thoughts and observations on the daily readings
This year, we have been using the word mercy many times and in many contexts. It is only right to do so in this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. At the same time, we would do well to remember the limits of language. In the philosophical sense all language that speaks of God must be analogical. After all, we human beings cannot comprehend the fullness of God. We can speak about God - and we do so with the help of simile and metaphor.
Then there is the further problem of translation. If the original Hebrew and Greek words are already analogical, we must then translate their assertions from the original into our own language. Here too, we face the limits of language. When translating, we frequently loose allusions, nuance, and multiple layers of meaning.
My point in all of this is simply to say that in this year of mercy, we might want to think about the related biblical vocabulary - especially if we want to respect the wideness of divine mercy and the limits of human explanations and translations!
If we really want to speak about divine mercy in the scriptures then we might want to think about terms like faithfulness, forgiveness, compassion, and love -especially love! The term most frequently used in Luke's Greek text is as much about comparison as love. God is not ruling on high like a human potentate and deigning to show mercy - the scriptures teach that divine mercy is founded upon divine love. When the Church prays "Lord have mercy" it is really saying, "Lord love us, forgive us, save us!" Even when expressing the deepest longing of the human heart, one word may not be enough.