Academic journal article Currents in Theology and Mission

Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life

Academic journal article Currents in Theology and Mission

Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life

Article excerpt

Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life. By Walter Kasper. New York: Paulist Press, 2014. Translated by William Madges. ISBN: 978-0-8091-0609-7. xvi and 270 pages. Cloth. $29.95.

Jesus means divine mercy. How encouraging that Cardinal Walter Kasper acknowledges the centrality of God's mercy in Jesus Christ with reference to the Joint Declaration (12-13, 79)! As testimony to the achievements of ecumenical rapprochement, the references to Luther are appreciative, whether regarding his Reformation breakthrough (100) or for his interpretation of Mary (209, 217).

Kasper undertakes a comprehensive, systematic treatment of the meaning of mercy, retrospective, and prospective. He grounds his examination deeply in biblical sources, Old and New Testaments, with special attention to the message of Jesus. God's very name reveals God's mercy, as do God's option for life and for the poor. Jesus' birth brought near God's mercy to the little ones, even as his beatitudes and parables resound with merciful promises. Jesus' existence for others culminates with his taking upon himself the sins of all people, revealing on the cross the depths and costliness of God's own mercy. …

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