“Merciful like the Father”
On Sunday 13th December 2016, a big crowd gathered not far from outside St Patrick’s Cathedral for the opening of the Jubilee of the Holy Year of mercy. The ceremony started at 15h.00 PM and was led by Bishop Z. P. Mpambani . Shortly after the introductory rite, the Gospel was read (Luke 15:1-7) after which the Bishop together with the faithful proceeded to the Church for the opening of the door of mercy.
In his homily at Mass, the Bishop explained with clarity to the faithful the purpose of the jubilee year of mercy referring to the extract script from the papal Bull “ Misericordiae Vultus”( The face of mercy) #15. He also strongly encouraged everybody to read the papal Bull. He even provided the faithful with a website to help them to get access to the above mentioned document.
The Bishop invited all the Christian faithful to think, reflect and commit themselves profoundly to the work of mercy which falls under two categories: Corporal work of mercy and spiritual work of mercy.
The corporal work of mercy is in connection with the ‘physical’ and helps us to attend the bodily needs of others. (See Mt 25:34-40). The Bishop mentioned seven corporal works of mercy: Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, close the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the prisons, and bury the dead. His open invitation to the Christian faithful to practice the corporal work of mercy is to help them realising how necessary this activity is since it gives way to show charity toward those in need.
Beside the corporal work of mercy, the Bishop enumerated also the spiritual work of mercy: Instruction of the ignorant: “the spirit nourishes itself by knowledge and prayer” he said; to counsel the downfall; to admonish sinners; to bear wrong patiently “As Christian faithful we should be patient with our enemies and not be involved in violence against those who wrong and harm us” he said; to forgive offences willingly, to comfort the afflicted, to pray for the living and the dead.
In addition, he urged everyone to enter the door of mercy and ask for forgiveness from God. He also urged the clergy to avail themselves by offering spiritual assistance to those who come through the door and need mercy. “It is not every one who has to enter the door of mercy but only those who are ready to do so meaning that those who really need to forgive and to be forgiven” He said.
Finally, the Bishop mentioned that since St Patrick’s Cathedral falls under Kokstad deanery, the door of mercy will also be opened in the following parishes within the following deaneries: Immaculate Conception Church in Hardenberg (Deanery of Matatiele) and The Paraclete Mission in Bizana (Deanery of Pondoland).