“This is the door of the Lord”, pronounced the Holy Father in the meaningful rite of opening the Holy Door in the Papal Basilica of Saint John Lateran, which preceded the celebration of Mass. “Open to me the doors of justice”, he added, “In your great mercy I will enter your house, O Lord”. Then he pushed the door open and paused on its threshhold in prayer before entering the Basilica.
“This Third Sunday of Advent draws our gaze towards Christmas, which is now near. We cannot let ourselves be taken in by weariness; sadness in any form is not allowed, even though we may have reason, with many concerns and the many forms of violence which wound our humanity”, Pope Francis insisted, “The coming of the Lord, however, must fill our hearts with joy. The prophet in whose very name — Zephaniah — is inscribed the content of this announcement, opens our hearts to trust: ‘God protects’ his people. In a historical context of great tyranny and violence, especially by men of power, God makes it known that he will reign over his people, that he will no longer leave them at the mercy of the arrogance of their leaders, and that he will free them from all anguish. Today, we are asked to ‘let not our hands grow weak’ (cf. Zeph 3:16) due to doubt, impatience or suffering.”
“We have opened the Holy Door”, Pope Francis continued in his homily during the Mass in the Lateran Basilica, “here and in all the Cathedrals of the world. Even this simple sign is an invitation to joy. The time of great forgiveness begins. It is the Jubilee of Mercy. It is time to rediscover the presence of God and his fatherly tenderness. God does not love rigidity. He is Father; he is tender. He does everything with the tenderness of the Father”.