One of Australia's leading biblical scholars offers a wonderful guide to the Church to help Catholics and other Christians celebrate the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. In this book, she combines deep scholarship and insight into the biblical text with an enthusiasm to uncover the richness of the 'mercy texts' that abound in the books of Old and New Testaments.
The Blessing of Mercy is also an ecological exploration of mercy in the Bible, connecting intentionally with Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si and his proclamation of an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
The first chapter of The Blessing of Mercy focuses on the five main word groups used to express mercy in the Hebrew Scriptures: mercy as liberation and compassion; mercy as looking with the eye of pity and sparing the guilty; mercy as steadfast love or loving kindness; mercy as womb-compassion; mercy as grace or graciousness. The chapter closes with a brief account of how the Hebrew terms were translated into Greek.
The second chapter considers the mercy word groups in the Greek text of the Christian Scriptures and then examines selected mercy-related texts in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew as informed by the language of mercy in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Chapter three explores the mercy language in the Gospel of Luke and in the Acts of the Apostles, taking account of Earth elements that function as agents of mercy in the text. The Afterword invites us to reenact or retell these stories of mercy in contemporary and ecological key so that they might find expression in our lives.
Throughout, we are invited to reread the biblical texts in light of the Pope's invitation to listen to the cry of the Earth and the Earth's poor. Above all, we are compelled by mercy to embrace the Earth as God's creation and our common home.