The great gift for the Jubilee 2025: “Spes non confundit”.

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Article from the Alphonsian Academy Blog

On 9 May, the Pope delivered the Bull of Indiction for the Jubilee 2025 in the Basilica of Saint Peter and asked for the greatest gift: hope! For Christians, hope is not the vague optimism that sooner or later things will work out; it is the certainty that everything contributes to the good of those who love God.

It is traditional for the Jubilee to be proclaimed by a Papal Bull. The one for next year was delivered on the day the Vatican celebrates Vespers of the Ascension. Paul’s words to the community of Rome: “Hope does not confound” (Rom 5:5), they open the Bull and give it its title: Spes non confundit [cf. no. 1].

Writing to the community of Rome, the Apostle of the Gentiles reminded us that Christian hope is founded on the certainty that the Lord is faithful to His promises, that nothing is impossible for Him, nothing and never will be able to separate us from the love of Christ (cf. Rom 8:35ff) and at the same time in the struggles of life it makes us yearn for the blessed life in God: “Hope, in fact, is born of love and is founded on the love that flows from the Heart of Jesus pierced on the cross” [n.3]. The Spirit of the Risen One continues to work in history and “radiates in believers the light of hope” [cf. n.3].

Hope today is threatened by a humanity that has not learned from the dramas of the past and continues to use violence instead of a reason to resolve differences between people, communities, and peoples [cf. n.8]. In historical times such as the present, it is necessary to invoke the gift of hope combined with its sister virtue: patience. It seems paradoxical this juxtaposition that the Pope has made. The connection between the two virtues is obvious. Hope is the deep yearning of the human heart to be and to be the best. Patience educates us to wait, but today’s man no longer knows how to wait. We are hyper-accelerated, the frenetic pace of life, consumerism, everything and now, do not go well with patience. Yet this is the virtue that makes hope sprout: so, thanks to Pope Francis, who has reminded the whole world of this with parrhesia!

A series of providential anniversaries

The Holy Year 2025 will see a convergence of extraordinary anniversaries. The date of Easter will coincide for Christians of East and West. This is a beautiful sign that, in the Pope’s words, becomes a plea for the gift of a common date of Easter for all Christians. The mystery of Jesus’ Resurrection is the foundation of our faith but also gives certainty to our hope. It shows us that we are children of the God of life and that death is not and will never be the last word.

The Resurrection of the Lord is a foretaste and promise of new life for us all. If Christ is Risen, we too shall rise; that is the certainty of hope. By a providential design of God in the Jubilee year Easter Day coincides for Catholics and Orthodox, the wish is that it will continue forever. To be able to celebrate the event par excellence of faith in Christ altogether would be an extraordinary gift [cf. n.17].

2025 will also mark the anniversary of the Council of Nicaea (325), the 1700th. This Council defined the Symbol of our faith, which we profess every Sunday and on Solemnities. In two ways, this recurrence provokes us. On the one hand, it is an invitation to rediscover our faith, on which hope is founded. On the other hand, the synodal assembly of Nicaea illuminates the path we are on. It is an opportunity to give concreteness to the synodal form of being Church [cf. 17].

The Basilica of St John Lateran in 2025 will celebrate 1700 years since its dedication.

The ordinary Jubilee projects us towards the next extraordinary one in 2033, when we will celebrate 2000 years of the Redemption brought about by Jesus Christ [cf. 6]. And it is precisely the Redemption that suggests the four verbs of Christian hope, in fact, Christ: died, was buried, rose again, appeared. Christian hope is this: in the face of death, when everything seems to be over, sprouts of new life bloom. The newness of life that is disclosed through Baptism is a journey that begins in this life and will never end because it has eternal life as its goal.

The Pope’s hopes for humanity

The Holy Father invokes certain gifts for all. The first is that of peace understood not only as the absence of war. True peace means changing mentality, it means learning to think in terms of universal brotherhood [cf. nos. 8.16]. Silence the weapons and let the only sound echoing in the world be the cry of life and, in particular, of life being born. Here is the second gift: that cradles may once again be filled with tender faces to love [cf. n.9].

It also invokes respect for life at all stages and seasons. From when it is cherished in a mother’s womb to when it presents the traits of vulnerability and fragility due to the passing of years or the onset of illness [cf. nos. 14.24]. May the Jubilee year give new impetus to young people. We have handed them a complex world; we cannot leave them alone, and we cannot disappoint their expectations, clip their wings, or extinguish the hope in their hearts. On the contrary, we must promote and motivate them [cf. n.12].

Prisoners, migrants, refugees, the poor and all people in despair, for all, let the light of hope shine in their hearts. Pope Francis renews his call for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide and urges the debt of poor countries to be repaid so that they too can be reborn, and he calls for policies to ensure food, medicine and education for all and everywhere. He also recalls the great signs of the Jubilee: the pilgrimage to Rome, confession, the gift of indulgences and the stop at Marian shrines.

He concludes with the hope that humanity, in this Jubilee 2025, can rediscover trust in the Church, institutions, interpersonal relations, and international relations and work to promote the dignity of every human person and respect for creation[1].

Prof. Filomena Sacco

the original text is in Italian,
the article and featured image courtesy of Alphonsian Academy