Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Church "needs” this extraordinary moment that is the Holy Year of Mercy, because "only the merciful Church shines. If we were, even for a moment, to forget that mercy is 'what God likes most', all our efforts would be in vain, because we would become slaves of our institutions and of our facilities, though they may be renewed, but we would still be slaves".
Pope Francis focused his catechesis for the general audience held the day after the opening of the Holy Door on explaining the reasons for a Jubilee of Mercy.
To 20 thousand people in St. Peter's Square, among which he toured at length in his white jeep, Francis said that "the goal that the Church for this Holy Year" is "to feel strong in us the joy of being found by Jesus, as the Good Shepherd who came looking for us because we were lost. " And 'choosing' what God likes best: forgiving His children, have mercy on them”.
"In our age of profound change - said Francis - the Church is called to offer her special contribution, making signs of the presence and closeness of God visible. And the Jubilee is a favorable time for all of us, because contemplating Divine Mercy, which surpasses all human limitations and shines on the darkness of sin, we can become more confident and effective witnesses. Turning our eyes to God, the merciful Father, and to our brothers in need of mercy, means focusing attention on the essential content of the Gospel: Jesus, Mercy made flesh, making the great mystery of the Trinitarian God visible to our eyes. Celebrating a Jubilee of Mercy is equivalent to putting distinctive of Christian faith, Jesus Christ, the merciful God at the center of our personal lives and in our communities once more".
"A Holy Year, therefore, to live mercy. Yes, dear brothers and sisters, the Holy Year is given to us to experience the sweet and gentle touch of God's forgiveness in our lives, His presence beside us and His proximity especially in times of greatest need. This Jubilee, in short, is a special time for the Church to learn to choose only "what pleases God most". And, what is it that "God likes most"? To forgive His children, He has mercy on them, so that they too may in turn forgive their brothers and sisters, shining like torches of God's mercy in the world. "This is what God likes best. In a theological book he had written on Adam, St. Ambrose takes the story of the creation of the world and how God every day, after creating one thing - the moon, the sun or animals - says: 'And He saw that this was good '. But when he made man and woman, the Bible says, 'He saw that this was very good'. St. Ambrose asks: 'Why does He say very good?'. Why God is so happy after the creation of man and woman? Because in the end He had someone to forgive. Is that not beautiful? The joy of God's forgiveness, God's being is mercy. This is why this year we must open our hearts, so that this love, this joy of God fills all of this mercy. The Jubilee will be a 'favorable time' for the Church if we learn to choose 'what God likes most', without succumbing to the temptation to think that there is something else that is more important or has a greater priority. Nothing is more important than choosing 'what God likes most', that is, His mercy, His love, His tenderness, His embrace, His caresses".
"Even the necessary work of renewal of the institutions and structures of the Church is a medium that should lead us to have a living and life-giving experience of God's mercy which alone can guarantee the Church to be that city set on a hill that cannot remain hidden (cf. Mt 5:14). Only a merciful Church shines! If we were, even for a moment, to forget that mercy is 'what God likes most', all our efforts would be in vain, because we would become slaves of our institutions and of our facilities, though they may be renewed, but we would still be slaves". “Feeling strong in us the joy of being found by Jesus, the Good Shepherd who came looking for us because we were lost" (Homily on the First Vespers of Divine Mercy Sunday, 11 April 2015): this is the goal that the Church has set in this Holy Year. So we will strengthen our certainty that mercy can really contribute to building a more human world. Especially in our times, in which forgiveness is a rare guest in the areas of human life, the call to mercy becomes more urgent, and this everywhere: in society, institutions, at work and even in the family”.
"Of course, some would argue: 'But, Father, should the Church, in this year, not do more? Not just contemplate the mercy of God, when there are many urgent needs! '. True, there is much to do, and I for one never tire of remembering this. But we must take into account that, at the root of forgetfulness of mercy, there is always self-love. In the world, this takes the form of the exclusive research of one’s own interests, pleasures and honors together with the desire to accumulate wealth, while in the life of Christians is often disguises of hypocrisy and worldliness. All these things are contrary to mercy. The motions of self-love, that make mercy alien to this world, are so many and so numerous and often we are not even able to recognize them as limits and as sin. That's why we need to recognize that we are sinners, to strengthen our certainty of divine mercy. Lord, I am a sinner; Lord, I am a sinner: Come with your mercy '. This is a beautiful prayer. It's easy! It is easy to say this prayer every day: 'Lord, I am a sinner; Lord, I am a sinner: Come with your mercy’”.
"Dear brothers and sisters - he concluded - I hope that, in this Holy Year, each of us experience God's mercy, to be witnesses of 'what pleases him most'. It is naive to believe that this could change the world? Yes, humanly speaking it is foolish, but ", but " the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength" (1 Cor 1:25). Thank you'".