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Pope reflects on Old Testament jubilee year

February 10, 2016

Continuing his Wednesday reflections on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his Ash Wednesday general audience to the jubilee in the Old Testament.

“We learn from Scripture that the Jubilee Year is an ancient institution: a heightened moment of religious and social life for the people of Israel, who are instructed by God in the Book of Leviticus, for the jubilee year, to cancel debts and release slaves,” he said to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, in the words of the official English-language synthesis of his remarks.

“A jubilee is a year of ‘general pardon,’ for all people to return to their original state: the freedom proper to the holy people of God,” he continued. “We should practice this pardon to combat poverty and inequality, by promoting an equitable distribution of the earth’s goods for all.”

The Pope added:

The earth belongs to God, and has been entrusted to us, who are but “strangers and sojourners” on the road to eternity. As stewards of the Lord, we are called to render habitable and human the world we have received.

In this jubilee year, we are also challenged by the ancient prescription of tithing, offering God the first fruits of our work. This wisdom calls us to be generous with those in need, to help eliminate poverty, and contribute to a society based on solidarity, fraternity and justice.


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