Kýrie, eléison (Lord, have mercy). It is one of the most ancient prayers in the Christian tradition by penitents seeking and celebrating divine mercy in private prayer and at public worship.
Throughout the Christian Gospels are those hungry and thirsty for mercy: the woman caught in adultery, the family of Lazarus, the publican, Peter after denying Jesus, the apostles panicked amidst stormy weather, the thief crucified alongside Jesus, and others pining to taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Their common supplication: “Lord, have mercy!”
The mercy of Jesus, indeed the Incarnation itself, scandalized the religious leaders of his time. And still, millennia later.
The Pharisees and others were scandalized that Jesus was not rigid in upholding the Law as they demanded. Oh, the outrage when Jesus cured on the Sabbath. They preferred that Jesus adhere to exacting legal codes rather than respond to someone in need of mercy’s balm.
The Nassau Guardian recently reported the comments of a local religious leader:
“A Bahamian pastor has branded as ‘reckless’ Pope Francis’s decision to reveal that he would not judge priests if they were gay. Dr Myles Munroe, Pastor of Bahamas Faith Ministries, said he was disappointed the Pope had voiced his personal opinion.”