Lent 2019 - WEEK 3 (March 24)


Psalm 103: The Lord is kind and merciful.


Cardinal Paul Poupard once said movies are an irreplaceable form of evangelization. I couldn’t agree more.

There’s a scene from the 2006 film Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Djimon Hounsou, that to me incarnates “mercy” in a powerful and unforgettable way.

In a grove of trees beside a river, near the diamond mines of Sierra Leone, two men stand facing a young boy. The boy is a child soldier, brainwashed by a rebel gang. Coerced by thugs to believe that the way to true power and purpose is through annihilating father and mother, elders and chiefs. Any one asserting authority is in the way of your autonomy.

The boy points the gun at a man whose arms quickly raise, acting out a pattern of submissive surrender. Fear. This man is a mercenary, one who deals in diamonds, and whose only goal is to make money to make a profit. This is his perceived path to power. He stares at the gun, then turns to the other man pleading, "Solomon"... The second man looks up and sees the boy. It is his own son, and has been the object of his quest since his son was captured by the gang months ago. 

When the father calls to his son to distract him from threatening the mercenary, the boy, possibly just 11 years old and just 12 feet away from the men, turns the gun on his own father. 

Then mercy enters. Sweet mercy. 

Solomon calls out to his son: “Dia, what are you doing? Dia! Look at me, look at me. What are you doing?” 

Mercy seeks the gaze first. The eyes that reveal the heart, in order to penetrate and permeate the soul with forgiveness. 

“You are Dia Vendy, of the proud Mende tribe. You are a good boy who loves soccer and school. Your mother loves you so much. She waits by the fire making plantains, and red palm oil stew with your sister N'Yanda and the new baby....”

Slowly, deliberately the father approaches his son, heedless of the weapon pointed at his chest. He sees only his son. 

“The cows wait for you. And Babu, the wild dog who minds no one but you.”

Mercy restores us. It builds anew our identity in God, reconnecting us at all the levels disconnected by our sin: back to God, back to others, back to creation, and finally back to ourselves:

“I know they made you do bad things, but you are not a bad boy. I am your father who loves you. And you will come home with me and be my son again.”

Slowly, reverently the father comes closer and tears now drop like shimmering diamonds from his eyes, and his son’s. 

“The Lord is kind and merciful.”

Close enough now, the father touches his child’s head and the reunion materializes. It is a sacred moment. A sacred touch. 

“The Lord is kind and merciful.”

Our pain and our wounds are real and so is this mercy. We must learn the stunning truth that mercy wants to touch these very wounds, enter into them and heal them. And nothing can stop that press of the Father’s love. That gaze of the Father’s heart! 

“The Lord is kind and merciful.”

Written by Bill Donaghy


Bill Donaghy is a Senior Lecturer and Curriculum Specialist at the Theology of the Body Institute. He is an instructor and international speaker with over 25 years of experience in mission, evangelization, and education. He’s also the co-author of RISE: The 30 Day Challenge for Men. He has a background in visual arts, philosophy, and Masters in systematic theology. Most importantly, he's the husband of Rebecca and father of four beautiful children.



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Shawn Williams