With close to 50 people in attendance at the Chancery, the Diocese of San Jose kicked off the Living the Year of Mercy speaker series with a presentation by Father Sergio Ovando on “The Father’s Mercy” on February 18.
“Mercy is the heart of the biblical message,” said Ovando, pastor at Saint Martin of Tours Parish, “not by undercutting justice, but by surpassing it.”
Ovando spoke of the meaning of mercy, what mercy is and how love and mercy are the same. He said the word mercy is very limited in its meaning. He added it is a feeling and you must decide what you do with that feeling.
“Mercy equals God and God is unconditional,” he said. “To be merciful it is not a single act, but a constant disposition.”
Ovando tied Mercy into the parable of the Prodigal Son – Luke 15:11-32. He emphasized that to fully understand the parable you must look at the Bible verses that come before it – Lost Sheep, Luke 15: 3-7 and the Lost Coin, Luke 15:8-10.
“Both of the sons are at the mercy of their father,” said Ovando. “One son, the younger son is outside, like the lost sheep and one son, the older son, is inside, like the lost coin. The Mercy of God applies to those inside and outside of the Church.”
Like the sons in the Prodigal Son, where God shows us we must be mindful of others and not think solely of ourselves, Ovando said we as Catholics must decide what our role is in the Church.
“What was role of the older son and what was the role of the younger son,” said Ovando. “What are our roles? Every single encounter with God should end with rejoicing. The best way to show mercy is to act as an instrument of God.”
Living the Year of Mercy speaker series encompasses five topics and are offered in English and Spanish. On March 3, Father Ovando will speak about how “We are Called to Be Merciful.” Learn more about the series at