Thought for the weekend: An open door to God
The Holy Year of Mercy, inaugurated by Pope Francis on December 8 in Rome, is a "year of favour" (Luke 4:19) from the Lord, during which, in new and deeper ways, Catholics and other Christians are invited to receive God's Mercy and become more "merciful like the Father" (Luke 6:36).
In every Catholic diocese, designated churches have opened Holy Doors, as symbols of God welcoming us, anew, into His infinitely tender embrace. In Belfast, the Holy Door is located in St Patrick's Church, which celebrates its bicentenary this year and Clonard Monastery - an especially beloved church in our city - which has a particular ministry of ecumenical friendship.
The Holy Door is a symbol of Christ Himself, who says: "I am the Door. If anyone enters in through me they will be saved" (John 10:9).
Jesus is the doorway to the Father's infinitely merciful heart.
Through Jesus, we are brought into immediate face to face, heart to heart, contact with our Father, whose loving and compassionate mercy is eternal (Ps 103:17).
The logo chosen by the Church for the jubilee, shows Christ, the Good Samaritan, carrying an injured and broken victim. The eyes of the sinful and wounded human being and the eyes of Christ are fused into one gaze, to represent the Father seeing our human plight, through the eyes of His Son.
In Jesus, we see what no eye has ever seen before and we hear, from Jesus' lips, what many holy ones longed to hear (Luke 10:23).
We encounter, in Jesus of Nazareth, the Father's unconditional welcome and joy, at the return of His lost child, so beautifully described in Our Lord's parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32).
In the Gospel passage which is proclaimed on the fourth Sunday of Advent, St John the Baptist leaps for joy in his mother's womb, at the voice of God's Mother.
As an unborn infant, John knows that the Day of Mercy has dawned forever, on account of the child growing in Mary's womb (Luke 1:41).
Blessed are we too, along with Mary Most Holy, for believing in God's promises fulfilled and His mercy which reaches, from generation to generation, those who fear Him.
Forever, let us sing of the Lord's Mercy - the true meaning of Christmas (Ps 89:1).