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Saint Anne Shrine
February Jubilee Audience - Saturday, February 20, 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
The Jubilee of Mercy is a true opportunity to enter in depth in the mystery of the goodness and love of God. In this season of Lent, the Church invites us to know the Lord Jesus ever better, and to live the faith coherently, with a style of life that expresses the Father’s mercy. It is a commitment that we are called to assume to offer all those we meet a concrete sign of God’s closeness. My life, my attitude, my way of living life must be, in fact, a concrete sign of the fact that God is close to us. Little gestures of love, of tenderness, of care, which make us think that the Lord is with us, that He is close to us, and thus the door of mercy is opened.
Today, I would like to pause briefly to reflect with you on the subject of the word I have mentioned: the subject of commitment. What is a commitment? What does it mean to be committed? When I am committed, it means that I assume a responsibility — a task towards someone, and it also means the style, the attitude of fidelity and dedication, of the particular care with which I carry out this task. Every day we are asked to put commitment in the things we do: in prayer, in work, in study, but also in sport, in free time. In sum, to be committed means to put our good will and our strengths to improve life.
And God is also committed to us. His first commitment was to create the world and, despite our attempts to ruin it — and there are so many –, He is committed to maintaining it alive. However, His greatest commitment was to give us Jesus. This is God’s great commitment! Yes, Jesus is in fact the extreme commitment that God assumed in his dealings with us. Saint Paul reminds us of it when he writes that God “did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all” (Romans 8:32). And, in virtue of this, together with Jesus the Father will give us everything we need.
And how was this commitment of God to us manifested? It is very simple to verify it in the Gospel. God committed Himself completely in Jesus to restore hope to the poor, to all who were deprived of dignity, to strangers, to the sick, to prisoners, and to sinners whom He received with kindness. In all this, Jesus was the living expression of the Father’s mercy. And I want to stress this: Jesus received sinners with kindness. If we think in a human way, the sinner would be an enemy of Jesus, an enemy of God, but He drew close to them with kindness, He loved them and changed their heart. We are all sinners: all! All of us have some fault before God, but we must not have mistrust: He comes close to us to give us comfort, mercy and forgiveness. This is God’s commitment and for this He sent Jesus: to come close to us, to all of us and to open the door of His love, of His heart, of His mercy. And this is very beautiful, very beautiful!
Beginning with the merciful love with which Jesus expressed God’s commitment, we also can and must correspond to His love with our commitment. And this above all in situations of greatest need, where there is more thirst for hope. I am thinking, for instance, of our commitment to abandoned persons, to all those who bear heavy handicaps, to the most seriously ill, to the dying, to all those who are unable to express gratitude. We take God’s mercy in all these realities through a commitment of life, which is a testimony of our faith in Christ. We must always bring God’s caress, because God has caressed us with His mercy – we must bring it to others, to those who are in need, to those who have a suffering in the heart or are sad: we must come close with God’s caress, which is the same as that which He gave us.
May this Jubilee be able to help our mind and our heart to touch with our hand God’s commitment to each of us, and thanks to this to transform our life into a commitment of mercy for all.