Extraordinary Jubilee Year Means Mercy

Rev. Frank Pavone Extraordinary Jubilee Year Means Mercy

It is time for the doors of mercy to open even wider for the People of God. Jesus Christ himself is the mercy of God. To believe in him is to believe in mercy, to witness to him is to witness to mercy. And the Church wants us to become experts in this.

That is why Pope Francis has declared an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, to be observed from Dec. 8, 2015 through Nov. 20, 2016.

On April 11, the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, the Pope issued the document explaining the purpose and vision of this special Holy Year. It intersects perfectly with our commitment to rescue children from the violence of abortion.

Pope Francis points out that mercy is seen in God’s actions, and must be seen in ours. He points out that Psalm 146 “attests to the concrete signs of his mercy: ‘He secures justice for the oppressed; he gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.’… In short, the mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality through which he reveals his love as that of a father or a mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child” (n.6).

Later in the document, naturally, the Pope points out how this is fulfilled in Jesus’ own description of his ministry as one that will “proclaim liberty to the captives”.

If we are to live out mercy, therefore, the Pope explains that we are to “look forward to the experience of opening our hearts to those living on the outermost fringes of society: fringes modern society itself creates. How many uncertain and painful situations there are in the world today! How many are the wounds borne by the flesh of those who have no voice because their cry is muffled and drowned out … Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help!” (n. 15)

As he had pointed out in Evangelii Gaudium, the most defenseless of all are unborn children. Certainly they live in “fringes modern society itself creates” by its false and destructive declaration that they are not persons, that they do not deserve the protection of the law.

Living mercy means seeing their misery and speaking up for them. Death is a result of sin. Mercy not only forgives our sin, it rescues us from death. The Holy Year, the Pope writes, is “to proclaim liberty to those bound by new forms of slavery in modern society…to restore dignity to all those from whom it has been robbed” (n. 16). Let us practice mercy for the children in the womb, speaking up for them and rescuing them from death!

Father Pavone is national director of Priests for Life

Extraordinary Jubilee Year Means Mercy

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