JUBILEE AUDIENCE: On Inclusion

‘This aspect of mercy, inclusion, is manifested in opening one’s arms wide to receive without excluding, without classifying others on the basis of their social condition, language, race, culture or religion: before us there is only a person to be loved as God loves him.’

Pope at Audience

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Below is a ZENIT working translation of Pope Francis’ address during his Jubilee Audience that was held Saturday morning in Saint Peter’s Square, a meeting that Francis decided to hold for pilgrims and faithful coming to Rome for the Jubilee of Mercy. This marked the last Jubilee audience of the Holy Year.

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THE HOLY FATHER’S CATECHESIS

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning! In this last Saturday Jubilee Audience, I would like to present an important aspect of mercy: inclusion. In His plan of love God, in fact, does not want to exclude anyone, but wants to include all. For instance, through Baptism He makes us His children in Christ, members of His Body, which is the Church. And we Christians are invited to use the same criterion: mercy is that way of acting, that style with which we seek to include others in our life, avoiding withdrawing into ourselves and our egoistic securities.

In the passage of Matthew’s Gospel that we just heard, Jesus expressed a truly universal invitation: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,* and I will give you rest.”(11:28). No one is excluded from that appeal, because Jesus’ mission is to reveal to every person the Father’s love. It is for us to open our heart, to trust Jesus and to receive this message of love, which makes us enter the mystery of salvation.

This aspect of mercy, inclusion, is manifested in opening one’s arms wide to receive without excluding, without classifying others on the basis of their social condition, language, race, culture or religion: before us there is only a person to be loved as God loves him.

How many tired and oppressed persons we meet also today! — on the street, in public offices, in medical surgeries. Jesus’ gaze rests on each one of those faces, also through our eyes. And how is our heart? Is it merciful? And is our way of acting inclusive? The Gospel calls us to recognize in humanity’s history the plan of a great work of inclusion, which, respecting fully every person’s, community’s and peoples’ freedom, calls all to form a family of brothers and sisters, in justice, in solidarity and in peace, and to be part of the Church, which is the Body of Christ.

How true are Jesus’ words who invites all those who are tired, exhausted to go to Him to find rest! His wide-open arms on the cross demonstrate that no one is excluded from His love and from His mercy. The most immediate expression with which we feel received and inserted in Him is His forgiveness. We are all in need of being forgiven by God. And we are all in need of encountering brothers and sisters who help us to go to Jesus, to open ourselves to the gift He gave us on the cross. Let us not be obstacles to one another! Let us not exclude anyone! Rather, with humility and simplicity let us make ourselves instruments of the Father’s inclusive mercy. The Holy Mother Church continues the great embrace of Christ dead and Risen in the world. With its colonnade, this Square also expresses this embrace. Let us allow ourselves to be involved in this movement of inclusion of others, to be witnesses of the mercy with which God has received and receives each one of us.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

In Italian 

A warm welcome goes to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. I am happy to receive the faithful of the Shalom Movement, with the Bishop of San Miniato; the Catholic Union of Middle School Teachers of Puglia; the Federation of Italian Farmers; Anas’ dependents; the Federation of Veterinaries and the Confederation of Free Professions, which is observing the 50th <anniversary> of its foundation.

Dear brothers and sisters, live this last Jubilee Audience with faith to experience in your life the forgiveness, the mercy and the love of God.

With special affection I greet you, volunteers of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, from different Nations, and I thank you for your precious service so that pilgrims could live well this experience of faith. In the course of these months, I have noted your discreet presence in the Square with the Jubilee logo and I admire the dedication, the patience and the enthusiasm with which you carried out your work.

A special greeting goes to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Yesterday we remembered Saint Martin of Tours, Patron of beggars, the 17th centenary of whose birth occurs this year. May his example arouse in you, dear young people, especially you students of Erasmus of Europe, the desire to engage in gestures of concrete solidarity; may his trust in Christ the Lord sustain you, dear sick, in the trials of sickness; and may his moral rectitude remind you, dear newlyweds, of the importance of values in the education of children.

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

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