In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has called upon the Church to be a witness of God’s mercy to the world. Mercy is kindness that isn’t deserved. It’s forgiveness unearned. That’s what God’s love is all about. While on the cross, Jesus asked the Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34) If you read the Gospels, this kind of mercy is rampant in Jesus’ personal encounters. Jesus recklessly, extravagantly lavished mercy on people who everybody else had either hated or just written off.
Across the world, parishes have been participating in the dedication of Mercy Doors decorated with symbols of God’s invitation of love to all people. It is a Jubilee tradition to cross thresholds and to return home (Leviticus 25). God’s mercy invites all who have been away—physically and spiritually—from God to come home again and experience the forgiveness and reconciliation of Christ. Our churches are meant to be the homes that children of God can return to, to be welcomed, loved and accepted. They are meant to be a threshold that people who have felt estranged from a sense of community to find the embrace of God.