Jesus came into this world as a child, vulnerable and dependent.
Mercy is at the heart of the Gospel and at the heart of our identity as Christians. Jesus came to show us God’s mercy and he is calling us to follow him in showing mercy to others.
Advent is a season of mercy. The mercy of God is the great theme running through the first stories of Jesus’ coming. In her Magnificat, Mary sings: “His mercy is from age to age.” Zechariah, father of St. John the Baptist, sings: “The tender mercy of our God … will visit us.”
I am happy that some temporary relief is being offered to help parents and children who right now are living in daily fear that their families will be broken up by arrests and deportations. But the President’s actions today are no substitute for the comprehensive immigration reform our nation needs.
Many of us have forgotten our immigrant roots. But our Church has always been a Church of immigrants, as our nation has always been a nation of immigrants. In earlier generations, we welcomed newcomers from every nation in Europe. Today, we are still welcoming newcomers — but now they come from Latin America, Asia, Oceania and Africa.
We are in the final days of the Church’s liturgical year. This Sunday we mark the year’s end with the Feast of Christ the King and the following week the new year begins with the first Sunday of Advent.
I am writing you this week from Baltimore, where I am taking part in the annual meeting of the Catholic bishops of the United States. This is an important gathering every year — a time for all of the Church’s bishops to pray and reflect on the challenges and opportunities we face in our pastoral ministries.
Always as we enter the final month of the liturgical year, the Church calls us to remember our loved ones who have gone before us. The Church also calls us to reflect on the last things in our lives and our own final end.
These are serious considerations, but they are not meant to make us sad. The Church begins November celebrating All Saints and All Souls to remind us that our lives belong to God, who is a God of the living, not of the dead.
As we prepare for Election Day next week, the California Catholic Conference has offered reflections and analysis on the important propositions on the ballot this year.
It’s amazing that in our sophisticated, secularized world, global attention has focused on a meeting of Catholic bishops with the Pope in Rome these past two weeks.
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