Mercy is Family Love
December 19: Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year C2
Micah 5:1-4a; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45
My mission in Chad was forty miles of dirt road from the hospital. At 5 AM one Sunday morning, a man came, said his wife was in labor, and asked me to drive her to the hospital. I blew up: “She’s been pregnant for nine months! Why did you wait till the busiest day of my week and ask me?” He just said, “Father.”
He had me. We priests teach people to call us “Father.” I had no choice. I loaded him and his wife into my truck—cussing, I have to admit—and drove them to the hospital.
Mercy is to give help based on relationship. And God is big on family relationships.
Paul wrote (Romans 15:12): “The root of Jesse shall come.”He’s thinking back to a line from Isaiah: “A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots…” (Isaiah 11:1).
God chose David, “son of Jesse,” and promised to use his family to save Israel. Jesus was “son of David:’ And “in Christ” we are all sons and daughters of the Father “in the Son.” God continues to use us as “branches of the vine,” whose root is Jesse, to save the world.
Mercy is to live up to our family obligations.
Daily Practice: Treat everyone as your brother or sister.
Advent Prayer: “O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us.”