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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Mercy is Thanking

December 22: Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent, Year C2

1 Samuel 1:24-28; Luke 1:46-56

Mike Boyle played first-string guard for Holy Cross College. I was a lonely freshman tryout during spring practice. I played for two minutes in one practice game—the whole of my college football career! After it, Mike Boyle, walking by, said to me, “How’d it go, Knight?”

He noticed me! He called me by my name! He “had mercy!”

As a priest, I’ve preached for forty years about his kindness. One day I thought, “Mike Boyle has no idea what he did for me.” So, I wrote him through the alumni office. He answered, “You’re right; I don’t remember that. But I’m bed­ ridden now, and I really appreciate your letter.” I was able to pay him back. My thanks was “mercy echoed.” It was mercy too.

It was “mercy echoed” when Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; he has mercy...he remembered his promise of mercy... to our fathers.”

Mercy is response based on relationship. Jesus’ mercy on the cross is the keystone of all lasting relationship with God and each other. Mercy is the “source and summit” of relationship.

Eucharist (“thanksgiving”) affirms Christ’s mercy and echoes it, celebrating him as the king and keystone of relationship. Because Eucharist is the echo of mercy, it is the “source and summit” of the Christian life.

Daily Practice: Thank God for mercy and relationship.

Advent Prayer: “O King of all nations and keystone of the church: come save the humans you formed from dust.”

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