Pope Francis has proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church. We want to live this Jubilee Year in light of the Lord’s words: Merciful like the Father … dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy which the Father constantly extends to all of us. The Holy Year of Mercy fall within the sacred observances which began with the Mosaic law. The jubilee, the Lord stresses, “shall be sacred for you. You may only eat what the field yields of itself,” (Lv. 25:11-12). Beyond matters of farming and property, though, lies the real heart of the jubilee: “Do not deal unfairly with one another,” says the Lord, “but stand in fear of your God. I, the Lord, am your God.”
In a holy year, the Bible says, land shall be restored to its original owners, debt forgiven, slaves liberated and family members cared for.
The bottom line: We are called to treat one another with fairness, kindness and mercy.
Centuries after Moses, the prophet Isaiah addresses the holy year, proclaiming that the Lord “has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, release to the prisoners; to announce a year of favor from the Lord and a day of vindication by our God; to comfort all who mourn (Is.61:1-2).
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in the New Testament when Jesus, reading the prophet’s words in the synagogue at Nazareth, proclaims “a year acceptable to the Lord” (Lk 4:19).
In proclaiming the year 2016 (beginning Dec. 8, 2015, with the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception) as a Holy Year of Mercy, Pope Francis reminds us that a holy year offers us the opportunity “to be touched by the Lord Jesus and to be transformed by his mercy, so that we may become witnesses to mercy – because this is the time of mercy.”
(CNS, 2015 by Mike Nelson)