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The Signs of the Jubilee

Catechesis by Pope Francis
General Audience, Wednesday 16 December 2015, St Peter's Square - in Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
On Sunday the Holy Door was opened in the Cathedral of Rome, the Basilica of St John Lateran, and a Door of Mercy was opened in the Cathedral of every diocese of the world, and also in shrines and churches indicated by bishops. The Jubilee is throughout the world, not only in Rome. I wanted this sign of the Holy Door to be present in every particular Church, so that the Jubilee of Mercy could be an experience shared by each person. The Holy Year, therefore, has begun in the entire Church and is being celebrated in every diocese as in Rome. Also, the first Holy Door was opened in the very heart of Africa. Rome, of course, is the visible sign of universal communion. May this ecclesial communion become ever more intense, so that the Church may be the living sign of the Father’s love and mercy in the world.

The date 8 December was also meant to highlight this need, by linking, separated by 50 years, the beginning of the Jubilee with the conclusion of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. In fact, the Council contemplated and introduced the Church to the light of the mystery of communion. Scattered throughout the world and articulated in many particular Churches, however, it is always and only the one Church of Jesus Christ, the one that he wanted and for which he offered himself. The “one” Church that lives of the very communion of God.

This mystery of communion, which makes the Church a sign of the Father’s love, grows and matures in our heart, when the love, which we recognize in the Cross of Christ and in which we immerse ourselves, enables us to love as we are loved by Him. It is an unending Love, which has the face of forgiveness and mercy.

However, mercy and forgiveness must not remain as pleasant words, but must be made manifest in daily life. Loving and forgiving are tangible and visible signs that faith has transformed our hearts and allow us to express God’s very life in ourselves. Loving and forgiving as God loves and forgives. This is a programme of life that can know no interruptions or exceptions, but it pushes us always to go farther without ever tiring, with the certainty of being sustained by the paternal presence of God.

This great sign of Christian life is then transformed into many other signs that are characteristic of the Jubilee. I think of those who will pass through one of the Holy Doors, which this year are the true Doors of Mercy. The Door points to Jesus himself, who said: “I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (Jn 10:9). Passing through the Holy Door is the sign of our trust in the Lord Jesus who came not to judge but to save (cf. Jn 12:47). Be careful that no one rather swift or too shrewd tells you that you have to pay: no! Salvation is not paid for. Salvation is not bought. The Door is Jesus, and Jesus is gratis! He himself speaks about those who do not enter as they should, and he simply says that they are thieves and robbers. Again, be mindful: salvation is free. Passing through the Holy Door is a sign of the true conversion of our heart. When we pass through that Door it is good to remember that we must also keep the door of our heart wide open. I am before the Holy Door and I ask: “Lord, help me to thrust open the door of my heart!”. The Holy Year will not be very effective if the door of our heart does not allow the passage of Christ who urges us to go toward others, in order to bring him and his love. Thus, as the Holy Door stays open, because it is the sign of the welcome that God himself holds for us, may our door, that of the heart, also be always wide open so as to exclude no one. Not even he or she who bothers me: no one.

Another important sign of the Jubilee is confession. Approaching the Sacrament by which we reconcile ourselves with God is equal to directly experiencing his mercy. It is finding the Father who forgives: God forgives everything. God understands us even in our limitations, and he even understands us in our contradictions. Not only this, but He tells us with his love that precisely when we recognize our sins he is even closer and he spurs us to look forward. He says even more: that when we recognize our sins and we ask for forgiveness, there is a celebration in Heaven. Jesus celebrates: this is his mercy: let us not be discouraged. Onward, forward with this!

How often have I heard: “Father, I can’t forgive my neighbour, a coworker, the lady next door, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law”. We have all heard this: “I can’t forgive”. But how can we ask God to forgive us, if we are unable to forgive? Forgiving is something great, yet forgiving is not easy, because our heart is poor and with its efforts alone we cannot do it. However, if we open ourselves up to welcome God’s mercy for ourselves, in turn we become capable of forgiveness. So often I have heard: “I couldn’t see that person: I hated her. But one day, I drew close to the Lord and I asked him to forgive my sins, and I forgave that person too”. These are everyday matters. And this opportunity is close to us.

Therefore, take courage! Let us live out the Jubilee by beginning with these signs that carry the great power of love. The Lord will accompany us in order to lead us to experience other important signs for our life. Take courage and step forward!"


"Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les personnes venues de Nouvelle Calédonie. Alors que Noël se fait proche, je vous confie à l’intercession de la Mère de Jésus et je vous invite, en recevant le sacrement de réconciliation, à préparer votre cœur pour recevoir le Seigneur dans votre vie.
Que Dieu vous bénisse.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including those from England, Ukraine, Indonesia and the United States of America. With prayerful good wishes that the present Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment profound spiritual renewal, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you all!

Herzlich grüße ich die Pilger aus den Ländern deutscher Sprache und insbesondere die Delegation aus Oberösterreich, die uns das Friedenslicht von Betlehem gebracht hat. Wir wollen uns auf das Weihnachtsfest vorbereiten, indem wir die Tür unseres Herzens weit öffnen, um niemanden auszuschließen. Der Herr segne euch und eure Familien.

Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los venidos de España y Latinoamérica. Veo que hay muchos mexicanos por ahí. Hermanos y hermanas, les animo a abrir la puerta del corazón para dejar entrar a Cristo y ser portadores de su misericordia. Les deseo también una buena preparación para una santa celebración de la Navidad. Muchas gracias.

أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربيّة، وخاصّةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، لنسمح ليسوع بعبور باب قلبنا فيدفعنا للذهاب نحو الآخرين لنحمل لهم محبّة الآب ورحمته. ليبارككُم الربّ!

Witam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. Bracia i siostry, ile razy słyszałem, jak do mnie mówiono: „Ojcze, nie potrafię wybaczyć”. Tak, czasem przebaczenie nie jest łatwe. Dlatego w dniach Jubileuszu Miłosierdzia, przechodząc przez Drzwi Święte, prosząc Boga w sakramencie pojednania o miłosierdzie i odpuszczenie nam grzechów, prośmy Go także o łaskę przebaczania innym i umiejętność pojednania z braćmi. Z serca wam błogosławię.

Prisrčno pozdravljam romarje iz Slovenije. Celotni Cerkvi v Sloveniji prenesite mojo hvaležnost za njeno prizadevanje v dobrobit družine. Želim opogumiti vse Slovence, še posebno tiste, ki imajo javno odgovornost, da ohranite družino kot osnovno celico družbe.

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Nel clima gioioso di vigilante attesa del Natale di Gesù, Volto della misericordia del Padre, mi è gradito salutare con affetto i fedeli di lingua italiana. Sono lieto di accogliere i sacerdoti novelli dei Legionari di Cristo con i familiari; la Comunità di Villa San Francesco; l’Associazione “Integra” e i militari del Centro di Addestramento di Aviazione e del Comando delle Forze di Difesa. Tutti esorto in questi giorni a intensificare la preghiera e le opere di bene, affinché l’incontro con il mistero dell’Incarnazione del Figlio di Dio riempia i cuori di quella gioia, che solo Lui sa donare.

Un saluto speciale rivolgo ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli. Affidiamoci a Maria, maestra di fede e modello di obbedienza al Signore. Cari giovani, sappiate vivere il Natale con la stessa fede con cui Maria ha accolto l’annunzio dell’Arcangelo Gabriele. Cari ammalati, chiedete a Lei di ottenere quell'intima pace che Gesù ha portato al mondo. Cari sposi novelli, imitate l’esempio della Madre di Gesù con la preghiera e le virtù."