And his mercy is on them who fear him

Luke 1:50

The Magnificat, Mary’s Song of Praise, was said in response to Elizabeth’s greeting; “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” It is a song which praises God for his goodness but more so for his call of Mary to be the Mother of Jesus.

The Magnificat speaks about God’s mercy and invites us to emulate that mercy in our Christian living. Mercy is more than a feeling; it is always expressed in action. The Bible makes constant reference to God’s mercy and the psalmist writes: “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

God’s mercy has a special interest in persons who are suffering in one way or another. As such it is concerned with those held in bondage by sin, the sick and suffering, persons who are on the fringe of the community-lepers, people with disabilities-the lame, the blind and the deaf. The biblical concept of mercy always involves help to those who are in need or distress. In the Magnificat, Mary expresses joy at the fact that God takes the side of the underdogs:
He hath showed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.

As was stated before God’s mercy is expressed in various ways; in today’s Gospel it is expressed within the context of what we might be called social justice. Unlike Matthew’s Gospel, Luke does not spiritualise hunger and attendant problems. He addresses the issues from a real life perspective and challenges the reader to be merciful.

Jesus was the embodiment of God’s mercy. Any one whom wants to have a good understanding of mercy has to study the life of Jesus. In his life and works he demonstrated on numerous occasions the meaning of mercy by going to the aid of suffering people and taking them out of their predicament. How do we see Jesus’ mercy at work in the Gospels?

In the Gospels our Lord’s mercy was seen in his acts of healing, pardoning of persons sins, acceptance of persons considered outcasts, raising the dead, his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well, his rescue of the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned and his acceptance of death for our sins.

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