Mercy Sunday

Each week in OSV Newsweekly, Carl Olson provides a thoughtful, relevant reflection on the Mass readings for Sunday in his "Opening the Word" column. The following is just an excerpt, but you can read the entire column here.

Pope Francis in a recent homily remarked that “Jesus’ invitation to mercy is intended to draw us into a deeper imitation of God our Father: Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.

This basic insight into mercy has been contemplated for centuries. Mercy, wrote St. Ambrose in the fourth century, “is a good thing, for it makes men perfect, in that it imitates the perfect Father. Nothing graces the Christian soul so much as mercy.”

Sunday readings
Read more about the Sunday readings in OSV Newsweekly.

The words “mercy” and “merciful” appear around 150 times in Scripture. Hesed, or tender mercy, is God’s greatest characteristic in the Old Testament. For example, Moses was told that the Lord is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6). King David, who knew something about sin and justice, wrote, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love; according to thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions” (Ps 51:3). This mercy is boundless and undeserved compassion; in the New Testament it is called agape, which is pure love.

Read Olson's entire column to prepare for Sunday Mass.

Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.