The accent on the corporal works of mercy is “mercy.” Feeding the hungry may mean listening to someone to whom no one listens. Giving drink to the thirsty may include offering kind words or praise to those who rarely hear anything positive. Welcoming the stranger often involves countering prejudice with an openness to all God’s children, no matter how different or fearful they may seem. Clothing the naked is also a summons to work for justice so that no one is homeless, unprotected, or denied basic human dignity. Visiting the sick isn’t only necessary when someone has broken an arm—it can also be an invitation to relationship with a family member who has lost his or her way. The imprisoned aren’t only in jail—they are the isolated members of our society who can’t get out of their houses or their poverty or their destructive family patterns or their despair. Burying the dead also implies letting go of the past, its injuries and injustices, and allowing forgiveness to bring healing and wholeness to us and our adversaries. If we want God’s mercy, we have to become God’s mercy. It’s a very simple formula, and now is the right time to take up the practice.