by Catherine Maresca
I have been meditating on mercy during this Lenten season. God’s outpouring of love everywhere, on everything, and all the time. God’s womb-love, in which we live and move and have our being.
During Holy Week we may focus on the particular kind of mercy – forgiveness – that Jesus asked for on behalf of others as he died on the cross. But in John’s Gospel we hear Jesus asking for mercy, outpouring love, of all kinds –
· a new commandment, to love one another as Jesus loves us
· the spirit of truth
· life in True Vine
These and many other gifts of Holy Week are wrapped in the signs of Jesus’ words and acts. We need not open them all at once, but could we write their names on slips of paper as we notice them, and open one once in a while? We can consider how they have been present in our lives already, and how and why God is offering it to us now.
We share the love and joy of gifts quite naturally at Christmas. The gift of “God with us” reflected in millions of acts of gift-giving in a few short weeks. Holy Week is also a time of gifts, gifts that we in turn can offer to our neighbors, our families, and ourselves as well.
Finally, we are always aware of the gift of children among us. Children who can be initiated into a celebration of Holy Week as a shower of gifts, rather than a deluge of sorrow. Let us walk with them into the joyful reality of life, death and risen life, and the daily outpouring of God’s abundant mercy.