VATICAN CITY — “O Key of David and Scepter of the House of Israel; you open and no man closes; you close and no man opens. Come, and deliver from the chains of prison those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
With the chanting of these verses from Sacred by the Vatican’s schola cantorum, Pope Francis closed the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica after standing before it in silent prayer.
The pope opened the Holy Door during the inauguration of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy on 8 December 2015, in the presence of his predecessor, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI.
With the closing of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s the Year of Mercy formally comes to an end, yet the time of mercy has not. As Pope Francis said today in his homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King, which coincides with the closing of the Holy Year: “Even if the Holy Door closes, the true door of mercy which is the heart of Christ always remains open wide for us. From the lacerated side of the Risen One until the very end of time flow mercy, consolation and hope.”
On Monday November 21, the Pope’s new new Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera, will be released. The letter, which calls on all the Church to continue practicing mercy with the same intensity as during the Jubilee year, will be published tomorrow.
In “The Name of God is Mercy,” a book Pope Francis had published earlier this year, he said: “Yes, I believe that this is a time of mercy. The Church is showing her maternal side, her motherly face, to a humanity that is wounded. She does not wait for the wounded to knock on her doors, she looks for them on the streets, she gathers them in, she embraces them, she takes care of them, she makes them feel loved. And so, as I said, and I am ever more convinced of it, this is a kairós, our era is a kairós of mercy, a time of opportunity.”