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Mercy and conversion (cf Lk 24, 45-48)

Catechesis by Pope Francis in the Jubilee of Mercy
Jubilee Audience, Saturday 18 June 2016, St Peter's Square - in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
After his Resurrection, Jesus appeared several times to his disciples before ascending to the glory of the Father. The Gospel passage that we have just heard (Lk 24:45-48) recounts one of these manifestations, in which the Lord indicates the fundamental content of the preaching that they must offer the world. We can synthesize it in two words: “conversion” and “forgiveness of sins”. These are the two qualifying aspects of the mercy of God who lovingly cares for us. Today let us take into consideration conversion.

What is conversion? It is present throughout the Bible, and particularly in the preaching of the prophets, who continually urge the people to “return to the Lord” by asking him for forgiveness and changing their ways. Conversion, according to the prophets, means changing direction and turning to the Lord anew, relying on the certainty that He loves us and his love is ever steadfast. Returning to the Lord.

Jesus made conversion the first word of his preaching: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mk 1:15). With this proclamation he presents himself to the people, asking them to accept his Word as God’s final and definitive words to humanity (cf. Mk 12:1-11). Speaking of conversion with regard to the preaching of the prophets, Jesus insists even more on the interior dimension. In fact, it involves the whole person, heart and mind, in order to become a new creature, a new person. Change your heart and you will be renewed.

When Jesus calls one to conversion, he does not set himself up as judge of persons, but he calls from a position nearby, because he shares in the human condition, and therefore calls from the street, from the home, from the table.... Mercy towards those who needed to change their lives came about through his lovable presence so as to involve each person in his salvation history. Jesus persuaded people with his kindness, with love and with his way of being, he touched the depths of people’s hearts and they felt attracted by the love of God and urged to change their lifestyle. For example, the conversion of Matthew (cf. Mt 9:9-13) and of Zacchaeus (cf. Lk 19:1-10) happened in exactly this manner, because they felt loved by Jesus and, through Him, by the Father. True conversion happens when we accept the gift of grace, and a clear sign of its authenticity is when we become aware of the needs of our brothers and are ready to draw near to them.

Dear brothers and sisters, how many times have we also felt the need to effect a change which would involve our entire person! How often do we say to ourselves: “I need to change, I can’t continue this way.... My life on this path will not bear fruit; it will be a useless life and I will not be happy”. How often these thoughts come, how often!... And Jesus, who is near us, extends his hand and says, “Come, come to me. I’ll do the work: I’ll change your heart, I’ll change your life, I will make you happy”. But do we believe this, yes or no? What do you think: do you believe this or not? Less applause and more voice! Do you believe or not? [‘Yes!’]. So it is. Jesus who is with us invites us to change our life. It is He, with the Holy Spirit, who sows in us this restlessness to change our life and be a little better. Let us follow, therefore, this invitation of the Lord and let us not put up resistance, because only if we open ourselves to His mercy will we find true life and true joy.

All we have to do is open the door wide, and He will do the rest. He does everything, but we must open our heart wide so that he can heal us and make us go forward. I assure you that we will be much happier. Thank you."


"Je suis heureux de saluer les pèlerins francophones venant de France, de Belgique et du Gabon, en particulier l’École de santé des Armées, de Bron. Je vous invite à ouvrir votre cœur à la miséricorde du Seigneur, pour y trouver la vraie vie et la vraie joie. Que Dieu vous bénisse !

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that the present Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Von Herzen grüße ich die Pilger aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache, die zur heutigen Jubiläumsaudienz gekommen sind, insbesondere die Alumnen des Priesterseminars Eichstätt. Jeden Tagen spüren wir die Notwendigkeit, unser Leben neu am Wort Gottes auszurichten. Leisten wir der Einladung des Herrn zur ständigen Umkehr keinen Widerstand, sondern lassen wir uns von seiner Gnade umwandeln, um in ihm das wahre Leben und die echte Freude zu finden. Gott segne und behüte euch allezeit.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos provenientes de España y Latinoamérica. Que el Señor Jesús nos conceda la gracia de la auténtica conversión de nuestra vida. Si nos abrimos a la misericordia de Dios, encontraremos la verdadera alegría del corazón. Muchas gracias.

Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, sede bem-vindos! A todos vos saúdo, convidando-vos a pedir ao Senhor uma fé grande para verdes a realidade com o olhar de Deus, e uma grande caridade para vos aproximardes das pessoas com o seu coração misericordioso. Confiai em Deus, como a Virgem Maria! Sobre vós e vossas famílias, desça a bênção do Senhor.

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللّغةِ العربيّة، وخاصّةً بالقادمينَ منالشّرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، إنَّ ربَّ الرَّحمة يريد أن يخلَّصنا جميعًا، لذلك يقدّم لنا مغفرته باستمرار ويساعدنا لنقبلها ليفتح قلوبنا على أفق رحمته اللامتناهيّة. ليبارككُم الربّ!

Słowo serdecznego pozdrowienia kieruję do pielgrzymów polskich. Dzisiaj ponownie usłyszeliśmy wezwanie Chrystusa: „Nawracajcie się i wierzcie w Ewangelię!” (Mk 1,  15). To poważne wezwanie, zobowiązujące, dotyczy każdego! Niech wzbudzi w nas pragnienie przemiany życia. Odnowieni w duchu bądźmy dla świata ewangelicznym zaczynem prawdy, przebaczenia, miłosierdzia i pojednania. Życzę wam oraz waszym bliskim obfitych owoców Roku Jubileuszowego i z serca błogosławię.

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Un cordiale saluto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana!

Sono lieto di accogliere; i volontari del Cottolengo di Torino e i Panificatori dell’Associazione Confesercenti, e li ringrazio per il pane distribuito ai pellegrini venuti per il Giubileo nel corso di questa settimana. Grazie! Dare il pane, spezzare il pane è una delle cose più belle della vita. Grazie!

Saluto i fedeli di Firenze, con il Cardinale Betori, e di diverse Diocesi italiane accompagnate dai rispettivi Pastori: Altamura-Gravina-Acquaviva delle Fonti, Belluno-Feltre, Lamezia Terme, Oria e Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo. Auspico che il pellegrinaggio giubilare e il passaggio della Porta Santa alimenti la fede, rilanci la speranza e renda feconda la carità.

Saluto il gruppo “La città dei ragazzi” nel settantesimo anniversario di fondazione; il Battaglione “Vulture” di Nocera Inferiore; il comando dei Vigili del fuoco con il Vescovo di Viterbo; come pure i membri della Federazione Ciclistica e il Comitato per il Giubileo di Marino.

I extend a special greeting to young people, to the sick and to newlyweds. Next Saturday we will celebrate the memory of St William Abbot (or St William of Montevergine). Dear young people, may his evangelical zeal inspire you to courageous choices for the good; dear sick people, may his gentleness sustain you in carrying your cross in spiritual union with the heart of Christ; dear newlyweds, may his bond with Christ the Saviour help you to unite your family with love. Thank you."