Pope Francis has declared that the Universal Catholic Church
will observe a Jubilee Year of Mercy from December 8, 2015, to
November 20, 2016. The pope made the declaration in front of
the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica. The Holy Door is usually
bricked up, but is opened during a Jubilee year.
WHAT IS THE JUBILEE YEAR OF MERCY?
Jubilee years occur about every 25 years—the last occurred in 2000. These holy years
are filled with special celebrations and pilgrimages, strong calls for conversion and
repentance, and the opportunity to experience God’s grace through the sacraments,
WHERE IN SCRIPTURE DO WE LEARN ABOUT MERCY?
Jesus’ message of mercy shines all through the Gospels, challenging society and the law
to see the divine justice present in mercy. His greatest parables tell of an ungrateful
steward forgiven of his debts, who tragically fails to show the same forgiveness to
his debtors (Matthew 18:21–35); of a wasteful son who carelessly spends his father’s
inheritance, only to be embraced by his father when he penitently returns home (Luke
15:11–32). In his ministry, the Lord reached out to the hated tax collector (Luke 19:1–10)
and rescued the accused adulteress (John 8:2–11), reconciling them with society and
with God—and with themselves. This is our calling.