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Chapter 11-21




  
 
 Chapter 11

1-45

 
Pope Francis   06.04.14  Holy Mass, Roman Parish of San Gregorio Magno   5th Sunday of Lent Year A    Ezekiel 37: 12-14,    Romans 8: 8-11,    John 11: 1-45 


Today’s Three Readings speak to us about the Resurrection, they speak to us about life. This beautiful promise from the Lord: “Behold I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves” (Ez 37:12), is the promise of the Lord who possesses life and has the power to give life, that those who are dead might regain life. The Second Reading tells us that we are under the Holy Spirit and that Christ in us, his Spirit, will raise us. And in the Third Reading of the Gospel, we saw how Jesus gave life to Lazarus. Lazarus, who was dead, has returned to life.

I would simply like to say something very briefly. We all have within us some areas, some parts of our heart that are not alive, that are a little dead; and some of us have many dead places in our hearts, a true spiritual necrosis! And when we are in this situation, we know it, we want to get out but we can’t. Only the power of Jesus, the power of Jesus can help us come out of these atrophied zones of the heart, these tombs of sin, which we all have. We are all sinners! But if we become very attached to these tombs and guard them within us and do not will that our whole heart rise again to life, we become corrupted and our soul begins to give off, as Martha says, an “odour” (Jn 11:39), the stench of a person who is attached to sin. And Lent is something to do with this. Because all of us, who are sinners, do not end up attached to sin, but that we can hear what Jesus said to Lazarus: “He cried out with a loud voice: ‘Lazarus, come out’” (Jn 11:43).

Today I invite you to think for a moment, in silence, here: where is my interior necrosis? Where is the dead part of my soul? Where is my tomb? Think, for a short moment, all of you in silence. Let us think: what part of the heart can be corrupted because of my attachment to sin, one sin or another? And to remove the stone, to take away the stone of shame and allow the Lord to say to us, as he said to Lazarus: “Come out!”. That all our soul might be healed, might be raised by the love of Jesus, by the power of Jesus. He is capable of forgiving us. We all need it! All of us. We are all sinners, but we must be careful not to become corrupt! Sinners we may be, but He forgives us. Let us hear that voice of Jesus who, by the power of God, says to us: “Come out! Leave that tomb you have within you. Come out. I give you life, I give you happiness, I bless you, I want you for myself”.

May the Lord today, on this Sunday, which speaks so much about the Resurrection, give us all the grace to rise from our sins, to come out of our tombs; with the voice of Jesus, calling us to go out, to go to Him.

And another thing: on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, those who are preparing for Baptism in the Church, used to receive the Word of God. In this community today, I will make the same gesture. And I would like to give you the Gospel, which you can take home. This Gospel is a pocket-size Gospel you can carry with you always, to read a short passage at a time; to open it like this and read a part of the Gospel, when I have to queue or when I am on the bus... but only when I am comfortable on the bus, because if I am not then I must guard my pockets! To read a little passage of the Gospel at a time. It will do us so much good, so much good! A little every day. It is a gift, which I brought for your entire community, so that, today, the Fifth Sunday of Lent, you might receive the Word of God and that, thus, you too might hear the voice of Jesus say to you: “Come forth! Come! Come out!”, and so prepare for the Easter Vigil.





Pope Francis       02.04.17    Holy Mass,  Piazza Martiri, Carpi         John 11: 1-45,     Ezekiel  37: 12-14
https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/pessimism/02.04.17.jpg
5th Sunday of Lent Year A 

Today’s readings tell us of the God of life, who conquers death. Let us pause in particular on the last of the miraculous signs which Jesus performs before his Easter, at the sepulchre of his friend, Lazarus.

Everything appears to have ended there: the tomb is sealed by a great stone; there is only weeping and desolation there. Even Jesus is shaken by the dramatic mystery of the loss of a dear person: “He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (Jn 11:33). Then “Jesus wept” (v. 35) and went to the sepulchre, the Gospel says, “deeply moved again” (v. 38). This is God’s heart: far from evil but close to those who are suffering. He does not make evil disappear magically, but he endures the suffering; he makes it his own and transforms it; he abides it.

We notice, however, that amid the general despair over the death of Lazarus, Jesus does not allow himself to be transported by despair. Even while suffering himself, he asks that people believe steadfastly. He does not close himself within his weeping but, moved, he makes his way to the sepulchre. He does not allow the resigned, emotional atmosphere that surrounds him to seize him, but rather, prays with trust and says, “Father, I thank thee” (v. 41). Thus, in the mystery of suffering, before which thoughts and progress are crushed like flies against glass, Jesus offers us the example of how to conduct ourselves. He does not run away from suffering, which is part of this life, but he does not allow himself to be held captive by
pessimism.

A great “encounter-clash” thus occurred at that sepulchre. On the one hand, there is the great disappointment, the precariousness of our mortal life which, pierced by anguish over death, often experiences defeat, an interior darkness which seems insurmountable. Our soul, created for life, suffers upon hearing that its thirst for eternal good is oppressed by an ancient and dark evil. On the one hand, there is this defeat of the sepulchre. But on the other, there is the
hope that conquers death and evil, and which has a name: the name of hope is Jesus.

He neither brings a bit of comfort nor some remedy to prolong life, but rather, proclaims: “I am the Resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live”, (v. 25). It is for this reason that he says decisively, “Take away the stone” (v. 39) and he calls to Lazarus, “Come out” (v. 43).

Dear brothers and sisters, we too are called to decide on which side to stand. One can stand on the side of the sepulchre or on the side of Jesus. There are those who allow themselves to be closed within their pain and those who open up to hope. There are those who remain trapped among the
ruins of life, and those who, like you, with God’s help, pick up the ruins of life and rebuild with patient hope.

In facing life’s great ‘whys?’, we have two paths: either stay and wistfully contemplate past and present sepulchres, or allow Jesus to approach our sepulchres. Yes, because each one of us already has a small sepulchre, some area that has somewhat died within our hearts;
a wound, a wrongdoing endured or inflicted, an unrelenting resentment, a regret that keeps coming back, a sin we cannot overcome. Today, let us identify these little sepulchres that we have inside, and let us invite Jesus into them. It is curious, but we often prefer to be alone in the dark caves within us rather than invite Christ inside them. We are tempted to always seek [solutions for] ourselves, brooding and sinking into anguish, licking our wounds, instead of going to him, who says, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”, (Mt 11:28). Let us not be held captive by the temptation to remain alone and discouraged, crying about what is happening to us. Let us not give in to the useless and inconclusive logic of fear, resignedly repeating that everything is going badly and nothing is as it once was. This is the sepulchral atmosphere. The Lord instead wishes to open the path of life, that of encounter with him, of trust in him, of the resurrection of the heart, the way of: “Arise, Arise, come out”. This is what the Lord asks of us, and he is by our side to do so.

