I’ve heard recently that Pope Francis declared the next year to be a Year of Mercy in the church. One report skeptically said that major sins would be forgiven in this year, implying that come the end of the year, they wouldn’t be. It saddens me to think that they have completely missed the point. This year has been the Year of Consecrated Life. No one thinks that this is the only year you can become a nun. The point of this Year of Mercy is to help people understand the enormous mercy available to them. Part of it is admitting that you have done something wrong, and I’m pretty sure that’s the part that we hate. Part of it is knowing that some of the things keeping us out shouldn’t be holding us back in the first place. Hopefully some obstacles on both sides will be removed and not only will people see that the doors are open, but they will be welcomed in with love. As Pope Francis said, “No one can be excluded from God’s mercy.” No one. It’s a good thing to focus on for a year. I’m looking forward to it.