JUBILEE AUDIENCE: On Conversion

‘When Jesus calls to conversion He does not erect Himself as a judge of persons, but does so beginning by closeness, by sharing the human condition; hence, of the street, of the home, of the table … Mercy towards all those in need of changing their life happened with His kind presence, to involve each one in His history of salvation.’

@Servizio Fotografico - L'Osservatore Romano

The seventh Jubilee Audience was held at 10 o’clock Saturday morning in Saint Peter’s Square, a meeting that Pope Francis decided to hold for pilgrims and faithful coming to Rome for the Jubilee of Mercy.

The Pope focused his meditation in Italian on conversion (Luke 24:45-48).

After summarizing his catechesis in several languages, the Holy Father expressed special greetings to groups of faithful present. The Jubilee Audience ended with the singing of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.

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THE HOLY FATHER’S CATECHESIS

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

After His Resurrection, Jesus appeared several times to His disciples before ascending to the glory of the Father. The passage of the Gospel we just heard (Luke 24:45-48) talks about one of these apparitions, in which the Lord points out the fundamental content of the preaching that the Apostle must offer to the world. We can summarize it with two words: “conversion” and “forgiveness of sins.” They are two qualifying aspects of the mercy of God who, takes care of us with love. Today we take conversion into consideration.

What is conversion? It is present in the whole Bible, and, in a particular way, in the preaching of the prophets, who continually invite the people to “return to the Lord, asking Him for forgiveness and for a change in their style of life. According to the prophets, to be converted means to change one’s direction and turn again to the Lord, basing oneself on the certainty that He loves us and that His love is always faithful — to turn to the Lord.

Jesus made conversion the first word of his preaching: “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). It is with this proclamation that He presents Himself to the people, asking them to receive His word as the last and definitive one that the Father addresses to humanity (cf. Mark 12:1-11). In regard to the preaching of the prophets, Jesus insists again more on the interior dimension of conversion. In it, in fact, the whole person is involved, heart and mind, to become a new creature, a new person. The heart changes and one is renewed.

When Jesus calls to conversion He does not erect Himself as a judge of persons, but does so beginning by closeness, by sharing the human condition; hence, of the street, of the home, of the table … Mercy towards all those in need of changing their life happened with His kind presence, to involve each one in His history of salvation. Jesus persuaded people with kindness, with love, and with His behavior Jesus touched the depth of people’s heart and they felt attracted by God’s love and spurred to change their life. For instance, the conversion of Matthew (cf. Matthew 9:9-13) and of Zaccheus (cf. Luke 19:1-10) happened precisely in this way, because they felt themselves loved by Jesus and, through Him, by the Father. True conversion happens when we receive the gift of grace; and a clear sign of its authenticity is that we are aware of the needs of brothers and are ready to go to encounter them.

Dear brothers and sisters, how many times we also feel the need of a change that involves our whole person! How many times we say to ourselves: “I must change, I can’t continue this way … My life, on this path, won’t bear fruit; it will be a futile life and I won’t be happy.’ How many times these thoughts come to us, how many times! … And Jesus, by our side, with His hand extended says to us: “Come, come to Me. I’ll do the work: I will change your heart; I will change your life: “I will make you happy.” But do we believe this or not? Do we believe or not? What do you think: do you believe this or not? Less applause and more voices: do you or don’t you believe? [the people: “Yes!”] “It’s like this. Jesus who is with us invites us to change our life. It is He, with the Holy Spirit, who sows this anxiety in us to change our life and to be somewhat better. Therefore, let us follow this invitation of the Lord and not put resistances, because only by opening to His mercy do we find true life and true joy. We only have to open the door wide, and He does all the rest. He does all, but we have to open wide our heart so that He can heal us and make us go forward. I assure you that we will be happier. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

Greeting in Italian

A warm greeting to the Italian-speaking pilgrims!

I am happy to receive the volunteers of the Cottolengo of Turin and the Bakers of the Confesercenti <Confederation of the Workers from the Commercial and Tourist Sector> Association, and I thank them for the bread distributed to pilgrims that have come for the Jubilee in the course of this week. Thank you! To give bread, to break bread is one of the loveliest things of life. Thank you!

I greet the faithful of Florence, with Cardinal Betori, and of several Italian dioceses, accompanied by their respective Pastors: Altamura-Gravina-Acquaviva delle Fonti, Belluno-Feltre, Lamezia Terme, Oria and Sora-Cassino-Aquino-Pontecorvo. I hope that the Jubilee Pilgrimage and the crossing of the Holy Door nourishes your faith, renews your hope and renders your charity fruitful.

I greet “The City of Boys” group on the 70th anniversary of its foundation; the “Vulture” battalion of Nocera Inferiore; the command of the Fire Brigade with the Bishop of Viterbo; as well as the members of the Cyclist Federation and the Committee for the Jubilee of Marino.

A special greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Next Saturday, the Memorial of Saint William Abbot will be celebrated. Dear young people, may his evangelical radicalism spur you to make courageous choices for good; dear sick, may his meekness support you in carrying the cross in spiritual union with Christ’ heart; dear newlyweds, may his bond with Christ the Savior help you to unite your family with love. Thank you.

[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT]

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