The land the people had to leave had become prey to enemies and grew desolate. Now, however, it comes alive and flourishes. And the exiles themselves shall be like a watered garden, like a fertile land. Israel, brought back home by her Lord, is witnessing the victory of life over death, of blessing over evil.
This is how the people are strengthened and consoled by God. This word is important: consoled. Those who return receive life from a source that freely waters them.
At this point, the prophet announces the fullness of joy, and in God’s name he goes to proclaim:
I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.—31:13
The psalm tells us that, once they return to their homeland, their mouths shall be filled with a smile; it is such a great joy! It is the gift that the Lord desires to give each of us as well, through his forgiveness which converts and reconciles.
The prophet Jeremiah has given us the announcement, presenting the return of the exiles as a great symbol of the consolation given to the heart that repents. The Lord Jesus in turn brought to fulfillment the message of the prophet. The true and radical return from exile, and the comforting light after the darkness of the crisis of faith, is realized at Easter, in the full and definitive experience of God’s love, the merciful love that gives joy, peace and eternal life.
Special Greetings in Italian:
May the Jubilee of Mercy, with the passing through the Holy Door, be a propitious occasion for returning to the embrace of the Father, who always consoles us in difficulty.
Lastly, I greet young people, the sick and newlyweds. Tomorrow we celebrate the memorial of St. Patrick, apostle of Ireland. May his spiritual vigor stimulate you, dear young people, to be coherent in your faith; may his faith in Christ the Savior sustain you, dear sick, in moments of great difficulty; and may his missionary dedication remind you, dear newlyweds, of the importance of the Christian formation of children.
Translation by Diane Montagnaof Aleteia’s English edition.