(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday, during which he focused his catechetical reflections on the upcoming Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, which opens on December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.
In an impassioned address to the thousands of faithful pilgrims and tourists on hand, in which he departed frequently from his prepared text to emphasize his points, Pope Francis said, “If the door of God’s mercy is always open, even so must be the doors of our churches, the love of our communities, our parishes, our institutions, our dioceses, for when they are, we can all go out to bring this mercy of God [to those who most need it]. The Jubilee Year recalls the great door of God’s mercy, but also the small doors of our churches – open to let the Lord in – or to let the Lord out, who is often the prisoner of our structures, our selfishness, and of so many things.”
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It was a theme to which he returned in his English summary, where he said, “As guardians of that door, we in the Church are called to be welcoming to all who seek to enter the fold of the Good Shepherd. May the doors of our Christian homes be signs and symbols of the door of God’s mercy, a door ever open to all who knock and desire to meet Jesus.”
The Holy Father had special greetings to several groups, including pilgrims belonging to Poland’s historic Solidarity movement, the Italian association of people affected by thalidomide, and pilgrims from across the Arabic-speaking world, especially from Lebanon and Syria. “During the Jubilee of Mercy,” he said, “let Christian families make of the thresholds of their houses a sign of the mercy and welcome of God; let every Church be witness to the Mercy of the Heavenly Father, who never closes the door of His pardon in the face of those who are repentant, and never treats us according to our deserts, but according to the immensity of His Mercy and Love.”
Pope Francis’ remarks to Arabic-speaking pilgrims concluded with the words, “May the Lord bless you and protect you from evil.”
Please find the full English-language summary of the Holy Father’s remarks below
Dear Brothers and Sisters: As the extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy approaches, today we consider the great open door of God’s mercy, symbolized by the Holy Doors which will open in Churches throughout the world. The recent Synod of Bishops on the Family encouraged families in a particular way to enter this door of mercy and to open the doors of their hearts to others. Jesus tells us that he stands knocking at our door, asking that we open it to him (Rev 3:20). How important it is for us to be good doorkeepers, capable of opening our doors and making our homes places of encounter and welcome, especially to our brothers and sisters in need! Jesus also tells us that he himself is the door (Jn 10:9) which leads to salvation; if we pass through him, we will find lasting security and freedom. As guardians of that door, we in the Church are called to be welcoming to all who seek to enter the fold of the Good Shepherd. May the doors of our Christian homes be signs and symbols of the door of God’s mercy, a door ever open to all who knock and desire to meet Jesus.
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