Thus, we hear directed to each one of us Jesus’ words to Lazarus: “Come out”. Come out from the gridlock of hopeless
sadness; unwrap the bandages of fear that impede the journey, the laces of the weaknesses and anxieties that constrain you; reaffirm that God unties the knots. By following Jesus, we learn not to knot our lives around problems which become tangled. There will always be problems, always, and when we solve one, another one duly arrives. We can however, find a new stability, and this stability is Jesus himself. This stability is called Jesus, who is the Resurrection and the Life. With him, joy abides in our hearts, hope is reborn, suffering is transformed into peace, fear into trust, hardship into an offering of love. And even though burdens will not disappear, there will always be his uplifting hand, his encouraging Word saying to all of us, to each of us: “Come out! Come to me!”. He tells all of us: “Do not be afraid”.

Today, just like then, Jesus says to us to: “take away the stone”. However burdensome the past, great the sin, weighty the
shame, let us never bar the Lord’s entrance. Let us, before him, remove that stone which prevents him from entering. This is the favourable time to remove our sin, our attachment to worldly vanity, the pride that blocks our souls, so much hostility among us, in families.... This is the favourable time for removing all these things.

Visited and liberated by Jesus, we ask for the grace to be witnesses of life in this world that thirsts for it, witnesses who spark and rekindle God’s hope in hearts weary and laden with sadness. Our message is the joy of the living Lord, who says again today, as he did to Ezekiel, “Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people (Ez 37:12).



Pope Francis   29.03.20 Angelus Apostolic Palace Library, St Peter's Square 5th Sunday of Lent Year A    John 11: 1-45

Pope Francis talks about the resurrection of Lazarus 29.03.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

The Gospel of this fifth Sunday of Lent is that of the resurrection of Lazarus (cf. John 11:1-45). Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary; they were very close to Jesus. When He arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already been dead for four days; Martha runs to meet the Master and says to Him, "If you had been here, my brother would not have died!" (see 21). Jesus answers her: "Your brother will rise again" (v. 23); and adds: "I am the resurrection and the life; those who believe in me, even if they die, will live" (v. 25). Jesus shows himself as the Lord of life, the One who is able to give life to the dead too. Then Mary and others arrive, all in tears, and then Jesus, the Gospel says, "was deeply moved and troubled and wept" (vv. 33.35). With this turmoil in His heart, He goes to the grave, thanks the Father who always listens to Him, opens the tomb and shouts loudly: "Lazarus, come out!" (v. 43). And Lazarus comes out with "his feet and hands wrapped with burial bands, and his face wrapped in a cloth" (v. 44). 

Here we touch with our hands that God is life and gives life, but he takes charge of the tragedy of death. Jesus could have prevented the death of his friend Lazarus, but he wanted to share in our pain for the death of loved ones, and above all he wanted to show God's dominion over death. In this passage of the Gospel we see that the faith of man and the omnipotence of God, of God's love seek each other and finally meet. It is like a double path: the faith of man and the omnipotence of God's love that one seeks and eventually meets. We see it in the cry of Martha and Mary and of all of us with them: "If you had been here!...." And God's answer is not a speech, no, God's answer to the problem of death is Jesus: "I am the resurrection and life... Have faith! In the midst of grief, continue to have faith, even if death seems to have won. Remove the stone from your heart! Let the Word of God restore life where there is death.

Even today Jesus repeats to us: "Take away the stone." God did not create us for the tomb, he created us for life, beautiful, good, joyful. But "death has entered the world through the devil's envy"(Wis 2:24), says the Book of Wisdom, and Jesus Christ has come to free us from its bonds.

Therefore, we are called to remove the stones of all that it smacks of death: for example, the hypocrisy with which faith is lived, is death; destructive criticism of others is death; offense, slander, is death; the marginalization of the poor, is death. The Lord asks us to remove these stones from our hearts, and then life will flourish again around us. Christ lives, and those who welcome and follow Him come into contact with life. Without Christ, or outside Christ, not only is life not present, but one falls back into death.
The resurrection of Lazarus is also a sign of the regeneration that takes place in the believer through Baptism, with the full integration into the Pascal Mystery of Christ. For the action and power of the Holy Spirit, the Christian is a person who journeys in life as a new creature: a creature for life and who goes towards life.

May the Virgin Mary helps us to be compassionate like her Son Jesus, who has made our pain His own. May each of us be close to those who are in difficulty, becoming for them a reflection of God's love and tenderness, which frees us from death and makes life victorious.
  
 
Chapter 11
45-56
 
Pope Francis       04.04.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)         John 11: 45-56  
Saturday of the 5th Week of Lent - Lectionary Cycle II
Pope Francis the Three steps of Temptation

It has been a while that the doctors of the law and even the high priests, were restless because strange things were happening in their country. First this John, who eventually they left alone because he was a prophet, he baptized there and the people went but there were no other consequences. Then came this Jesus, pointed out by John. He began to do signs, and miracles, but above all to speak to the people and people understood, and people followed him, and he did not always observe the law and this was so disturbing. "This is a revolutionary, a peaceful revolutionary... Who attracted people to himself, and people followed him..." (cf. John. 11:45-48). And these ideas led them to talk to each other: "But look, I don't like this... that other...", and so among them these were the topics of their conversation, of their concern as well. 

Then some went to him to test him, and always the Lord had a clear response for them, which had not come to the mind of the doctors of the law. Let us think of that woman who was married seven times, widowed seven times: "But in heaven, which of these husbands will be she be married to?" (cf. Luke.20:33). He answered clearly and they went away a little bit embarrassed at the wisdom of Jesus and other times they left humiliated, as when they wanted to stone that adulterous woman and Jesus said at the end: "The one among you without sin, let him throw the first stone" (cf. John.8:7) and the Gospel says that they went away, starting with the elders, humiliated at that moment. This grew these conversations between them: "We have to do something, this is wrong...". 

Then they sent the soldiers to arrest him up and they came back saying, "We couldn't arrest him because no one else speaks like this man " ... "You too, have you allowed yourself to be deceived" (cf. John.7:45-49: And they become angry because not even the soldiers could arrest him. And then, after the resurrection of Lazarus - the reading that we heard today comes after that - many Jews went there to see the sisters of Lazarus, but some went to see what had happened in order to report back, and some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done." John. 11:45). Others believed in Him. And those gossipers who go here and there, they chatterer of all the time, who live gossiping ... they went to report him. 

