James

 Chapter 1

1-11

 
Pope Francis         12.02.18 Holy Mass Santa Marta          James 1: 1-11
https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/patience/12.02.18.jpg

James 1: 1-11; The testing of your faith produces patience. But what does patience mean in life and in the face of trials? It’s certainly not easy to understand. Christian patience is neither “resignation” nor an attitude of “defeat,”. Rather, it is a virtue of those who are on the journey, those who are moving forward, rather than stopping and becoming closed off.

When you are on the journey, many things happen that are not always good. For me, the attitude of parents when a child is born sick or disabled says a lot about patience as a virtue on the journey. “But thank God that [our child] is alive!” [They might say.] These are people with patience. And they bear the life of that child with love, even to the end. And it is not easy care for a disabled or sick child year after year after year… but the joy of having that child gives them the strength to go forward. And this is patience, not resignation – that is, it is the virtue that comes when one is on the journey. 

Patience carries with it the sense of responsibility, because it signifies bearing with suffering, rather than letting it go. And, suffering is borne with joy, gladness, “perfect joy,” according to the Apostle:

Patience means “bearing with,” not entrusting problems to another, who bears the difficulty: “I bear it, this is my difficulty, my problem. Is something causing me suffering? Eh, certainly! But I bear it.” To bear with it. And patience is also the wisdom of being able to dialogue with the limits. There are many limits in life, but impatience doesn’t want them, it ignores them because it doesn’t know how to dialogue with limits. There is some kind of fantasy of omnipotence, or of laziness, we don’t know.  

But this patience St James speaks about is not simply a “counsel” for Christians. If we look at the history of salvation, we can see the ‘patience of God, our Father,’ who has led and carried His ‘stubborn people’ forward each time they strayed one way or the other. And the Father shows this patience, too, to each one of us, “accompanying us,” and “waiting” for the right time. God also sent His Son, that He might “enter into patience,” “taking up His mission,” and offering Himself decisively in His Passion.

And here I think of our persecuted sisters and brothers in the Middle East, being “chased away” precisely because they are Christians; And yet they are determined to remain Christians: they have embraced patience just as the Lord embraced patience. With these ideas, perhaps, we can pray today, pray for our people: “Lord, give to your people patience to bear their trials.” And can also pray for ourselves. So often we are impatient: When things don’t go our way, we complain. But, step back for a moment, think about the patience of God the Father, embrace patience, as Jesus did. Patience is a beautiful virtue. Let us ask the Lord for it.

 Chapter 5

9-12

 
Pope Francis       25.05.18   Holy Mass   Santa Marta        Mark 10: 1-12      James 5: 9-12
https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/marriage/25.05.18.jpg

The question posed by the Pharisees concerned marriage; they wanted to know if it was lawful for a husband to divorce his wife. But, Jesus goes beyond the simple question of lawfulness, going back to the “the beginning.” Jesus speaks about marriage as it is in itself, perhaps the greatest thing created by God in those seven days of Creation.

“From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” Jesus words in the Gospel are very strong. He speaks of “one flesh” which cannot be divided. Jesus lays aside the problem of separation, and goes to the beauty of the couple, who ought to be one.
We must not focus, like these doctors do, on [the answer] "Yes, you can" divide a marriage, or "No, you can’t." At times there is misfortune, when it doesn't work, and it is better to separate in order to avoid a world war. But this is a misfortune. Let us go and look at the positive.

I met a couple who were celebrating 60 years of marriage and asked them, “Are you happy?” They looked at one another, and with tears in their eyes, answered, “We are in love!”

It’s true that there are difficulties, there are problems with children or with the couple themselves, arguments and fights… but the important thing is that the flesh remains one, and you can overcome, you can overcome, you can overcome. And this is not only a sacrament for them, but also for the Church, a sacrament, as it were, that attracts attention: “See, love is possible!” And love is capable of allowing you to live your whole life “in love”: in joy and in sorrow, with the problems of children, and their own problems… but always going forward. In sickness and in health, but always going forward. This is beautiful.
Man and woman are created in God’s image and likeness; and for this reason, marriage likewise becomes an image of God. This makes marriage very beautiful. Matrimony is a silent homily for everyone else, a daily homily.

It’s sad when this is not news: the newspapers, the TV news shows, don’t consider this news. But this couple, together for so many years… it’s not news. Scandal, divorce, separation – these are considered newsworthy. Although at times its necessary to separate, as I said, to avoid a greater evil. The image of God isn’t news. But this is the beauty of marriage. They [the couple] are the image and likeness of God. And this is our news, the Christian news. Patience is the most important virtue
 
Marriage and family life is not easy. James 5: 9-12 speaks about
patience. Patience, is perhaps the most important virtue for the couple – both for the man and for the woman. Pray that the Lord might give to the Church and to society a more profound and more beautiful understanding of marriage, so that we all might be able to appreciate and reflect upon [the fact] that the image and likeness of God is present in marriage.