Welcoming the herald of mercy
The Maltese are always very proud to hear the first ten verses of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 28, which give the narrative of the shipwreck of St Paul on our shores.
Luke says that the inhabitants of the island showed towards St Paul and his friends an “unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2). We can say that the narrative of our faith is a meeting between a group of people who needed our help and the willingness of the inhabitants of our islands to see in them not only people in need but also human beings with their dignity which merit all respect, love and solicitude.
The beginning of our meeting with Jesus Christ is marked by the healing of the apostles that bring us not only the healing of the father of the protos, Publius, but also of all the inhabitants of the islands. It is a meeting with the mercy of God. Paul brings us into a close encounter with the mercy of the Father, incarnate in His Son, Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ who showed us the heart of the Father willing to embrace all of us sinners and bringing us to a place of salvation, of freedom, of spiritual and physical well-being.
We are indebted to the mercy of God and we who cherish and flourish in the light of this mercy, have the responsibility to share such mercy among each other, among ourselves, with other people, following the example of Jesus but also taking on the physical and spiritual works of mercy as a programme for our lives.
As we meet the apostle of mercy, Pope Francis, on our islands at the beginning of April, we pray that the message of mercy and love may endow our hearts with the true light and joy of the gospel.