At this time, that group that had formed among the doctors of the law had a formal meeting: "This is very dangerous we have to make a decision. What do we do? This man makes many signs - they recognize the miracles - If we let him continue like this, everyone will believe in him, there is danger, the people will follow him, they will break away from us" - the people were not attached to them - "The Romans will come and destroy our land and our nation" (cf. John.11.48). In this there was part of the truth but not the whole truth, it was a justification, because they had found equilibrium with their occupiers, but they hated the Roman occupiers, but politically they had found a balance. So they talked to each other. One of them, Caiaphas - he was the most radical -, was a high priest (he said): "Don't you consider that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, so that the whole nation may not perish!" (John:11.50). He was the high priest and he makes the proposal: "Let's take him out." And John says: "But he did not say this for himself, but, being a high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation. From that day they planned to kill him. John.11:51-53). 

It was a trial, a process that began with little anxieties in the time of John the Baptist and then ended in this session of the doctors of the law and high priests. A process that grew, a process that they became more secure in the decision they had to make, but no one had said it precisely and clearly: "This person must be cast out." 

This way the doctors of the law proceeded is precisely a model of how temptation works in us, because behind this truly was the devil who wanted to destroy Jesus and the temptation in us generally acts like this: it begins with a little thing, with a desire, an idea, it grows, infects others and in the end justifies itself. 

These are the three steps of the temptation of the devil in us and it is the three steps that the devil worked in the temptation of the doctors of the law. It began little, but it grew, and it grew, until it infected others, and in the end they justify themselves: "It is necessary for one to die for the people" (cf. John.11.50), the total justification. And they all went home calmly. They said, "This is the decision we had to make." And all of us, when we are overcome by temptation, end up calm, because we have found a justification for this sin, for this sinful attitude, for this action not according to God's law. 

We should have a habit of identifying this process of temptation in us. This process that makes us change our hearts from good to evil, that takes us on the road downhill. One thing that grows, grows, grows slowly, then infects others and eventually justifies itself. It is rare that temptations to us come all at once, the devil is cunning. And he knows how to take this path, he took it to come to the condemnation of Jesus. 

When we find ourselves in a sin, that we have fallen, yes, we must go and ask forgiveness from the Lord, it is the first (step) that we must do, but then we need to understand: "How did I come to fall there? How did this process begin in my soul? How did it grow stronger? Who else did I infect? And how did I finally justify myself falling?" 

The life of Jesus is always an example to us and the things that have happened to Jesus are things that will happen to us, temptations, justifications, good people who are around us and perhaps we do not listen to them and we surround ourselves with bad people in the moment of temptation in order for the temptation to get stronger. But let us never forget: always, behind a sin, behind a fall, there is a temptation that began small, that grew, that infected others and in the end I find a justification for sin. May the Holy Spirit enlighten us with this inner knowledge.
  
 

1 - 11
 

The emblem of the infinite patience that God has for man is reflected in the infinite patience that Jesus has for Judas.
Jesus did not say: 'You are a thief.’”. Instead “he was patient with Judas, trying to draw him closer through patience, his love. During Holy Week, we would do well to think of the patience of God, the patience that God has with each one of us, with our weaknesses, our sins.
The patience of God is a mystery! How much patience he has with us! We do so many things, but He is patient.
God is patient like the prodigal son’s father who waits everyday for his son to come home. And if we think of this, applying it to each one of us, only one thought can escape our hearts: thank you. This is God's patience, this is the patience of Jesus."
Let us think of our personal relationship, in this week: How patient has Jesus been with me in my life? Just this. And then the words will rise from our hearts: 'Thank you, Lord! Thank you for your patience.



Pope Francis   06.04.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)      John 12: 1-11
Monday of Holy Week - Lectionary Cycle II 
Pope Francis talks about the Poor 06.04.20

I am thinking of a serious problem in many parts of the world. I would like us today to pray for the problem of overcrowding in prisons. Where there is overcrowding – so many people there – there is a danger, in this pandemic, that it will end in a serious calamity. We pray for those responsible, for those who have to make decisions regarding this, that they will find a fair and creative way to solve the problem.

This passage ends with an observation: "The chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him." The other day we saw the steps of temptation: the initial seduction, the illusion; then it grows – the second step; and the third, it grows and others becomes infected and then one justifies oneself. But there is another step: it goes on, it does not stop. For them it was not enough to put Jesus to death, but now even Lazarus, because he was a living witness.

But today I would like to dwell on one of Jesus' words. Six days before the Passover – we are right at the door of the Passion – and Mary makes this gesture of contemplation: Martha served – as the other step – and Mary opens the door to contemplation. And Judas thinks about money and thinks of the poor, but not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and because he kept the common purse, he took what they put in. This story of the unfaithful administrator is always a current one, there is always someone, even at a high level: let's think of some charities or humanitarian organizations that have so many employees, many, who have a structure with many people in it and in the end maybe forty percent actually reaches the poor, because sixty percent goes to pay the salary of so many people. It's a way of taking the poor people's money. But the answer is Jesus. And here I want to pause: "You always have the poor with you"." This is a truth: "The poor in fact you will always have them with you." The poor are there. There are many: there is the poor that we see, but this is the least part; the great quantity of the poor are those who we do not see: the hidden poor. And we do not see them because we enter into this culture of indifference that is denial: "No, no, there are not many, they are not seen; yes, that case ...", always diminishing the reality of the poor. But there are many, many.

Or even, if we do not enter into this culture of indifference, there is a habit of seeing the poor as ornaments of a city: yes, there they are, like statues; yes, there they are, we see them; yes, that old lady begging, that other... But as if it were a normal thing. It is part of the decoration of the city to have poor. But the vast majority are the poor victims of economic policies, of financial policies. Some recent statistics summarised: there is a lot of money in the hands of a few and so many people suffer poverty, many of them. And this is the poverty of so many people who are victims of the structural injustice of the world economy. And there are so many poor people who feel ashamed to reveal that they cannot get to the end of the month; many poor people of the middle class, who go secretly to Caritas and secretly ask and feel shame. There are many more poor than there are rich people; many, many ... And what Jesus says is true: "You always have the poor with you." Do I see them? Do I realize this reality? Especially of the hidden reality, those who feel embarrassed to say that they can't make it to the end of the month.

