Bookmark and Share

Mercy and reconciliation

Catechesis by Pope Francis in the Jubilee of Mercy
Jubilee Audience, Saturday 30 April 2016, St Peter's Square - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today I would like to reflect with you on an important aspect of mercy: reconciliation. God has never failed to offer his forgiveness to men and women: his mercy is felt from generation to generation. Often we believe that our sins distance the Lord from us. In reality, in sinning, we may distance ourselves from him, but, seeing us in danger, he tries all the harder to find us. God never gives in to the possibility that a person could stay estranged from his love, provided, however, that he find in him or her some sign of repentance for the evil done.

By our efforts alone, we cannot be reconciled to God. Sin truly is the expression of the rejection of his love, with the consequence of closing in on ourselves, deluding ourselves into thinking that we have found greater freedom and autonomy. Far from God we no longer have a destination, and we are transformed from pilgrims in this world to “wanderers”. To use a common expression: when we sin, we “turn away from God”. That’s just what we do; the sinner sees only himself and presumes in this way to be self-sufficient. Thus, sin continues to expand the distance between us and God, and this can become a chasm. However, Jesus comes to find us like a good shepherd who is not content until he has found the lost sheep, as we read in the Gospel (cf. Lk 15:4-6). He rebuilds the bridge that connects us to the Father and allows us to rediscover our dignity as children. By the offering of his life he has reconciled us to the Father and given us eternal life (cf. Jn 10:15).

“Be reconciled to God!” (2 Cor 5:20): the cry that the Apostle Paul addressed to the early Christians in Corinth, today applies to us all with the same vigour and conviction. Let us be reconciled to God! This Jubilee of mercy is a time of reconciliation for everyone. Many people would like to be reconciled to God but they don’t know how to do it, or they don’t feel worthy, or they don’t want to admit it, not even to themselves. The Christian community can and must foster the sincere return to God for those who feel this yearning. Especially those who carry out the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18) are called to be instruments docile to the Holy Spirit, for where one has abandoned sin mercy can abound (cf. Rm 5:20). No one should be separated from God because of obstacles put there by mankind! And — I want to underline this — that also goes for confessors. It’s valid for them: please, don’t put up obstacles for people who want to be reconciled to God. The confessor must be a father! He stands in the place of God the Father! The confessor must welcome those who come to him to be reconciled to God and help them on the journey to this reconciliation that we are making. It is a very beautiful ministry: not a torture chamber or an interrogation room. No. It is the place where the Father receives, welcomes and forgives this person. Let us be reconciled to God! All of us! May this Holy Year be a positive time to rediscover our need for the tenderness and closeness of the Father, to return to him with all our heart.

The experience of reconciliation to God allows us to discover the necessity of other forms of reconciliation: in families, in interpersonal relationships, in ecclesial communities, as well as in social international relations. Someone recently said to me that in the world there are more enemies than friends, and I believe he is right. Instead, let us build bridges of reconciliation among us, beginning in the family. How many siblings have argued and become estranged over inheritance. This shouldn’t happen! This year is the year of reconciliation, with God and among us! Reconciliation is also a service to peace, solidarity and the welcome of all.

Let us accept, therefore, the invitation to be reconciled to God, in order to become new creatures and to radiate his mercy among our brothers, among the people.

Greeting to participants in the Jubilee for the armed forces and law enforcement:

With joy I welcome the representatives of the armed forces and police, here from all over the world, on pilgrimage to Rome for the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Law enforcement — military and police — have the mission of ensuring a safe environment, so that each and every citizen can live in peace and serenity. In your families, in the various areas in which you operate, may you be instruments of reconciliation, builders of bridges and sowers of peace. Indeed, you are called not only to prevent, manage and put an end to conflicts, but also to contribute to the building of an order founded on truth, on justice, on love and on freedom, according to St John XXIII’s definition of peace in his Encyclical Pacem in Terris (nn. 18 ff.).

The affirmation of peace is not an easy task, especially because of war, which uproots hearts and augments violence and hatred. I urge you not to be discouraged. Continue on your journey of faith and open your hearts to God the merciful Father who never tires of forgiving us. Faced with the challenges of every day, be shining examples of Christian hope, which is the certitude of the victory of love over hate and of peace over war."


"Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les militaires venus en pèlerinage jubilaire et l’école d’évangélisation de Paray-le-Monial. Je vous invite à vous laisser réconcilier avec Dieu et à être partout des artisans de réconciliation, des constructeurs de ponts et des semeurs de paix. Que Dieu vous bénisse !

I greet the English-speaking visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from the armed forces and police agencies who have come from Canada, Kenya, Korea, the Philippines and the United States of America. I also greet the pilgrimage groups from Scotland and the United States. In the joy of the Risen Lord, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you all!

Herzlich grüße ich die Brüder und Schwestern deutscher Sprache, insbesondere die Soldaten, die zu ihrem Jubiläum gekommen sind. Eure Wallfahrt nach Rom stärke euch, dass ihr auf eurem Glaubensweg voranschreitet und eure Herzen Gott, dem barmherzigen Vater, öffnet, der nie müde wird, uns zu vergeben. Der Herr segne euch und eure Familien.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los Ordinarios y Delegados Militares, asistentes espirituales y miembros de las fuerzas armadas y de policía, con sus familias, provenientes de Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, España, Guatemala, Perú, México y República Dominicana.

Invito a todos a que en cada uno de los diversos ambientes en los que se mueven, sean instrumentos de reconciliación y sembradores de paz; y continúen por el camino de la fe abriendo el corazón a Dios Padre misericordioso que no se cansa nunca de perdonar. Ante los retos de cada día, hagan resplandecer la esperanza cristiana, que es certeza de la victoria de amor ante el odio y de la paz ante la guerra. Muchas gracias.

Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, sede bem-vindos! Saúdo-vos como membros desta família que é a Igreja, pedindo-vos que renoveis o vosso compromisso para que as vossas comunidades sejam lugares sempre mais acolhedores, onde se faz experiência da misericórdia e do perdão de Deus. Que Nossa Senhora proteja a cada um de vós, e o Senhor vos abençoe a todos!

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ النّاطقينَ باللّغةِ العربيّة، وخاصّةً بالقادمينَ من الشّرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، "دعوا الله يُصالحكم"، ولنسمح له بثقة أن يغفر لنا لأنَّ "اللهَ أَكبَرُ مِن قَلْبِنا"، هو ينتصر على الخطيئة ويرفعنا من بؤسنا. يكفي أن نعترف بحاجتنا إلى الرّحمة وهو سيقدّم لنا حياة جديدة وفرِحَة، ليبارككُم الربّ!

Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. W sposób szczególny witam wojskowych, którzy przybyli do Rzymu w jubileuszowej pielgrzymce. Moi drodzy, bądźcie nosicielami pojednania, budowniczymi mostów i siewcami pokoju. Serdeczne pozdrowienie kieruję również do licznie zgromadzonych tu seminarzystów: postępujcie na drodze wiary i otwórzcie wasze serca na miłosierdzie Pana. Wobec wyzwań każdego dnia niech jaśnieje wasze świadectwo o miłości Chrystusa najwyższego i wiecznego Kapłana i Pasterza. Wszystkim tu obecnym z serca błogosławię. Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus!

* * *

Rivolgo un cordiale saluto ai pellegrini di lingua italiana, in particolare i fedeli delle diocesi di Trieste, Ancona-Osimo, Teano-Calvi, Sorrento-Castellamare di Stabia, Teggiano-Policastro e Salerno-Campagna-Acerno, con i rispettivi Pastori. Cari fratelli e sorelle, proseguire con coraggio nel cammino di una convinta testimonianza cristiana nei luoghi dove la Provvidenza vi ha posto; fatevi soprattutto strumenti di misericordia e di accoglienza verso le persone più deboli.

Saluto i numerosi gruppi parrocchiali, le associazioni, specialmente il movimento mariano “Betania ecclesiale”, l’associazione “Le opere del Padre”, la Scuola “Figlie di San Francesco di Sales” di Città di Castello, con il loro Vescovo.

Saluto con affetto i giovani, i malati e gli sposi novelli: a ciascuno di voi giunga il mio incoraggiamento a seguire Cristo: vi affido tutti alla materna protezione della Vergine Maria."