For almost a year, the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica has been the most famous door at the Vatican, and today it was adorned with hundreds of flowers for the last day of the Jubilee.
The pope prayed before it to thank God for the Jubilee, and then paused for a few moments in silence on the threshold.
Throughout this year, an estimated 20 million people have passed through, asking for God's forgiveness.
The last person to cross through the door was Pope Francis, who went through in silence and then closed it as a symbol of the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy.
Then he began Mass in St. Peter's Square, before tens of thousands of pilgrims.
During the homily, the pope recalled how God shows his greatness not with spectacular works, but with a love that forgives everyone.
"It would mean very little, however, if we believed Jesus was King of the universe and the center of the story, but did not make him Lord of our lives. Given the circumstances of our lives and our unfulfilled expectations, we too can be tempted to keep our distance from Jesus’ kingship, to not accept completely the scandal of his humble love, which unsettles and disturbs us.”
Pope Francis said that the Jubilee allowed Christians "to return to the essentials," that is, to imitate Jesus. He explained it with a very specific proposal addressed to everyone.
"Let us ask for the grace of never closing the doors of reconciliation and pardon, but rather of knowing how to go beyond evil and differences, opening every possible pathway of hope. As God believes in us, infinitely beyond any merits we have, so too we are called to instill hope and provide opportunities to others."
At the end of the Mass the pope signed an "Apostolic Letter," a document on mercy addressed to all Catholics in the world, which he symbolically handed out to several families, one couple and two who are suffering from medical illnesses.
JMB / MB