Back then in school, I had a friend her name is Mercy. Ones, I wondered why her parents would give her a name like that. She never did answer that question because I never put it to her. I could only think of various reasons why I would name my child “Mercy” or better still, “Mercy of God” or as the Igbo’s would put it “Eberechi or Eberechukwu” or in Yoruba "Anuoluwa" . There must really be a story backing the naming of a child Mercy.
|That's me and behind is the Door of Mercy I passed through|
On Tuesday morning, I made out time out from my tight schedule to attend a programme at the Catholic Cathedral of Lagos: The Holy Cross Cathedral on the Island. I convinced myself to go because of the significance of the programme - Pilgrimage walk through the door of Mercy. Most of the activities of the Church are so significant and symbolic so much so as to direct our focus on God Almighty and this is one of them.
What is it about mercy and God? “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy” Those are words from the bible; Psalm 103:8 to be precise. There are so many times in the Holy Book where God’s mercy is reminded us either directly or indirectly. His redemptive act is the summit of his love and mercy, yet while we were/are still sinners, He still loves us and shows us mercy.
Every morning when I wake, I feel God’s mercy. It comes to us in various forms and it can be felt too in equally as many forms too… if only we can pay attention to his show of mercy on us on a daily basis? For me the greatest way I perceive God’s mercy is through the gift of life he has given us – in every breath I take and every beat of my heart, but ultimately the knowledge of the fact that this life doesn’t end here on earth; I feel mercy in my hope for glory, so everything I do counts.
Christ is my model and is He a model for you too? Do you take to the virtue of mercy? Do you show mercy yourselves or do you just live your lives? “I desire mercy not sacrifice”, does that ring a bell (Matt 9:13)? That is Christ telling us what he really expects from us. He expects us to show mercy to our neighbour. What good have we done telling our neighbour in need of our help that is in our place that “it is well with you” when you can actually lend a helping hand and not feel it? You would rather fatten your bank account than to help even a close relative in time of need. People are hungry on the streets and you care less because you are comfortable as God has blessed you immensely. I see pictures from the IDP camps in the northern part of Nigeria and I am left with teary eyes – in a country where churches are filled to the brim every Sunday all in the name of worship of God, and where corruption seem to have become a the culture of a people; even in the so-called fight against the same corruption seem to be a mirror of itself. Nobody really gives a damn about the next person and everyone is gunning for their personal and selfish interests.
If only we have truly received mercy and know mercy for what it really is, we will show mercy. We need to show Mercy more; our world needs more mercy – Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, cloth the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead. That’s how the Church has summarised it, is it too difficult for us Christians? Why then are we Christians in the first place? We should be like Christ… He showed us mercy and he is still showing us mercy even now, we should show mercy to others.
In Jn 10:9 Jesus told us that He is the door and anyone that goes through Him will be saved. We know what passage through a door signifies? Movement from a world to another. When you pass through the door into your house, you have passed from the outside world to your home, a safer place. Now you know how significant my participation at the pilgrim walk through the door of mercy is: A passage into the world of mercy where I constantly receive mercy and in turn, show mercy. The significance might be more spiritual than physical, but it is in edifying the spiritual that the physical can be right.
So my friends, let’s show mercy in our world.
PS. The Pope declared the Catholic liturgical year a Year of Mercy and so the activity of walking through the Door of Mercy was included in the activities for the year because of its significance. You may not have to pass through the Door, but the message is that our world needs mercy; we need to show mercy even as we ask for God’s mercies in our lives.
PS. It’s been a while I wrote a post this lengthy…pheeew! Thank God for it was for his Mercy.