Pope Francis continued his catechises on the Church as mother during this Wednesday’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square on Sept.10. Throughout the entire address, the pope constantly reiterated that the concept of mercy is at the crux of both the Gospels and the teaching of the Church. He also challenged Christians to let go of fear to embrace the most desperate in our society just as Christ did.
Christians must exercise mercy because we have been shown mercy “God has sent His Son! God has made Himself man to save us, that is, to give us his mercy. Jesus says it clearly, summing up his teaching to the disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Lk.6, 36).
“‘But Father,’ some will say, ‘This is dangerous. These are bad people.’ Listen carefully: any one of us is capable of doing what these men and women in prison have done. We all sin and make mistakes in life. They are not worse than you or me. Mercy overcomes any wall or barrier, and leads us always to seek the face of the human being. And it is mercy that changes hearts and lives, that is able to regenerate a person or enable him to be newly reintegrated in society.”
Again it is fear that stops many Catholics from drawing near to those who have been abandoned and who die alone. The pope reminds us of what Mother Teresa did in Calcutta and others like her who are not afraid to take the hand of the dying. He explains why it is important to be with the dying. “Mercy offers peace to those who depart and to those who remain, making us aware that God is greater than death, and that by staying with Him, even the final separation is only ‘until we meet again.’”
Pope Francis reiterates the centrality of mercy in the life of a Christian.
“The Church is a mother, teaching her children the works of mercy. She has learned this path from Jesus; she has learned that this is essential for salvation. It is not enough to love those who love us. It is not enough to do good to those who do good to us in return. To change the world for the better is it necessary to do good to those who are not able to do the same for us, as our Father did for us, in giving us Jesus. How much have we paid for our redemption? Nothing. It was all free. Doing good without expecting anything in return – this is what our Father did for us and what we too must do.”
The Holy father concludes, “let us give thanks to the Lord, who has given us the grace of having the Church as a mother who teaches us the way of mercy, the way of life.”