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JUBILEE AUDIENCE: On Redemption

‘How many illusions are sold under the pretext of freedom and how many new slaves are created in our days in the name of a false liberty! – so many, many slaves: “I do this because I want to; I take drugs because I like to, I’m free, I do this other …” They are slaves! They become slaves in the name of freedom.’

Below is a ZENIT 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.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

The passage we heard speaks to us of God’s mercy, which is acted in the Redemption, namely in the salvation that was given to us with the blood of His Son Jesus (Cf. 1 Peter 1:18-21). The word “redemption” is little used, yet it is fundamental because it indicates the most radical liberation that God could carry out for us, for all of humanity and for the whole of Creation. It seems that the man of today no longer likes to think of being liberated and saved by God’s intervention. In fact, the man of today deceives himself about his freedom as strength to obtain everything. He even boasts about this, but in reality it is not so. How many illusions are sold under the pretext of freedom and how many new slaves are created in our days in the name of a false liberty! – so many, many slaves: “I do this because I want to; I take drugs because I like to, I’m free, I do this other …” They are slaves! They become slaves in the name of freedom. We have all seen people of this sort that end up on the ground. We are in need of God freeing us from every sort of indifference, egoism and self-sufficiency.

The Apostle Peter’s words express very well the meaning of the new state of life to which we are called. Becoming one of us, not only does the Lord Jesus assume our human condition but He raises us to the possibility of being children of God. With His Death and Resurrection Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb, conquered death and sin to free us from their dominion. He is the Lamb that was sacrificed for us, so that we could receive a new life made up of forgiveness, love and joy. These three words are beautiful: forgiveness, love and joy. Everything He assumed was also redeemed, freed and saved. It is certainly true that life tries us and sometimes we suffer because of this. However, in these moments we are invited to direct our gaze to Jesus crucified, who suffers for us and with us, as sure proof that God does not abandon us. Therefore, let us never forget that in anguishes and persecutions, as well as daily sorrows, we are always liberated by God’s merciful hand, who raises us to Himself and leads us to a new life.

God’s love is unbounded: we can always discover new signs that indicate His care in our difficulties and especially His will to gather us and precede us.

The whole of our life, though marked by the frailty of sin, is under God’s gaze who loves us. How many pages of Sacred Scripture speak to us of God’s presence, closeness and tenderness for every man, especially for the little ones, the poor and the afflicted! God has great tenderness, a great love for the little ones, for the weakest, for the rejected by society. The more we are in need the more His gaze on us is filled with mercy. He feels a merciful compassion in our regard because He knows our weaknesses. He knows our sins and He forgives us — He always forgives! He is so good; our Father is so good.

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, let us open ourselves to Him, let us receive His grace! Because, as the Psalm says, “Let Israel hope in the LORD, For with the LORD is mercy, with Him is plenteous redemption,” (130:7).

[Original Text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]

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