On December 8, the Holy Father Francis has solemnly opened the Jubilee. In the homily the Pope has illustrated the profound meaning of the Holy Year just begun:
This Extraordinary Year is itself a gift of grace. To pass through the Holy Door means to rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them. It is he who seeks us! It is he who comes to encounter us! This will be a year in which we grow ever more convinced of God’s mercy. How much wrong we do to God and his grace when we speak of sins being punished by his judgment before we speak of their being forgiven by his mercy (cf. Saint Augustine, De Praedestinatione Sanctorum, 12, 24)! But that is the truth. We have to put mercy before judgment, and in any event God’s judgement will always be in the light of his mercy. In passing through the Holy Door, then, may we feel that we ourselves are part of this mystery of love, of tenderness. Let us set aside all fear and dread, for these do not befit men and women who are loved. Instead, let us experience the joy of encountering that grace which transforms all things.
“Welcoming” is the key word that should characterize this extraordinary time began the December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. First of all, God welcomes everyone. Also ancient jews were welcomed by God who released them from slavery in Egypt, without the jews deserved this (cf. Deut 7); God also welcomes sinners (Luke 15): something that happens even today, whenever we experience his love and his forgiveness.
God welcomes everyone, because it is merciful, that is “full of love and tenderness” (cf. Ex 34:6; Dt 4:31; 2 Cor 1:3). Mercy has to be the flag ahead of us, when we meet other people. So we have to quit to judge and condemn others, preferring instead the forgiveness that God offers to all. God, in fact, IS love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8). The Pope says that we do wrong to God when we place judgment and sin before welcoming and grace! And even if one day God will judge us, his judgment will be that of a loving and merciful Father.
It follows that we must also take part of this mystery of love and tenderness. How many times the Pope said that we must love and be tender! Precisely because we are loved, then we must love ourselves with all our frailties and contradictions. We must forgive ourselves, welcoming our deep identity, without judgment and without censorship. This is the attitude for an authentic evolution and maturation. If we are “soft” with ourselves, if we “love” oruselves, then we will be able also to be “tender and loving” with other people. If not, every human’s dignity promotion and even the evangelization itself will fail.
Therefore, at the beginning of this Holy Year, let’s discover the face of the tender and merciful Father, let’s love him as we are. Only in this way, the sacrament of Confession will bear fruit, because you’ll offer your true humanity through the hands of the Church. In this way, at the end of the Jubilee we have would laid a milestone in the journey of our human and Christian maturity.