St. John Paul II Parish
3110 17 Mile Rd., Cedar Springs, Michigan
This Christmas is a unique one for Catholics throughout the world. This is due to the fact that the spiritual leader, Pope Francis, declared an Extraordinary Jubilee for Mercy from December 8, 2015-November 20, 2016. This is a “special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective” (Misericordiae Vultus, no. 3). In other words, the Pope calls upon Catholics and men and women of good will to see in Jesus, the Mercy of God made flesh and challenges us to engage in the works of mercy in our everyday lives. “The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 2447).
The theme, contemplating Jesus, Mercy of God made flesh, is clearly expressed in the logo of the Jubilee. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization explains:
“The logo . . . presents . . . the theme of mercy. In fact, it represents an image quite important to the early Church: that of the Son having taken upon his shoulders the lost soul demonstrating that it is the love of Christ that brings to completion the mystery of his incarnation culminating in redemption. The logo has been designed in such a way so as to express the profound way in which the Good Shepherd touches the flesh of humanity and does so with a love with the power to change one’s life. One particular feature worthy of note is that while the Good Shepherd, in his great mercy, takes humanity upon himself, his eyes are merged with those of man. Christ sees with the eyes of Adam, and Adam with the eyes of Christ. Every person discovers in Christ, the new Adam, one’s own humanity and the future that lies ahead, contemplating, in his gaze, the love of the Father.”
In this blessed season, indeed we celebrate that God showed us His love in a very special way: sending His Son “in the likeness of our sinful flesh” (Rm 8:3). Through this Mercy of God “made flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn 1:14), may our entire life be the praise of God’s mercy.
Have a blessed 2016 and may you and your family be transformed in this Jubilee Year by God’s merciful love! Amen.