Key concepts for the Jubilee Year of Mercy
Catholic faithful all over the world have reason to rejoice in Pope Francis’ announcement of a special Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will underline and celebrate aspects of our faith that merit greater awareness, deeper understanding and more thorough integration in our lives.
Over the next several issues, the Clarion Herald will offer brief explanations of key concepts – related in various ways to the central theme of mercy – that will be woven into articles, homilies, catechetical presentations and liturgical celebrations in churches and dioceses throughout the world.
The information has been provided by the Office of Evangelization. For more information, go to nolacatholic.org/year-of-mercy.
Mercy is God’s uncondi- tional, loving care for humanity reflected throughout all of history in God’s desire to be close to all people – to be in an intimate, loving relationship with us. As Pope Francis explains in his announcement of this special Jubilee Year, mercy is “the bridge that connects God and humanity, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.” So, while mercy first of all comes from God, for it is central to who God is, mercy likewise is something that God invites us to show to others in order to truly live as children of God. (Reflection: Luke 15)
In the Hebrew Scriptures, a jubilee is every 50th year during which the land remains uncultivated, debts and mortgages are forgiven, and slaves are set free. This tradition takes root in our own belief that all that we have comes from God and is a gift from God: life, land and possessions. The Catholic Church has a very long history of designating a Holy Year, in the spirit of jubilee, whereby the Church seeks to live out and call all people to right relationship with God and one another. In this Holy Year, we recommit ourselves to jubilee by extending and receiving forgiveness, mercy, and justice.
(Reflection: Lev 25:8-22)