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The Heart of Mercy in the midst of COVID

Julian Paparella

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Detail of Sacred Heart of Jesus by Pompeo Batoni (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
The image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus has been touching hearts for centuries. It is a sign of the deep, personal, everlasting love of God for us. It is the image of Jesus who loves us to the end: even to the point of dying on the Cross. God’s love goes to any lengths to reach us, to touch our hearts, to bring us back to Himself. He is the Father who waits longingly for the prodigal son to return at last. He does not hold grudges, He is not resentful, and He never disappoints. His love is what truly satisfies us. It is what allows us to love others as He loves us: generously, selflessly, faithful till the end. If we listen to God’s heartbeat, it tells us: “I love you,” “I forgive you,” “You are mine,” “I am with you always,” “Trust in me.” God’s mercy frees and heals us. He allows us to forgive one another and see each other with eyes of love.
We are living in a time when mercy is even more urgently needed than usual. The world is rocked by a pandemic that no one expected. Racism, fear, and division are bubbling up across countries, turning people against one another and causing us to be violent. Some of us are more touched by these struggles than others. None of us can remain indifferent. God is not indifferent with us. His heart yearns for reconciliation, healing, and peace. He sends His Spirit into the world to bring about harmony and love in us and among us. How can we have hearts that are more open to this unity and care that God desires for the whole world? In the midst of difficulty, we have also seen so many signs of hope. How can we nourish these good seeds and remove the weeds that choke them out?
The challenge for each of us – wherever we are and whatever we are experiencing in these days – is to ask ourselves: What is God putting in my heart so that I can reach out to others with His mercy, His love, and His compassion? What concrete steps can I take to love my neighbour in this time of need? How can I be an agent of solidarity, of healing, and of care? How can I uphold the dignity of those who are different from me, instead of hiding behind walls of division? How can I stand up for others instead of lying down and being complacent? What can I do to go the extra mile to help someone, near or far from me?
Jesus’ heart beats with love for all of humanity. He is the Good Shepherd who loves every sheep and never forgets anyone. Jesus wants to reach out to us through one another. May our hearts beat with His merciful, endless, powerful love for one another. Let us ask Jesus to help us with this. His Heart never abandons us.

Julian Paparella has contributed to Salt + Light Media since 2012. He served as an intern for many summers and currently studies theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris.

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