It's an interesting tradition, the "Jubilee Year," which we will soon enter (as the "Jubilee of Mercy" in 2016).
In the old days -- in biblical times -- a "jubilee" year came after seven cycles of "shmitah" (some spell it "shemitah"), which meant every fifty or a hundred years. It was a time of mercy, forgiveness, and a clearing of debts, a leveling of the playing field.
This was spelled out, for those subscribing to the fifty-year tradition, in Leviticus 25:8-13, wherein it states, "You shall count off seven Sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; and there shall be to you the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. You shall make the fiftieth year holy, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee to you; and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee to yours."
Saint John Paul II declared a "Jubilee Year" for 2000, commencing with the opening of the "Holy Door" on Christmas Eve in 1999 at St. Peter's Basilica and January 1, 2000, at Saint John Lateran. The Catholic Church now celebrates a Jubilee Year every quarter century. The upcoming one -- pronounced today with the opening of the apostolic door -- is an "extraordinary" one," accenting the current Pope's focus on mercy.
While many Protestant Evangelicals see prophetic significance in "shemitah" years (this past autumn marked one such, although major events many believed would happen then have not thus far; see The Shemitah or The Harbinger Man), the last one -- in 2001, immediately following the Catholic "Jubilee" -- coincided, randomly or not, with the events of 9/11.
Is there prophetic significance to a "Jubilee"? God doesn't use our calendar. In fact, He doesn't use any human calculus. Blood moons? Shemitahs?
There are, sometimes, certain supernatural tie-ins to what we celebrate (God often favors us with miracles at Christmastime, as just one example, as well as on certain anniversaries -- certainly feasts such as the Immaculate Conception). There are dates, and seasons, and terminology. Will the Catholic Church's jubilee be the predecessor of major events (as opposed to the just-passed "Shemitah" of popular Evangelicalism)?
In the realm of ancient Jewish belief, and the prophetic, we might ponder also the term "Zion." This has been mentioned by two Protestants who allegedly had near-death experiences and claimed they were informed of a coming time when a "New Zion" would be established in the U.S. (after major disasters).
One is in a book we are now offering, for discernment, The Message, penned by a general Christian man from Idaho who before his final death eleven years ago says he traversed eternal boundaries. He was told, on the other side (asserted this fellow, Lance Richardson), "You are so lucky. Do you see? You are the ones who will build the New Jerusalem spoken of by all the prophets since the beginning of time; the Zion of the last days. It is come in your day. Every prophet since the beginning of time has yearned to see and be part of this. It will be a day when paradise will be created on earth. It will be built in your country of America. And the peaceful ones of the earth shall come unto it... Yes, there are dark days to come before it arrives, but the blessings and glory of that day far outshine the trials which you must endure first.
"Some of the founding fathers were given vision and understanding from God concerning the fact that they were laying a foundation for the Zion of the last days to be built," claims the revelation. "The Constitution would help safeguard a freedom where it could begin and grow. They were not perfect men, but they were some of the best God had. Their efforts were greatly inspired."
When we called James Wilburn Chauncey, author of Eyewitness to Heaven, and as Catholics asked him how this went with his life-death experience (which occurred as a boy in the 1940s; Richardson's was in the 1990s), he said, "That fits right in with things that were shown to me. Zion. It's right on schedule." He said when he was on the other side he saw "the gay marriages and the coming together of the gay people. There was a lot of strife and difficulty launched on the young. I saw the [gay couples] coming out of churches. A lot of the churches became beyond liberal. They accepted all the things that were forbidden in the Old Testament. The breakdown of the family was pretty widespread but it was the keeping of the families that was the salvation of the country and it was the hillbillies and the rednecks who came to the rescue in the cities."
Chauncey, who lives in Georgia (a retired businessman/engineer) adds, "What's going on with Russia and China is pretty much right on track -- the influx of the Arab people into other parts of Europe. I can't even talk to my wife about it because she gets scared seeing it on the news. I had told her before and she had shrugged it off. Most shrugged this thing off. There's also a great geologic event or events that I eye-witnessed, a great shake-up especially in this part of the world [see the current "special report"]."
Let us say, it is for our consideration and pondering. We despise not prophecy here, seeking to take from alleged "words" and "prophecies" what is good, as Scripture admonishes (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and leaving the rest (often the result of human input).
The important point, of the Jubilee Year, is mercy. The importance of today is the intercession of the Blessed Mother -- so pure.
Let us seek it for forgiveness of our sins and exercise it toward those who have sinned against us as we enter tumultuous times. After his experience, Richardson made "coupons" that said simply, "Sometimes it's nice to know somebody cares. Have a great day," and handed them to those he saw in need. In a year of mercy, we can do something similar, while remembering, this time of the year, that when we receive Communion, we, like Mary, now carry forth Jesus within us.