Monday, 22 February 2016

Jubilee Year of Mercy

“‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields.
“‘In this Year of Jubilee everyone is to return to their own property.'"

Leviticus 25:8-13King James Version (KJV) 

Every 50 or 25 years the Pope proclaims a 'Jubilee Year'. In the year 2000 St John Paul II (Pope at the time) announced the 'Great Jubilee Year', 16 years later Pope Francis announced an 'Extraordinary Jubilee Year' which has 'Mercy' as its focus. It started on the 8th of December 2015 on the occasion of the feast of the Immaculate Conception and will conclude on the feast of Christ the King, Sunday 20th November 2016.

What is the point of a Jubilee year?

Just like the Israelites needed to be freed from slavery in order to be able to worship the Lord openly (Let us go and do sacrifice to the Lord. Exodus 5:17), freely and adequately, during this special year the Church gives us the possibility to be completely cleansed and freed from the slavery of sin, to come out of whatever situation we have been in till now and to change direction back towards God.

What happens during a Jubilee year?

To help us in this journey our Mother the Church offers many events and activities. She showers us with gifts and helps us with signs and symbols to renew, discover or rediscover our faith and the way to the Father.

  • The Holy Door.

The opening of the Holy Door symbolises the opening to the fulness of God's immense love. Jesus said, “I am the door” (John 10:7), bringing to fruition the words of the Psalmist, who said, “This is the door of the Lord where the just may enter” (see Psalm 118:20). In the words of Pope Francis, “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."
Find out where your nearest "Jubilee Church" is. Official "doors of mercy" for the Holy Year are only those specified by the Church.

    • Pilgrimages. It is customary for us, the people of God, to undertake Pilgrimages throughout our journey of faith as a concrete act of devotion in search of God's endless Mercy. Undertaking pilgrimages during this year is particularly encouraged. Some of us will travel to Rome to enter the door of Mercy there. Not many, though, will have the blessing to get to the 'Eternal City', but we will all have the possibility of travellig to our local Cathedral where we will be able to have the full experience and rejoice in the gifts that await for us.

    What is an indulgence and how can you get one?

    Indulgences are a controversial aspect of Catholic life and one that especially in Protestant countries tends to be spoken about as little as possible, but are a great proof of the generosity of God. An indulgence in technical language is the remission of the temporal punishment due to sin... What does that mean in practice? When we confess our sins we receive forgiveness and the remission of the eternal punishment due to sin (i.e. hell) while the temporal punishment (the one we receive on earth or in purgatory) still needs to be undergone. So here is an example that can explain the difference between the two. A few years ago our son kicked a ball through our neighbour's Edwardian stained glass window. Our neighbour forgave him for the offence caused (the eternal punishment) but the window still had to be paid for (the temporal punishment). When we gain an indulgence it is as though the neighbour had forgiven our son for the offence and also replaced the window himself. So why would God forgive our sins and remit the temporal punishment too?
    Deus Caritas est... God is love. And He has left it to the Church to administer that love and mercy through the ministry of binding and loosing (more on that another time).

    In times past our Christian forefathers went on great pilgrimages and crusades at huge personal cost to gain an indulgence because where you ended up after death really mattered. It still matters now. The Church has decided that whoever fulfils four simple conditions can receive the graces of the indulgence and apply them to themselves or to a soul in purgatory...

    1. Pass through the Holy Door of Mercy
    2. Go to confession
    3. Go to Mass
    4. Pray for the intentions of the Pope

                                           So do it!

    No comments:

    Post a Comment