At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. For this reason I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.
The Holy Year will open on 8 December 2015, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This liturgical feast day recalls God’s action from the very beginning of the history of mankind. After the sin of Adam and Eve, God did not wish to leave humanity alone in the throes of evil. And so he turned his gaze to Mary, holy and immaculate in love (cf. Eph 1:4), choosing her to be the Mother of man’s Redeemer. When faced with the gravity of sin, God responds with the fullness of mercy. Mercy will always be greater than any sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is ever ready to forgive. I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.
Mercy begins inside each one of us. Mercy is the Christian attitude toward life. One of the Church fathers said that love is an exchange of gifts. This is true. We have been forgiven by God and in exchange we forgive others. The love he has shown to us — the mercy that he shows us day in and day out — is the mercy that we must show to others.
In this Year of Mercy, all of us need to practice forgiveness — beginning in our own hearts. And we need to encourage understanding and foster reconciliation in all our relationships. This is the foundation for happiness in our lives and the foundation for a new society in which we can live as brothers and sisters.
So let us make mercy our “project” as a Church in this jubilee year to come. Mercy is our mission as Christians. Let us try — in all our ministries and in every area of our lives — to walk with our brothers and sisters, to make the merciful presence of God known in our world.
Archbishop José Gomez