I remember in Buenos Aires I was told that there was an abandoned factory building, empty for years, that was inhabited by about fifteen families who had arrived in those last months. I went there. They were families with children and each had claimed part of the abandoned factory to live in. And, looking, I saw that every family had good furniture, furniture that was middle class, they had a television, but they went there because they couldn't pay the rent. The new poor who have to leave their home because they can't pay for it, they go there. It is the injustice of economic or financial organization that lead them to this point. And there are many, many, so many that we will meet them at the judgment. The first question Jesus will ask us is: "What did you do with the poor? Did you feed them? When they were in prison, did you visit them? Did you visit them in hospital? Did you help the widow, and the orphan? Because that's where I was." And we will be judged on that. We will not be judged on our luxuries or the travels we make or the our social importance. We will be judged regarding our relationship with the poor. But if I ignore the poor today, I leave them aside, I believe they are not there, the Lord will ignore me on the day of judgment. When Jesus says: "You always have the poor with you", he means: "I, I will always be with you in the poor. I will be there." And this is not being a communist, this is the centre of the Gospel: we will be judged on this.
  
 
Chapter 12

44-50
 
Pope Francis  06.05.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)    Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter     John 12: 44-50

Pope Francis From Darkness to Light 06.05.20

Let us pray today for the men and women who work in the media. In this time of pandemic they risk a lot and the work is a lot. May the Lord help them in this work of always transmitting the truth.

This passage of the Gospel of John (John 12: 44-50) shows us the intimacy that was between Jesus and the Father. Jesus did what the Father told him to do. And for this reason he says: "Whoever believes in me believes not only in me, but also in the one who sent me" (12: 44). Then he spells out his mission: "I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness" (12: 46). He presents himself as light. Jesus' mission is to enlighten: light. He himself said, "I am the light of the world"(John 8:12). The prophet Isaiah had prophesied this light: "The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light"(Mt 4:16 and Is 9:1). The promise of light that will enlighten the people. And, also, the mission of the apostles is to bring light. Paul said this to King Agrippa: "I was chosen to illuminate, to bring this light – which is not mine, it is of another – but to bring light" ( Acts 26:18). It is Jesus' mission: to bring light. And the mission of the apostles is to bring the light of Jesus. To enlighten. Because the world was in darkness.

But the drama of Jesus' light is that it had been rejected. At the beginning of the Gospel, John says it clearly: "He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him." (John 1: 10-11) They loved darkness more than light. Getting used to darkness, living in darkness: they cannot welcome light, they cannot; they are slaves to darkness. And this will be Jesus' struggle, he continues: to enlighten, to bring the light that makes things seem as they are; makes us see freedom, shows the truth, shows the way to go, with the light of Jesus.

Paul had this experience of the transition from darkness to light, when the Lord met him on the road to Damascus. He was blinded. Blind. The light of the Lord blinded him. And then, after a few days, with baptism, the light came back (Acts 9: 1-19). He had this experience of the passage from the darkness in which he was in, to the light. It is also our passage, which we received sacramentally in baptism: for this reason baptism was called, in the first centuries, the Enlightenment because it gave you the light, it "made one enter". For this reason in the baptism ceremony we give a lit candle, a lit candle to the father and mother, because the child, the little girl or boy, is illuminated. Jesus brings light.

But the people, the people, his people rejected it. They are so accustomed to darkness that the light dazzles them. And this is the drama of our sin: sin blinds us and we cannot tolerate the light. We have sick eyes. And Jesus says it clearly, in the Gospel of Matthew: "If your eye is ill, your whole body will be ill. If your eye sees only darkness, how much darkness will there be within you?" ( Mt 6: 22-23) Darkness... And conversion is to move from darkness to light. But what are the things that make our eyes ill, the eyes of faith? Our eyes are sick: what are the things that "pull them down", that blind them? The vices, worldly spirit, and pride.

The vices that "pull you down" and also, these three things – vices, pride, the worldly spirit – lead you to associate with others to stay safe in darkness. We often talk about the mafia: it's that. But there are "spiritual mafias", there are "domestic mafias", always, looking for someone else to cover up and stay in darkness. It is not easy to live in the light. Light makes us see so many ugly things within us that we do not want to see: vices, sins. Let us think of our vices, we think of our pride, we think of our worldly spirit: these things blind us, distance us from the light of Jesus. But if we begin to think of these things, we will not find a wall, no: we will find an exit, because Jesus himself says that he is the light and: "I came into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world" ( John 12: 46-47). Jesus himself, the light, says: "Have courage: let yourself be enlightened, let yourself be seen for what you have inside, because I am the one who brings you forward, to save you. I am not going to condemn you. I want to save you".
 
The Lord saves us from the darkness that we have inside, from the darkness of daily life, of social life, of political life, of national, international life. So much darkness is in it. And the Lord saves us. But he asks us to see them first; have the courage to see our darkness so that the light of the Lord might enter and save us.

Let us not be afraid of the Lord: he is very good, he is gentle, he is close to us. He came to save us. Let us not be afraid of the light of Jesus.
  
 

1-15
 

This is moving. Jesus, washing the feet of his disciples. Peter didn’t understood it at all, he refused. But Jesus explained it for him. Jesus – God – did this! He himself explains to his disciples: “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord – and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you” (Jn 13:12-15).

It is the Lord’s example: he is the most important, and he washes feet, because with us what is highest must be at the service of others. This is a symbol, it is a sign, right? Washing feet means: “I am at your service”. And with us too, don’t we have to wash each other’s feet day after day? But what does this mean? That all of us must help one another. Sometimes I am angry with someone or other … but… let it go, let it go, and if he or she asks you a favour, do it.

Help one another: this is what Jesus teaches us and this what I am doing, and doing with all my heart, because it is my duty. As a priest and a bishop, I must be at your service. But it is a duty which comes from my heart: I love it. I love this and I love to do it because that is what the Lord has taught me to do. But you too, help one another: help one another always. One another. In this way, by helping one another, we will do some good.

Now we will perform this ceremony of washing feet, and let us think, let each one of us think: “Am I really willing, willing to serve, to help others?”. Let us think about this, just this. And let us think that this sign is a caress of Jesus, which Jesus gives, because this is the real reason why Jesus came: to serve, to help us.



