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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

General audience: the signs of the Jubilee

Vatican City, 16 December 2015 (VIS) – In the general audience today the Holy Father recalled last Sunday's opening the Holy Door of the Basilica of St. John Lateran and of all cathedrals throughout the world. “I wanted this sign of the Holy Door to be present in every particular Church”, he said, “so that the Jubilee of Mercy may become an experience that everyone can share. In this way, the Holy Year has given life to the Church as a whole; it is celebrated in every diocese as in Rome, and Rome is a visible sign of universal communion. Pope Francis expressed his hope that this ecclesial communion be “increasingly intense, so that the Church may be a living sign of the Father's love and mercy”.

However, he commented that “love and forgiveness must not remain simply beautiful words, but rather should become the reality of our daily life. Loving and forgiving are the visible and concrete signs that faith has transformed our hearts and this enables us to express the very life of God in ourselves. Loving and forgiving as God loves and forgives. This is a plan for life that does not admit interruptions or exceptions, but rather drives us always to go further ahead without tiring, with the certainty of being supported by God's paternal presence”.

He explained that “this great sign of Christian life then transforms into many other signs that are typical of the Jubilee”, and reiterated that salvation cannot be bought as it is free, urging the faithful not to fall prey to deceptions. “Crossing the Holy Door is a sign of our trust in the Lord Jesus Who came not to judge but to save us”, he continued. “It is the sign of a true conversion of our heart. When we cross this door it is good to remember that we must also keep open the door of our heart. The Holy Year cannot be effective if the door of our heart does not allow Christ to pass, Who drives us to go towards others, leading them to Him and to His love. Therefore, just as the Holy Door remains open, as a sign of the welcome God reserves for us, our door too must always remain open so as to exclude no-one”.

The Pope also remarked that confession is an important sign of the Jubilee. “Receiving the sacrament with which we are reconciled with God means directly experiencing His mercy. … But, how can we ask God to forgive us if we ourselves are not capable of forgiveness? Certainly, forgiving is not easy, as our heart is poor and with its own strength alone it cannot manage this. However, if we open ourselves up to welcome God's mercy for us, in turn we become capable of forgiving”. The Holy Father concluded by encouraging all those present to live the Jubilee starting with these signs that involve the great strength of love”.

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