‘Be merciful just as your father is merciful.’ Lk: 6:36
On December 8, the Holy Father Pope Francis formally opened the Holy Door at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
This door is usually sealed up and is only opened during special jubilee years, usually every 25 years.
This year, the opening of the Holy Door takes on greater significance as the Holy Father has asked every Cathedral to have a Holy Door as well as having other Sanctuaries of mercy.
He has done this to enable more people to pass through a Holy Door without having to make a trip to Rome. Here in Falkirk we are very fortunate that St Francis Xavier’s has been a designated as one of eight sanctuaries of mercy in the Archdiocese, and we have our own Holy Door.
The idea of a Holy Door is that those who pass through it receive special graces and grow in their relationship with God and others.
Pope Francis has called 2016 an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, in other words during this year he wants us to experience God’s love and mercy in our lives and to “be merciful just as your father is merciful.” Lk: 6:36.
What does this mean? How can we be merciful like our heavenly father? For me, mercy is about more than forgiveness it is about showing genuine love and concern for our neighbour. This love and concern can be practical, such as feeding the hungry, and visiting the sick, it can also be spiritual such as praying for those in need. We are given many opportunities every day to be merciful. Let us ask the Lord to open our hearts and our minds so that we may be instruments of God’s love and mercy to those around us.