Mercy is Mixing
December 23: Thursday of the Fourth Week of Advent, Year C2
Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24; Luke 1:57-66
Civil war saturates nations with evil. Children grow up knowing violence as their way of life and hatred as their truth.
From 1968 to 1998 this was Northern Ireland. Between them, Catholics and Protestants killed 3,600 people and maimed or injured as many as 50,000—with immeasurable psychological damage to countless others. All those killers were Christians.
But Christians are reacting. Among the many efforts, the Irish Children’s Fund has an ongoing program in Belfast that brings Protestant and Catholic children together weekly, and Peace Players International has them playing sports on mixed teams to discover common ground and form friendships. The key to all these efforts is bringing people together. Simply being with each other fosters mutual understanding. They become Emmanuel—"God with us”—to each other.
Interacting builds relationship. Relationship is the basis for mercy. When people experience relationship, mercy triumphs.
The mere presence of Jesus is “like the refiner’s fire... purifying silver,” purifying children’s hearts. “Good and upright is the LORD…” As the Life, he “shows sinners” an alternative to hatred and violence. As the Way, he “guides.” And as the Truth, he “teaches.” His presence saturates nations with mercy.
Daily Practice: Let Jesus “be with” others in you.
Advent Prayer: “O Emmanuel, our King, and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God.”