When I started writing this column last Monday, I was writing it for results on the presidential election that ended up coming out very differently than I thought. I did not think that Hillary Clinton would lose. But she did and I was shocked. It’s another thing to add to the list of surprising things that happened in 2016, which has been one of the strangest years of my lifetime.
We’ve lost so many legends; Antonin Scalia, Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Harper Lee, Muhammad Ali, American Idol, Vine. The Cubs won the World Series and no one thought that would happen. The Broncos won the Super Bowl and it was the most amazing thing ever. Great Britain voted for Brexit which shocked the world.
It’s been six months and some people are still mourning a gorilla. We’ve been terrorized by clowns. The 90s returned with the launch of Pokémon Go and we can stream the Gilmore girls and the Tanner girls all grown up on Netflix. The most recent surprise is that Donald Trump won the election.
Even after the news of election night, life went on. I still woke up and went to class. I still had the same Wednesday meeting and the same shift at work with the same people. It seemed like any other Wednesday. Unsurprisingly, Thursday and Friday were the same as they always are despite the election news.
It had to be divine intervention that Pope Francis selected this year to be the Year of Mercy. The number of graces that have flooded the world has been very evident. However, the Holy Doors will close on Saturday at Christ the King. I have mainly feelings of sadness that it will soon be over and I wish that I had taken more advantage of the doors. But I also have a feeling of “now what?”
Is the flood of mercy gone? The opportunity to receive indulgences? Well, no. The mercy was flooded upon all of us. We’ve been hit with a huge blow of mercy and we might not even know it. Once the doors are closed at the physical building of the church, we the body of the church are called to be doors of mercy ourselves. All who pass through those doors, who have encounters with us, should recognize that.
We have to embrace that call to be doors of mercy for the world, especially with the direction that our country is heading. No matter how you feel about Trump winning, we still need to be concerned. My home state of Colorado passed a physician-assisted suicide bill. About 2,700 lives are lost in abortion clinics every day. Eight states have legalized recreational marijuana, three on Tuesday.
I know the issue of marijuana is very divided but it’s personal for me, especially as I watch Colorado suffer so much that the Denver district attorney, Mitchell R. Morrissey, wrote a letter to California voters urging them not to legalize recreational marijuana because of the increase in crime and violence he has seen as a direct result of the legalization.
Father Michael Gaitley said it best when he visited Franciscan a few weeks ago. Now is the time for mercy and it is easier to become saints because of it. Quite frankly, the world really, really needs it right now.
The Lord has given us the props we need; he’s given us the setting through the state that our world is in. He’s given us a script and stage directions through easy access to Scripture and the writings of Pope John Paul II, all of the saints, Pope Francis, the magisterium, and other lay Catholic authors and thinkers, many of whom are on our campus. All we have to do is act.
But first we have to know our script and know our stage and props and perfect it so we aren’t bumbling buffoons when the curtain is drawn. We have been given the responsibility to be radiant lights in a continuously darkening world.
Since the year of mercy is concluded, now is the time for us to be saints; to take on the call with everything we are and pray for those who aren’t. Now, more than ever, is the time for us to be doors of mercy.