Originally Published in The Messenger, for Spanish-speaking people in the Diocese of Belleville Click here to read the article en Español
Pope Francis announced an extraordinary year of Jubilee that puts God’s Mercy in the center of the life and mission of the Church. It will be, he said, “A Holy Year of Mercy, we want to live in the light of the word of the Lord: Let’s be merciful as our Father is merciful.”
Then, with the Bull “The Face of Mercy”, published on April 11, Pope Francis told us: “We always need to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a source of joy, serenity and peace. It is a condition for our salvation … Mercy is the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy is the fundamental law that inhabits the heart of every person looks with sincere eyes when the brother who stands in the way of life “(MV, 2)..
The law of Moses says, every fifty years, a year of liberation was proclaimed for all inhabitants of the country (Lev.25,9-12).
The celebration of that year included, among other things, the return of lands to former owners, forgiveness of debts, the liberation of slaves and the repose of the fields. This year was lived as a true intervention of God in the human community to redirect the course of history back to Gods original plan.
In the New Testament, Jesus presents himself as the one who executes the entire Jubilee established in Israel, because he has come to “proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lc.4,19).
Since then, the church has kept the jubilee celebration as a time to promote the sanctity of all life. It is the year of reconciliation, conversion and sacramental penance; therefore, it is a year of solidarity, justice, hope, a year for care of the environment, to commit to serve with joy both God and neighbor. The first aim of the Year of Mercy is for the Church to live a time of grace, in a special union with God. This year is a special invitation to come to God and to welcome him as Love and Mercy
The Holy Year will open on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, to show us the preferential way in which God works.
“This liturgical feast day recalls God’s action from the very beginning of the history of mankind. After the sin of Adam and Eve, God did not wish to leave humanity alone in the throes of evil. And so he turned his gaze to Mary, holy and immaculate in love (cf. Eph 1:4), choosing her to be the Mother of man’s Redeemer. When faced with the gravity of sin, God responds with the fullness of mercy. Mercy will always be greater than any sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is ever ready to forgive.” (cf MV3)
So the Year of Mercy invites us to be transformed by God’s mercy that we may be transformed into missionaries of mercy.
- A Jubilee that puts the Sacrament of Forgiveness at the center
If something is necessary at this point in our society it is to restore the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the forgiveness of our sins.
In fact, when looking at the sacrament of Penance we keep encountering situations of concern: Many people have left this sacrament; we fail to practice this sacrament until it transforms our lives.
The theme of Mercy with which the Pope wants to lead the Church through this Jubilee year is a time of grace for all true Christians and a renewal to continue on the road with new vigor to the mission and to the pastoral conversion Pope Francis is inviting us to consider.