FROM the first Christian Community in the Acts of the Apostles until our time today, there is going a red thread of mercy. There always have been people and groups of people who in the spirit of following Christ have put their life in the service of the people in need.
The characteristic of mercy is that it really is doing good, real love. Like a child enjoys playing and does not hear or see what is going on around his or her, or like an artist looses himself totally in his work, thus a merciful human being looses himself totally in being merciful. He or she is doing something good without knowing to whom or why they are doing it, and the left hand doesn’t really know what the right hand is doing. Unseen, without the fact that this may be seen by anybody, he or she is doing something without any reservation.
Parents take care in a natural way of their handicapped son or daughter for years, and they have no answer to outsiders who ask them critical questions about this. It is natural for them to do that, because it is really their child. To give is not rational or self-serving, they really give blindly. The only possible reaction of outsiders may be an attitude of wondering, that so much goodness between people is possible. Essential for mercy is, that it is not seen and that it happens as by accident.
There is still a lot of injustice, lack of freedom and real poverty in our society in the Philippines, which is still very rich in natural resources. Almost every village or town has an increasing number of people who are dependent on a feeding program. But these problems of our time we cannot solve with big institutions and organizations which think that they can solve the problem from above. If we want to remain faithful to the spirituality of mercy, we must go back to the beginning, where it is said about the first Christian Communities that there were no poor among them, because they took care of each other (Acts 2, 40-47; 4, 32-36).
Even now we see people who take care of each other, in their families, in their neighborhood, among their neighbors who are working somewhere outside or in schools.
All this gets lost in the midst of so much violence that we see happening in the media. But it really is there and it sips in into our community slowly like oil.
Unseen and unknown mercy takes its course also in our days.
Mercy works in secrecy.