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Repentance, forgiveness are at heart of Gospel, Pope tells jubilee pilgrims

June 20, 2016

On June 18, Pope Francis held a Saturday public audience for pilgrims who have come to Rome for the extraordinary jubilee year of mercy.

“Appearing to the disciples in Emmaus, the Risen Jesus tells them that repentance and the forgiveness of sins are to be preached to all nations in his name,” the Pope told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, in the words of the official English-language synthesis of his remarks. “Repentance and the forgiveness of sins are at the heart of the Gospel message of God’s merciful love.”

“The Old Testament prophets repeatedly call the people to ‘return to the Lord’ in fidelity to his covenant of love,” the Pope continued. “Jesus began his public ministry by preaching repentance, interior conversion and belief in the Gospel (cf. Mk. 1:15).”

Pope Francis added:

His call to conversion was expressed not in judgment but in closeness to sinners and mercy to those in need. As we see in the conversion accounts of Matthew and Zacchaeus, Jesus enabled sinners to feel God’s loving mercy and to open their hearts to his gift of forgiveness.

As an experience of unmerited love, true conversion always entails openness to others, especially the poor. In this Holy Year of Mercy, may we recognize our own need of forgiveness and conversion, and open our hearts ever more fully to the power of the Lord’s grace to transform and renew our lives.

 
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