• Immersed in Christ

Mercy is All Embracing

December 6: Monday of the Second Week of Advent, Year C2

Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 5:17-26

I was walking down the street in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, with Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini. A man asked him for alms. The bishop asked his name, gave his own, and then asked where the man had slept last night, what family he had, and how he was managing to live. By the time he gave him money, he had given him dignity, friendship, and a sense of equal relationship with another human being who saw him as a brother in Christ. And he had given me a lesson in what it means to have mercy.


Because the bishop (who insists on being called “Alvaro”) saw the man not as a beggar but as another complete person, he entered into a personal relationship with him that made him aware of the man’s deeper need. First, he gave him what he had not asked for; then he gave him cash.


This is what Jesus did. “Some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed.” Jesus said to the man, “Your sins are forgiven.” Not what the man came for, but what he needed more. Then Jesus healed him.


Christian mercy responds to physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs-even those unasked. When we relate to each other as whole persons to whole persons, we help each other be whole.


Daily Practice: Relate to everyone as a whole human person.


Advent Prayer: Lord, give me your heart

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