The words from today’s Gospel, spoken by Our Lord, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice’, come from the prophet Hosea: ‘For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings’.

The word translated variously as ‘mercy’ and ‘steadfast love’ is the Hebrew חֵסֵד ‘hesed’, meaning, pity, piety, loving kindness, mercy. In the beatitudes He said, ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’. May we, today, commit ourselves to an act of mercy, however hidden, and may God bless you in it, pouring down mercy abundantly upon you.