Pope Francis  13.04.17 Paliano House of Detention (Frosinone)    Mass of the Lord's Supper    Holy Thursday    John 13: 1-15

 
Pope Francis the Last Supper 13.04.17
Jesus was having supper with them, the Last Supper, and as the Gospel says, he “knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father” (Jn 13:1). He knew he had been betrayed and that he would be handed over by Judas that very night. “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (ibid.). This is how God loves: to the end. He gives His life up for each one of us, and he is proud of this and wants to do this because He has love”; “to love to the end”. It is not easy because we are all sinners. We all have shortcomings, defects, many things. We all know how to love but we are not like God who loves without thinking of the consequences; to the end. And he gives an example. To show this, He who was the “boss”, who was God, washed his disciples’ feet. It was a custom of that time to wash feet before lunch and supper because there was no asphalt and people walked about in the dust. Therefore, one of the gestures to receive someone at home, also for a meal, was to wash their feet. This was done by slaves, those who were enslaved. But Jesus overturns this and does this Himself. Simon did not want him to do it, but Jesus explained that it was so, that he had come into the world to serve, to serve us, to make himself a slave for us, to give his life for us, to love until the end.

Today, as I was arriving, there were many people on the street who were hailing [my arrival]; “the Pope is coming, the boss. The head of the Church...”. The head of the Church is Jesus, no joking around! The Pope represents Jesus and I would like to do the same as He did. In this ceremony, the parish priest washes the feet of the faithful. There is a reversal of roles. The one who appears to be the greatest must do the work of the slave in order to sow love; to sow love among us. I do not say to you today to go and wash each other’s feet. That would be a joke. But the symbol, the example yes: I would say that if you can offer some help, provide a service here in prison to your companion, do so.

Because this is love. This is the way to wash feet; it is being at the service of others. Once, the disciples were arguing amongst themselves as to who was the greatest, the most important one. And Jesus said: “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves”. And this is what He did. This is what God does with us. He serves us. He is the servant. All of us who are “poor things“. Everyone! But he is great. He is good. And he loves us as we are. For this reason, let us think about God, about Jesus, during the ceremony. It is not a ceremony of folklore. It is a gesture to remember what Jesus gave. Following this, he took bread and he gave us His body. He took wine and he gave us His blood. This is how God’s love is. Today, let us only think of God’s love.




Pope Francis   18.04.19   Holy Thursday    Mass of The Lord's Supper   Velletri Prison, Coena Domini, Rome       John 13: 1-15




Jesus carries out an act of service, which was usually done by slaves. He, the Lord who contained in himself all power, carries out the gesture of a slave.

Jesus, then told his disciples to do the same for each other in service.

Be brothers in service: not in ambition but in service.

Each of us needs to be at the service of our neighbour.








Pope Francis Mass of the Lord's Supper 09.04.20

Eucharist, Service, Anointing

This is what we experience in today’s celebration: the Lord who wants to remain with us in the Eucharist. And we become the Lord’s tabernacles, carrying the Lord with us; to the point that he himself tells us: if we do not eat his body and drink his blood, we will not enter the kingdom of heaven. This is a mystery, bread and wine, the Lord with us, within us, inside us.

Service. This gesture is the condition to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, to serve... everyone. But the Lord, in the words he exchanged with Peter (cf. Jn 13:6-9), makes him realize that to enter the kingdom of heaven we must let the Lord serve us, that the servant of God be our servant. And this is hard to understand. If I do not let the Lord be my servant, do not let allow the Lord wash me, help me grow, forgive me, then I will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

And the priesthood too. Today I would like to be close to priests, to all priests, from the most recently ordained right up to the Pope. We are all priests. The bishops too, all of us... we are anointed, anointed by the Lord; anointed to confect the Eucharist, anointed to serve. 

There is no Chrism Mass today – I hope we can have it before Pentecost, otherwise it will have to be postponed to next year – but I cannot let tonight’s Mass pass by without remembering priests. Priests who offer their lives for the Lord, priests who are servants. In these days many of them have died, more than sixty here in Italy, while tending to the sick in hospital, together with doctors and nurses... They are “saints next door”, priests who have given their lives in serving.

I think too of those who are far away. Today I received a letter from a priest, a chaplain in a prison far away, who told me how he was spending this Holy Week with the prisoners. A Franciscan priest. Priests who travel far to bring the Gospel and who die far away. A bishop told me once that the first thing he did on arriving in these mission posts was to go to the cemetery, to the graves of priests who gave their lives there, young priests who died from local diseases because they were not prepared, they didn’t have the antibodies; and no one knew their names: anonymous priests. Then there are the parish priests in the countryside, pastors of four, five, seven little villages in the mountains, who go from one to the other, who know the people. One of them once told me that he knew the name of every person in his villages. I asked him, “Really?” And he told me “I even know the dogs’ names!”. They know everyone. Priestly closeness. Good, good priests.

Today I carry you in my heart and I carry you to the altar. Also priests who are slandered. This happens often today; they cannot walk about freely because people say bad things about them, referring to the scandal from discovering priests who have done bad things. Some of them have told me that they cannot go out wearing clerics because people insult them. Yet they carry on. Priests who are sinners, together with bishops and the Pope who is also a sinner, must not forget to ask forgiveness and learn how to forgive because they know that they need to ask forgiveness and to forgive. We are all sinners. Priests who suffer from crises, who do not know what to do, who live in darkness... 

Today you are all with me, brother priests, at the altar, you who are consecrated. I say to you just one thing: do not be stubborn like Peter. Let your feet be washed, the Lord is your servant, he is close to you, and he gives you strength to wash the feet of others.
 
In this way, conscious of the need to be washed clean, you will be great dispensers of forgiveness. Forgive! Have a big heart that is generous in forgiving. This is the measure by which we will be judged. As you have forgiven, so you will be forgiven, in the same measure. Do not be afraid to forgive. Sometimes we have doubts; look to Christ [he looks to the Crucifix]. There, there is forgiveness for all. Be courageous, also in taking risks, in forgiving, in order to bring consolation. And if you cannot give sacramental pardon at this moment, then at least give the consolation of a brother to those you accompany, leaving the door open for people to return. 

I thank God for the grace of the priesthood, we all give thanks. I thank God for you, priests. Jesus loves you! He asks only that you let him wash your feet.

  
 
Chapter 13
21 - 33

36-38
 

Everyone experiences the dark night of the sinner”, but Jesus “has an embrace” for us all.  the night envelops Judas, it also envelops his heart. It is the worst kind of night, the "night of the corrupt", a "definitive night, when the heart has closed in on itself” in a way that it “does not know how, does not want to" escape from.
The “nighttime of the sinner” is different, it is "temporary" and it is a night with which “we are all familiar”. How many days of this nighttime “have we known”, how many times has night fallen and cast our hearts in darkness.
It is at these times that hope appears and pushes us towards a new encounter with Jesus. “Do not be afraid”, “of this nighttime of the sinner”. The most beautiful thing is to name the sin," confess our sins, and thus experience along with St. Paul who said that his glory was “Christ crucified in his sins. Why? Because he, in his sins, found Christ crucified who forgave him".

