ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Quality of Mercy

Updated on April 11, 2013

Fans of the 1960s cult classic TV program "The Twilght Zone" might recall a seminal and rather poignant episode in the TV Series' highly successful run entitled "A Quality of Mercy".

Borrowing its title from William Shakespeare's "The Mechant of Venice", the story revolves around a young and very gung-ho Second Lieutenant by the name of Katell who is eager to earn his stripes (or bars in this instance) at the tail-end of World War II. As the episode unfolds, Katell orders his beleaguered troops to launch a very risky and rather reckless, unnecessary attack on a small group of wounded Japanese soldiers who are cornered in a small cave. His top Sargent, a veteran fighter all too familiar with the grim ravages of war who clearly has his thumb on the pulse of his troops in a way that the self-serving Katell could never fathom, tries desperately to talk him out of the attack. He passionately argues that it will lead to nothing more but extraneous and futile bloodshed. But Katell's mind is made up and he subsequently pulls rank on the Sargent ordering him to carry out the attack as planned.

But suddenly, in vintage whirlwind twilight zone fashion, Lt. Katell finds himself in Corregidor, three years earlier in the war. In a bizarre juxtaposition, Katell has now assumed the role of Lt. Yoshi Yamuri in the Japanese Army, where now he has been ordered to attack a group of young American soldiers who are similarly holed up in a cave. It is now Katell (in the form of Yamuri) who attempts to convince his superior officer to forego the attack. He is however quickly rebuked and berated by his Captain for being "weak" and having "lost his nerve". Delirious and deeply shaken by what he has just experienced, Katell is suddenly transported back to 1945, once again in the role of an American Soldier. He has just been informed however that the Atomic Bomb has been dropped on Hiroshima and strict orders have been passed on to him not to attack the cave but to instead fall back. The young Katell seems deeply and genuinely relieved while stuck in a moment of deep contemplation in light of what he has just experienced. As host Rod Serling might say between drags of his unfiltered Pall Mall, "file this one under "M" for the Twilight Zone."

A quality of mercy.....learned the hard way. And so it goes with this complex and delicate concept that we call "mercy".

Songs have been written about it.

Hospitals and churches are adept at incorporating the word into their titles - appropriately so.

Severely lopsided slow-pitch softball and little league baseball games have been abruptly halted via the so-called "mercy rule", a built-in stipulation designed to spare those on the wrong side of the contest further embarrassment while getting everyone to the saloon or tavern of choice a little bit sooner, perhaps in an effort to offer consolation to the losers via the back end of the $1.00 Budweiser Longneck Happy Hour Promotion. Or a Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard as I suppose - and sincerely hope - would be the alternative for our little leaguers.

It is sometimes found in abundant supply (Mother Theresa) yet more often seen in far less-than-abundant supply ("that panhandler should get a job!" ...."toughen up"...."don't come cryin' to me"...."I told you so".... "let 'em eat cake").

So as the Catholic Church focuses on the Feast of Divine Mercy on the heels of the Easter Tridium, perhaps it might be time to borrow a phrase from a certain ubiquitous shipping company that favors a milk chocolate shade of brown and ask the question, "What can mercy do for you?"

Mercy can of course be shown and it can be accepted. In showing mercy towards others, we can be sure that we are glorifying Jesus by following in His example; we know we are doing that which is pleasing to Him. When Jesus first appeared on the Evening of the first day of the week before a shocked group of Apostles, His message was concise yet very powerful:

"As the Father has sent Me, so I have sent you"

It stands to reason then that since God sent Jesus into the world as a tangible, flesh and bone conduit of mercy ("as the father has sent Me") , that we too must show mercy (" I have sent you").

But it's what Jesus says next that bears even greater reflection. He says "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

But by whom are they retained?

By the sinner, or by he or she that refuses to forgive and move on (as Jesus would have done in less than a heartbeat), instead opting to wallow in revenge, bitterness, anger, and the devastating error of living in the past? You get the idea. This can be accomplished by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and with Pentecost right around the corner, that journey has begun for those brave and enlightened enough to embark upon it.

How do we accept Jesus' mercy? Do we work hard at trying to comprehend it, careful to separate our made-for-eternity relationship with Jesus from our frail and flawed relationships in the finite world? Do we forgive ourselves as Jesus so willingly forgives us?

The Feast of Divine Mercy offers us an opportunity to contemplate all of these things, and contemplate them we must. Mercy is a gift from Jesus for us to embrace, but for as great a gift as it is, we must also remember that to whom much is given, in this case mercy, much is expected.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)