“The Jubilee is all over the world, not just in Rome”, Pope Francis has begun during the customary Wednesday general audience in St Peter’s Square. Going back to the opening of the Holy Door in the Cathedral of Rome and in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, he has added: “A Door of Mercy has been opened in the Cathedral of every diocese of the world, as well as in the shrines and churches where bishops have said to do so”. “I wanted this sign of the Holy Door to be present in every particular Church so that the Jubilee of Mercy can become an experience shared by every person. This way, the Holy Year has begun in the whole Church… May this ecclesiastic communion grow more and more intense, so that the Church can be a living sign of the Father’s love and mercy in the world”.
Then, Francis has reconnected the Jubilee to the conclusion of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and to the ecclesiastic communion. “In fact – he explained – the Council contemplated and presented the Church in the light of the mystery of the communion. Scattered all over the world and divided into many particular Churches, it is always and only the one Church of Jesus Christ … The ‘one’ Church that lives in communion with God. This mystery of communion makes the Church a sign of the love of the Father…a love without end, which has the face of forgiveness and mercy”.
Mercy and forgiveness should not remain only words. They must be practiced in daily life because to love and to forgive are the “tangible and visible sign of the fact that faith has transformed our hearts and allowed to express the life of God Himself in us”. Love and forgive, therefore, like God loves and forgives. Like Jesus who did not come to judge, but to save: “I am the door: if anyone enters through me, he shall be saved, he shall come in, then go out and find pasture” the Lord says.
Then, the Holy Father has added an impromptu speech: “Beware, huh? Do not allow those who consider themselves to be too quick or too smart to tell you that you have to pay: no! One does not pay for Salvation. Salvation cannot be purchased. The Door is Jesus, and Jesus is free of charge! And the Door, He himself, as we have heard, speaks of those who enter as simply thieves and robbers. Still, beware: salvation is free of charge”. The Holy Door must become a symbol of the human heart that allows to pass, so that passing through the Holy Door can become “a sign of true conversion of our heart”: “When we walk through the Door, it is good to remember that we must keep wide open also the door of our heart… The Holy Year would not be of much use if the door of our heart did not allow Christ to come in. He compels us to go towards the other, to bring Him and His love”. Without excluding anyone, not even “those who bother me”.
We could not miss the reference to the importance of confession because”, approaching the sacrament in which we are reconciled with God is equivalent to experience His mercy directly. It is to find the forgiving Father”. Then he has added: “He says more: that when we recognize our sins and ask forgiveness, there is a feast in Heaven: Jesus is festive. This is His mercy: do not be discouraged. Come on, come on with this!”.
But it is not easy to forgive, especially when it comes to serious wrongs. “But how can we ask God to forgive us if we are not capable of forgiveness ourselves?”. “It is not easy to forgive – he explains, “because our heart is poor and with its own forces alone it cannot make it. But if we open up to receive the mercy of God for us, we become capable of forgiveness in our turn”. And else: “I have heard as well people saying many times: ‘I hated that person, I really could not stand him/her. But one day, I approached the Lord, and I have asked forgiveness for my sins, and I have forgiven that person’. These are things that happen every day. And this possibility is close to us”. Then, he has concluded the catechism in Italian: “Cheer up! Let us live the Jubilee starting from these signs, which involve a great force of love. The Lord will accompany us in order to lead us to experience other important signs in our lives. Cheer up! Come on!”.