This year in particular (the year of mercy), we are summoned to reflect on the concept of mercy. Many think of mercy as an overlooking of sin rather than as a remedy for it. To some, the fact of God’s mercy is a sign that He doesn’t care about sin and is content to leave us in it. Those who speak to the reality of mercy are often called harsh, mean-spirited, etc. Many set mercy and sin in opposition to one another.
The Lord Jesus unites these realities together. For the Lord, mercy is necessary because there is sin, not because sin is “no big deal.” It is because sin is a big deal that mercy is needed and is glorious.
Bishop Robert Barron aptly states, Many receive the message of divine mercy as tantamount to a denial of the reality of sin, as though sin no longer matters. But just the contrary is the case. To speak of mercy is to be intensely aware of sin and its peculiar form of destructiveness (Vibrant Paradoxes: The Both/And of Catholicism, p. 1).
So mercy does not deny sin; it acknowledges it and supplies an often-challenging remedy. Jesus shows mercy by calling us from our sin and healing us from its effects.
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