The image below is a detail from the painting by Rembrandt van Rijn of the Prodigal Son. Here the face of mercy is shown in the face of the loving father who welcomes his son home. The story is today’s Gospel reading, and here is part of it: ‘He arose and came to his father. But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and make merry; for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”’

In introducing the recent Year of Mercy, Pope Francis said: ‘In the parables devoted to mercy, Jesus reveals the nature of God as that of a Father who never gives up until he has forgiven the wrong and overcome rejection with compassion and mercy. We know these parables well, three in particular: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the father with two sons. In these parables, God is always presented as full of joy, especially when he pardons. In them we find the core of the Gospel and of our faith, because mercy is presented as a force that overcomes everything, filling the heart with love and bringing consolation through pardon’.

As we seek to know that mercy in our own lives, may we draw ever closer to the Father who always forgives, always has mercy. May God bless you and shower His love upon you this day.