Archbishop Malcolm McMahon on how we are challenged to look at our lives through the prism of mercy

24/12/2015 10:36 am

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP, the Archbishop of Liverpool, looks at how the Pope has challenged us to look at the way we live and work through the prism of mercy.

"Mercy itself is a strange notion people have very different understandings of its meaning. For many people it means to be pardoned or to be let off, but I think the Church's understanding is a great deal fuller than that.

"The parable which underpins the notion of Mercy for me is that very familiar one of the Prodigal Son. It's the image of the father who, to quote using one of the older translations, 'while yet at a distance he saw him and he was moved with pity and he ran to him and he embraced him and kissed him'. That, to me, is the action of God toward his Son who is returning to him. It's a powerful image that I think we live out in the church in many ways.

"My particular responsibility in the Catholic Church in England and Wales is to be the Chair of the Catholic Education Service. In Catholic Schools that is precisely what we do - we reach out to people we provide for them to enable individuals to come to the Father and to be received by him with love.

"So mercy is not simply providing an education, providing a safe place for children to learn new skills, for children to learn to be good citizens, it's a place where they can grow in what we used to call their 'moral virtue'. They can grow as people, develop as whole human beings and part of that, in our understanding of the human person, is that they get to know Jesus and to love him as he loves them.

"Mercy, then, is not simply about receiving that loving forgiveness of the Father but also demands of us a response which is to grow and develop in our relationship with him."

Podcast Series

The Year of Mercy, given to us by Pope Francis, presents the ideal opportunity to focus on God's mercy and forgiveness.

To mark this, many of the Bishops of England and Wales have recorded special reflections for Advent. One podcast reflection will be uploaded every day throughout the season.


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