November 9, 2016
Dear Parishioners and Friends of O.L.P.H.,
Greetings and blessings from the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help!
This month brings us to the close of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy that Pope Francis opened on December 8 of last year, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This is what he wrote about the end of the Jubilee of Mercy:
“The Jubilee year will close with the liturgical Solemnity of Christ the King on 20 November 2016. On that day, as we seal the Holy Door, we shall be filled, above all, with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity for having granted us an extraordinary time of grace. We will entrust the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking him to pour out his mercy upon us like the morning dew, so that everyone may work together to build a brighter future. How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God! May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst!”
We have celebrated this Year of Mercy in many ways: in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in passing through the Holy Doors of Mercy in the designated churches, practicing the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, in pilgrimages to shrines and other sacred places. Psalm 136 sings of God’s mercy: “Praise the Lord, who is so good; God love – God’s mercy – endures forever!” Having celebrated the Year of Mercy which draws to a close, we know that God’s mercy is always with us.
The Year of Mercy has also been the Year of Luke. Luke’s Gospel has shown us Jesus as “the face of the Father’s mercy”, as Francis writes. Jesus’ parables of the Good Samaritan (10: 29-37), the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin (15: 1-10), the Prodigal Son and the Merciful Father (15: 11-32), the Rich Man and Lazarus (16: 19-31), and more, teach us of God’s mercy and give us the mandate: “Go and do likewise!” So we are sent forth from the Year of Mercy to be bearers of mercy in our relationships, above all in our families, and also in the world around us. This translates into respect for life and the dignity of every human person, care for the poor and vulnerable, recognizing the dignity and rights of workers and immigrants, care for God’s creation which is our common home.
May the mercy we have received and the mercy we have shown be a powerful “sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst.”
Thanksgiving blessings be with all of us as we thank God for all we receive from his goodness and mercy, and as we are grateful to the people we share life, love and faith with in our homes and in our parish!
Fr. Jim Gilmour, C.Ss.R.