"In the middle of the 'night', the many 'nights', the many sins that we commit, because we are sinners, there is always  the embrace of the Lord" that helps us say, "This is my glory. I am a poor sinner, but You are my Savior." The same sweetness that is expressed in the look Christ turned on Peter, who had denied him.  We think of how nice it is to be saints, but also how nice it is to be forgiven  We trust in this encounter with Jesus "and" sweetness of his
forgiveness.


Pope Francis   24.04.16   Holy Mass, St Peter's Square  Jubilee for Boys and Girls    John 13: 31-35 
 
Pope Francis 24.04.16  Holy Mass St Peter's Square
 
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).

Dear
young friends, what an enormous responsibility the Lord gives us today! He tells us that the world will recognize the disciples of Jesus by the way they love one another. Love, in other words, is the Christian’s identity card, the only valid “document” identifying us as Christians. It is the only valid document. If this card expires and is not constantly renewed, we stop being witnesses of the Master. So I ask you: Do you wish to say yes to Jesus’ invitation to be his disciples? Do you wish to be his faithful friends? The true friends of Jesus stand out essentially by the genuine love; not some “pie in the sky” love; no, it is a genuine love that shines forth in their way of life. Love is always shown in real actions. Those who are not real and genuine and who speak of love are like characters is a soap opera, some fake love story. Do you want to experience his love? Do you want this love: yes or no? Let us learn from him, for his words are a school of life, a school where we learn to love. This is a task which we must engage in every day: to learn how to love.

Before all else, love is beautiful, it is the path to happiness. But it is not an easy path. It is demanding and it requires effort. Think, for example, of when we receive a gift. It makes us happy, but receiving a gift means that someone generous has invested time and effort; by their gift they also give us a bit of themselves, a sacrifice they have made. Think too of the gift that your parents and group leaders have given you in allowing you to come to Rome for this Jubilee day dedicated to you. They planned, organized, and prepared everything for you, and this made them happy, even if it meant that they had to give up a trip for themselves. This is putting love into action. To love means to give, not only something material, but also something of one’s self: one’s own time, one’s friendship, one’s own abilities.

Look to the Lord, who is never outdone in generosity. We receive so many gifts from him, and every day we should thank him… Let me ask you something. Do you thank the Lord every day? Even if we forget to do so, he never forgets, each day, to give us some special gift. It is not something material and tangible that we can use, but something even greater, a life-long gift. What does the Lord give to us? He offers us his faithful friendship, which he will never take back. The Lord is a friend forever. Even if you disappoint him and walk away from him, Jesus continues to want the best for you and to remain close to you; he believes in you even more than you believe in yourself. This is an example of genuine love that Jesus teaches to us. This is very important! Because the biggest threat to growing up well comes from thinking that no one cares about us - and that is always a sadness - from feeling that we are all alone. The Lord, on the other hand, is always with you and he is happy to be with you. As he did with his first disciples, he looks you in the eye and he calls you to follow him, to “put out into the deep” and to “cast your nets wide” trusting in his words and using your talents in life, in union with him, without fear. Jesus is waiting patiently for you. He awaits your response. He is waiting for you to say “yes”.

Dear young friends, at this stage in your lives you have a growing desire to demonstrate and receive affection. The Lord, if you let him teach you, will show you how to make tenderness and affection even more beautiful. He will guide your hearts to “love without being possessive”, to love others without trying to own them but letting them be free. Because love is free! There is no true love that is not free! The freedom that the Lord gives to us is his love for us. He is always close to each one of us. There is always a temptation to let our affections be tainted by an instinctive desire to “have to have” what we find pleasing; this is selfishness. Our consumerist culture reinforces this tendency. Yet when we hold on too tightly to something, it fades, it dies, and then we feel confused, empty inside. The Lord, if you listen to his voice, will reveal to you the secret of love. It is caring for others, respecting them, protecting them and waiting for them. This is putting tenderness and love into action.

At this point in life you feel also a great longing for freedom. Many people will say to you that freedom means doing whatever you want. But here you have to be able to say no. If you do not know how to say “no”, you are not free. The person who is free is he or she who is able to say “yes” and who knows how to say “no”. Freedom is not the ability simply to do what I want. This makes us self-centred and aloof, and it prevents us from being open and sincere friends; it is not true to say “it is good enough if it serves me”. No, this is not true. Instead, freedom is the gift of being able to choose the good: this is true freedom. The free person is the one who chooses what is good, what is pleasing to God, even if it requires effort, even if it is not easy. I believe that you young men and women are not afraid to make the effort, that you are indeed courageous! Only by courageous and firm decisions do we realize our greatest dreams, the dreams which it is worth spending our entire lives to pursue. Courageous and noble choices. Do not be content with mediocrity, with “simply going with the flow”, with being comfortable and laid back. Don’t believe those who would distract you from the real treasure, which you are, by telling you that life is beautiful only if you have many possessions. Be sceptical about people who want to make you believe that you are only important if you act tough like the heroes in films or if you wear the latest fashions. Your happiness has no price. It cannot be bought: it is not an app that you can download on your phones nor will the latest update bring you freedom and grandeur in love. True freedom is something else altogether.

That is because love is a free gift which calls for an open heart; love is a responsibility, but a noble responsibility which is life-long; it is a daily task for those who can achieve great dreams! Woe to your people who do not know how to dream, who do not dare to dream! If a person of your age is not able to dream, if they have already gone into retirement… this is not good. Love is nurtured by trust, respect and forgiveness. Love does not happen because we talk about it, but when we live it: it is not a sweet poem to study and memorize, but is a life choice to put into practice! How can we grow in love? The secret, once again, is the Lord: Jesus gives us himself in the Mass, he offers us forgives and peace in Confession. There we learn to receive his love, to make it ours and to give it to the world. And when loving seems hard, when it is difficult to say no to something wrong, look up at Jesus on the cross, embrace the cross and don’t ever let go of his hand. He will point you ever higher, and pick you up whenever you fall. Throughout life we will fall many times, because we are sinners, we are weak. But there is always the hand of God who picks us up, who raises us up. Jesus wants us to be up on our feet! Think of the beautiful word Jesus said to the paralytic: “Arise!”. God has created us to be on our feet. There is a lovely song that mountain climbers sing as they climb. It goes like this: “In climbing, the important thing is not to not fall, but to not remain fallen!. To have the courage to pick oneself up, to allow oneself to be raised up by Jesus. And his hand is often given through the hand of a friend, through the hand of one’s parents, through the hand of those who accompany us throughout life. Jesus himself is present in them. So arise! God wants us up on our feet, ever on our feet!

