Theology 101

Mercy begins with spiritual conversion

And he told them a parable, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?”…

“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.” (Lk 6:39,41-42)

Blessed are the Merciful

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us the beatitudes. One of these beatitudes is of special interest for us during this Jubilee Year of Mercy: “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” (Mt 5:7) Here Jesus seems to make being merciful the condition for receiving mercy. Why might this be the case?

The Good Samaritan: A Lesson in Mercy

The Parable in Brief

In order to understand the full context of the parable, we must first consider the Gospel passage directly preceding it – Luke 10:25-28. In these verses, a scholar of the law had asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. In the end, the scholar provided his own answer by citing the two great commandments: to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself.

When Jesus confirmed his answer, the scholar asked a follow-up question, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus offered this parable as his response.

Mercy is love transformed

As we continue our year-long reflection on the nature of mercy in honor of the official Jubilee Year of Mercy (Dec. 8, 2015–Nov. 20, 2016), let us recall from last time that, according to Pope St. John Paul II, mercy “signifies a special power of love.” In other words, mercy is really love transformed, so we need to understand what love is if we are to penetrate more deeply into what it means to be merciful.

What is love?

We are all probably familiar with St. Paul’s famous lines in his First Letter to the Corinthians in which he tells us what love is and what it is not:

What is mercy?

Let us begin our year-long reflection on the nature of mercy in honor of the official Jubilee Year of Mercy (Dec. 8, 2015 – Nov. 20, 2016) by considering what Pope St. John Paul II wrote in his 1992 apostolic exhortation, Ecclesia in America. Specifically, God is communion and all people are called to share in this same communion.

The Domestic Church

Since one of the themes discussed during the Ordinary Synod of Bishops related to the Family in October is the domestic church, Theology 101 explores the Church’s teaching on this theme, as well as the vocation and mission of the family in general both in the Church and in the modern world.

The Restoration of Marriage

The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family in October 2014 and the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family in October 2015 have made reflection on the vocation and mission of the family both in the Church and in the modern world very timely. So during 2015, Theology 101 continues to explore the Church’s teaching on many of the themes being considered by the two synods.

Divorce and remarriage in the Church

The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family in October 2014 and the upcoming Ordinary Synod on the Family in October 2015 have made reflection on the vocation and mission of the family, both in the Church and in the modern world, very timely. So during 2015, Theology 101 will explore the Church’s teaching on many of the themes being considered by the two synods.

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