"Why a Jubilee of Mercy?". The day after the opening of the Holy Door that inaugurated the Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy, Francis dedicated his Wednesday audience catechesis to explaining why the Church needs this extraordinary moment. Together with the Bull Misericordiae vultusIn his address, the Pope offers us the most complete guide for a fruitful journey through the Holy Year that has just begun.
The Jubilee is a privileged moment for the Church to learn to choose only what pleases God the mostForgive your children, be merciful to them, so that they in turn may forgive their brothers and sisters, shining like torches of God's mercy in the world".. In an age, such as ours, of profound changes, the Church's particular contribution consists in living mercy by fulfilling a triple task: to make visible signs of God's closeness; to direct our gaze to God, the merciful Father, and to our brothers and sisters in need of mercy; and to return to the essential content of the Gospel, to place Jesus Christ at its center, "Mercy made flesh".. The Pope's teachings in the last month of 2015, the first month of the Jubilee Holy Year, can be arranged around this threefold task, helping us to orient our life under the sign of mercy.
Visible signs of God's closeness have been fulfilled by Francis on his first apostolic journey to Africa, visiting Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic. As a sign of faith and hope for countries that are trying to emerge from violent conflicts that cause much suffering to the population, the Holy Door of the Jubilee of Mercy was opened in Bangui a week before the beginning of the Jubilee Year. A visible sign of God's closeness was also the request for prayers for the work of the Conference on climate change held in Paris, or for the pacification of the beloved land of Syria or Libya.
The task of turning our gaze to the merciful Father and to those in need of mercy is discovered in the Rescript on the fulfillment and observance of the new law of the marriage process. The new laws that have come into force "want to show the Church's closeness to wounded families, with the desire that the healing work of Christ may reach the multitude of those who live the drama of marital failure.".
With a look of mercy, the Pope also recalled that "An important sign of the Jubilee is also Confession. To approach the Sacrament by which we are reconciled with God is to have a direct experience of his mercy. It is to encounter the Father who forgives: God forgives everything"..
The same gaze has led Francis to offer during the presentation of Christmas greetings to the members of the Roman Curia the "curial antibiotics": remedies to overcome the ills that have overshadowed the self-sacrificing and faithful work of those who offer an ecclesial service of loyal collaboration in the Holy See. The scandals will not stop a "reform that will continue to move forward with determination, lucidity and resolve.". To obtain the antidote that cures these evils it is necessary to back to basicsThis is possible by outlining a program with terms whose first letter forms the word mercy: missionarity, suitability, spirituality, exemplarity, rationality, harmlessness, charity, honesty, respectfulness, generosity, impassivity and attentiveness.
Finally, the task of placing Jesus Christ at the center can be seen in his meditations before praying the Angelus or in his addresses to the Parents' Association of Italian Catholic schools and to the young people of Catholic Action. To place Christ at the center, there is no better way than to turn to Mary, Mother of Mercy. Her Immaculate Conception reminds us that in our life everything is gift, everything is mercy.
Degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Santiago de Compostela. Professor of Ecclesiology and Pastoral Theology in the Department of Systematic Theology at the University of Navarra.