I know that you are capable of acts of great friendship and goodness. With these you are called to build the future, together with others and for others, but never against anyone! One never builds “against”; this is called “destruction”. You will do amazing things if you prepare well, starting now, by living your youth and all its gifts to the fullest and without fear of hard work. Be like sporting champions, who attain high goals by quiet daily effort and practice. Let your daily programme be the works of mercy. Enthusiastically practice them, so as to be champions in life, champions in love! In this way you will be recognized as disciples of Jesus. In this way, you will have the identification card of the Christian. And I promise you: your joy will be complete.


Pope Francis    19.05.19  Regina Caeli, St Peter's Square  5th Sunday of Easter Year C    John 13: 31-35

Pope Francis 19.05.19 Talks about Love
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today's Gospel takes us to the upper room for us hear some the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples in His "Farewell Address" before his passion. After washing the feet of the Twelve, He tells them: "I give you a new commandment: "Love one another, you must love one another just as I have loved you", (Jn 13.34). But in what sense is Jesus calling this commandment new? Because we know that already in the Old Testament God had commanded his people to love their neighbour as they loved themselves (cf. Lev 19.18). Jesus himself, when asked about the greatest commandment of the law, replied that the first is to love God with all their heart and the second to love one's neighbour as oneself (cf. Mt -39 22.38).

So what is the novelty of this commandment that Jesus entrusts to his disciples? Why call it a new commandment ? The old commandment of love has became new because it has been completed with this addition: "as I have loved you", "love one another as I have loved you." The novelty lies in the love of Jesus Christ, the love with which He gave up his life for us. This is about God's universal love, which is without conditions and without limits, which fins its apex on the cross. In that moment of extreme abasement of self, and abandonment to the Father, the Son of God has shown and given to the world the fullness of love. Thinking back to the passion and Christ's agony, the disciples understood the meaning of those words: "as I have loved you, so you too must love one another."

Jesus loved us first, He loved us in spite of our frailties, our limitations and our human weaknesses. It was He who ensured that we might become worthy of his love that knows no limits and never ends. Giving us the new commandment, He asks us to love one another not only with our love, but with His love, that the Holy Spirit instils in our hearts if we invoke him with faith. In this way and only then can we love each other not only as we love ourselves, but as He loves us, that is immensely more. God loves us far more than we love ourselves. And so we can spread the seed of love that renews relationships between people and opens horizons of love. Jesus always open horizons of hope, His love open horizons of hope. This love makes us new men, brothers and sisters in the Lord, and makes us the new people of God, that is, the Church, in which all are called to love Christ and in Him to love one another.

Love to which we are called to live as manifested in the cross of Christ is the only force that transforms our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh; the only force capable of transforming our heart is the love of Jesus, if we too love with this love. This love makes us capable of loving our enemies and forgiving those who have offended. I will ask you a question, that each of you must answer in their heart. Am I able to love my enemies? All of us have people, maybe they are people that are not enemies, but are people that we don't get along with, or we have people who have offended us; we are capable of loving these people. That man or woman who has wounded me, and offended me. I am capable of forgiving them. I invite each one of you to respond in your hearts. The love of Jesus makes the other person a current or future member of the community of Jesus friends . This love stimulates us to dialog and helps us to listen to each other and know each other. Love opens us to the other and becomes the basis of human relationships. It enables us to overcome weaknesses and prejudices. The love of Jesus in us creates bridges, teaches new ways, and triggers the dynamism of fraternity. May the Virgin Mary help us, with her maternal intercession, to welcome her son Jesus for the gift of his commandment, and from the Holy Spirit the strength to practice it in everyday life.

  
 
 Chapter 14

1 - 12

 

Faith is not alienation or a crooked deal, but a path of beauty and truth marked out by Jesus to prepare our eyes to gaze without glasses at “the marvellous face of God”, in the definitive dwelling place prepared for each one of us. It is an invitation not to let ourselves be gripped by fear and to live life as a preparation for seeing better, hearing better and loving more.

John (14:1-6). “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself...that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going”.

Jesus’ words, are very beautiful. At a time of taking leave, Jesus speaks to his disciples from his heart. He knows they are sad, for they realize that things are not going well. So now Jesus encourages them, cheers them, reassures them and unfolds before them a horizon of
hope. “Let not your hearts be troubled”.

“I am going to prepare a place for you”. What is this preparation? How is it done? What is this place like? What does preparing the place mean? Renting a room in heaven? Preparing a place means preparing “our capacities for enjoying, for seeing, for hearing and for understanding the beauty of what awaits us, of that homeland for which we are bound”.

Lord give us this strong hope and the courage to greet the homeland from afar. And may he give us the humility to let ourselves be prepared, that is, to let the Lord prepare the definitive dwelling place in our heart, in our sight and in our hearing.




Pope Francis  08.05.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)   Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter       John 14: 1-6

Pope Francis - Consolation - 08.05.20

Today is World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day. Let us pray for the people who work in these worthy institutions: that the Lord bless their work that does so much good.

This conversation of Jesus with the disciples takes place at the table, again at the last supper (John 14: 1-6). Jesus is sad and everyone is sad: Jesus said that he would be betrayed by one of them ( John 13:21) and everyone senses that something bad would happen. Jesus begins to console them: because one of the offices, "of the works" of the Lord is consoling. The Lord consoles his disciples and here we see what Jesus' way of consoling is. We have many ways of comforting, from the most authentic, to the those that are more formal, such as those telegrams of condolences: "Deeply saddened for...". It doesn't console anyone, it's a sham, it's the consolation of formality. But how does the Lord console ? This is important to know, because we too, when we have to go through moments of sadness in our lives, learn to perceive what the true consolation of the Lord is. 

And in this passage of the Gospel we see that the Lord always consoles in closeness, with truth and hope. These are the three features of the Lord's consolation. In close proximity, never distant. The beautiful words: "I am here." "I am here, with you." And so often in silence. But we know he's there. He's always there. That closeness that is the style of God, even in the Incarnation, to be close to us. The Lord consoles in closeness. And he does not use empty words, indeed: he prefers silence. The power of closeness, of presence. And he speaks little. But he's close.

