Pope at St. John Lateran: A time of great forgiveness begins. Joy, despite "great oppression and violence"
Pope Francis opens Holy Door in the Cathedral of Rome, at the very same moment as cathedrals around the world. "We cannot let ourselves be overcome by fatigue" or "sadness" when faced with the "multiple forms of violence that wound our humanity". Do works of justice and "look to the needs of those in need”. Christians are called to a "more radical commitment": to "be an instrument of mercy", to "witness a love that goes beyond justice, a love that knows no bounds."

Rome (AsiaNews) - The opening of the Holy Door "here and in all the cathedrals of the world ... is an invitation to joy. A time of great forgiveness begins". This joy is also resistant to "great oppression and violence, especially  that of men of power". This was the message of hope that Pope Francis shared in homily at Mass celebrated in Rome’s cathedral, the basilica of St. John Lateran, after the opening of the Holy Door. The rite of the Mass began in the atrium of the basilica. After opening the door, the Pope gathered for a few moments of silent prayer within and then processed with concelebrants and some lay people to the sanctuary to continue the celebration.

Following the Pope’s indications today, the third Sunday of Advent, the Holy Doors are being opened in all the cathedrals around the world, following the first doors opened by the pope in Bangui (Central Africa) and Saint Peter’s basilica.

The third Sunday of Advent is called "Gaudete Sunday", to rejoice because of "Christmas, now at hand."

The closeness of Christmas and the opening of the Holy Door is a reason for joy. "We cannot - he said – let ourselves be overcome by fatigue. Any form of sadness cannot be permitted, even though we would have reason given the many concerns and forms of violence that wound our humanity. "

"In a historical context of great abuse and violence, especially at the hands of men of power, God makes known that He will reign over His people, that He will never leave them at the mercy of the arrogance of leaders, and that He will free them from every anguish. Today we are told ‘be not discouraged ‘(cf. Zeph 3:16) because of doubt, impatience or of suffering”.

The Pope then cites today's Gospel (Luke 3,10-18), where the crowds asked John the Baptist "what should we do" in expectation of the Messiah. John "invites us to act justly and to look to the needs of those in need." But Christians - adds Francis - "are asked to engage more radically".

"Before the Holy Door we are called to cross, we are asked to be instruments of mercy, knowing that we will be judged on this."

"The joy of crossing the Gate of Mercy - he added - is accompanied by a commitment to welcome and witness to a love that goes beyond justice, a love that knows no bounds. It is this infinite love that we are responsible for, in spite of our contradictions. "

"Let us pray - he concluded - for us and for all who pass through the Gate of Mercy, that we may understand and welcome the infinite love of our Heavenly Father, that transforms and renews life."