Friends, today’s Gospel is a clarion call for us to be merciful. The whole purpose of the Church—the priesthood, the Mass, the sacraments, good preaching, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy—is to make saints. There really is no question more important than this one: what does it mean to be a saint? Well, to be a saint is to be holy, and to be holy is to follow God’s will, and God’s will is always a will to love, and love is willing the good of the other. So to be a saint is to will the good of others.
Easy enough to say, but the hardest thing in the world to do! What makes us “blessed” or “happy” is precisely holiness. And Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” In many ways, this is the heart of the matter. Chesed is the relevant word in Hebrew, translated wonderfully in the King James as “tender mercy.” This is what God is and what he invites us to participate in.