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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Mercy is Inclusiveness

December 12: Third Sunday of Advent, Year C2

Zephaniah 3:14-18a; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18

I was an American in a French seminary where Father-later Cardinal-Henri de Lubac lived. He became one of the most influential theologians of the Second Vatican Council, chosen by Pope John XXIII to prepare and contribute to it. But I knew him as a model of mercy.

He used to struggle up the stairs (he had been gassed in World War I) to my room to ask an insignificant foreign student to translate letters from English. If I ever hesitated on a word, he supplied it. I knew what he was doing: making a “nobody” feel accepted.

A man with whom I could claim no national identity or intellectual equality reached out to me as a fellow human and brother in Christ. That taught me more than all his awesome scholarship. For me, “Henri de Lubac” means “man of mercy:’ He “came down” to me by climbing upstairs in an affirmation of relationship—just as Mary “came down” at Tepeyac in the form and dress of an Aztec to show that she is the one mother of the one family of God.

The word for this is “mercy”—to reach out to another in recognition of a relationship that is real but perhaps not yet realized.

Daily Practice: Build a bridge to someone who feels separated.

Advent Prayer: Mother of the Americas, pray for us

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