A second feature of Jesus' closeness, of Jesus' way of consoling, is the truth: Jesus is truthful. He doesn't say formal things that are lies: "No, don't worry, everything will pass, nothing will happen, it will pass, things pass...".No. He says the truth. He doesn't hide the truth. Because he himself in this passage says: "I am the truth" (John 14:6). And the truth is, "I'm going to go," that is, "I'm going to die" (14: 2-3). We are facing death. It's the truth. And he says it simply and he also says it gently, without hurting: we are facing death. He doesn't hide the truth.

And this is the third feature: Jesus consoles through hope. Yes, it's a bad time. But "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith also in me" (14: 1). I going to tell you something Jesus says, "There are many rooms in my Father's house. I'm going to prepare a place for you" (14: 2). He goes first to open the doors, the doors of that place through which we will all pass, so I hope: "I will come back again and take you with me, so that where I am you may be too" (14: 3). The Lord returns whenever any of us are on our way out of this world. "I will come and I will take you": hope. He will come and take us by the hand and take us. He doesn't say: "No, you will not suffer: it is nothing...". No. He tells the truth: "I am close to you, this is the truth: it is a bad moment, of danger, of death. But do not let your heart be troubled, remain in peace, that peace that is the basis of all consolation, because I will come and take you by the hand to where I will be."

It is not easy to be consoled by the Lord. Many times, in bad times, we get angry with the Lord and do not let him come and speak to us like this, with this tenderness, with this closeness, with this gentleness, with this truth and with this hope.

Let us ask for the grace to learn to allow ourselves be consoled by the Lord. The Lord's consolation is truthful, not deceiving. It's not anaesthesia, no. But it is close, it is truthful and he opens the doors of hope for us.




Pope Francis  10.05.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)     Acts 6: 1-7,      John 14: 1-12   
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Pope Francis Prayer 10.05.20

In these past two days, there have been two commemorations: the 70th anniversary of Robert Schuman's declaration, that gave birth to the European Union, and also the commemoration of the end of the war. Let us ask the Lord for Europe today to grow together, in this unity of brotherhood that makes all peoples grow in unity in diversity.


In this passage of the Gospel (John 14: 1-14), is Jesus' farewell speech, Jesus says he is going to the Father. And he says that he will be with the Father and that those who believe in him will accomplish the works that he does and will accomplish even greater than those, because he is going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me something in my name, I will do it. We can say that this passage from the Gospel of John is the declaration of the ascension to the Father. 

The Father has always been present in Jesus' life, and Jesus spoke of it. Jesus prayed to the Father. And many times, he spoke of the Father who takes care of us, and how he takes care of the birds, the lilies of the field. The Father. And when the disciples asked him to how to pray, Jesus taught them to pray the "Our Father". He always goes to the Father. But in this passage it is very strong; and also it is as if he opened the doors of the all powerfulness of prayer. "Because I am going to the Father: whatever you ask in my name, I will do, everything. so that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14: 12-13). This trust in the Father, trust in the Father who is able to do everything. This courage to pray, because it takes courage to pray! It takes the same courage, the same boldness as to preach: the same.

Let us think of our father Abraham, when he - I think it is said - "haggled" with God to save Sodom ( Gen 18: 20-33): "What if they were less? And less? And less?...." Really, he knew how to negotiate. But always with this courage: "Excuse me, Lord, but give me a discount: a little less, a little less...". Always the courage of the struggle in prayer, because praying is to fight: to battle with God. And then, Moses: twice that the Lord would have wanted to destroy the people ( Exd 32:1-35 and Nm 11:1-3) and make him the leader of another people, Moses said "No!". And he said "no" to the Father! With courage! But if you go to pray like this – whispers a timid prayer – this is a lack of respect! Praying is going with Jesus to the Father who will give you everything. Courage in prayer, frankness in prayer. The same that is needed for preaching.

And we heard in the first Reading that conflict in the early days of the Church ( Acts 6:1-7), because Christians of Greek origin murmured – they complained, already at that time this was done: you see that it is a habit of the Church. They murmured because their widows, their orphans were not well cared for; the apostles had no time to do so many things. And Peter, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, "invented", let us say, the deacons. "Let's do something: we're looking for seven people who are good and for these men can take care of this service" ( Acts 6:2-4). The deacon is the guardian of service in the Church. And so these people, who are right to complain, are well cared for in their needs "and we," Peter says, "we will devote ourselves to prayer and the proclamation of the Word" (6: 5). This is the bishop's task: to pray and preach. With this strength that we have felt in the Gospel: the bishop is the first who goes to the Father, with the confidence that Jesus gave, with courage, with the parish, to fight for his people. A bishop's first task is to pray. Peter said it: "And to us, prayer and the proclamation of the Word."

I met a priest, a holy, good parish priest, who when he met a bishop greeted him, always asked the question: "Your Excellency, how many hours a day do you pray?", and he always said this: "Because the first task is to pray." Because it is the prayer of the head of the community for the community, the intercession to the Father to take care of the people.

The bishop's prayer, the first task: to pray. And the people, seeing the bishop pray, learn to pray. Because the Holy Spirit teaches us that it is God who "does things. We do a little bit, but it is he who does the things for the Church, and prayer is the one that carries the Church forward. And for this reason, the leaders of the Church, that is to say, the bishops, must go forward with prayer.

That word of Peter is prophetic: "Let deacons do all this, so people are well cared for and the problems are solved and even their needs. But to us, bishops, prayer and the proclamation of the Word."

It is sad to see good bishops good, good people, but busy with so many things, the finances, and this and that and that and that. Prayer first. Then, the other things. But when other things take away from prayer, something doesn't work. And prayer is strong for what we have heard in the Gospel of Jesus: "I will go to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son"(John 14: 12-13) So the Church progresses, with prayer, the courage of prayer, because the Church knows that without this access to the Father it cannot survive.



Pope Francis  10.05.20  Regina Caeli, Apostolic Palace Library    Fifth Sunday of Easter - Year A       John 14:1-12

Pope Francis  How to get to Heaven 10.05.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In today's Gospel passage (John 14:1-12) we hear the beginning of Jesus' so-called "farewell discourse." These are the words he addressed to the disciples at the end of the last Supper, just before facing the Passion. In such a dramatic moment Jesus began by saying, "Do not let your hearts be troubled." He says it to us, too, in the dramas of life. But how can we make sure that our hearts are not troubled? Because our hearts do become troubled.

The Lord points out two remedies to being troubled. The first is, "Believe in me" (14: 1). It would seem to be rather theoretical, or abstract advice. Instead Jesus wants to tell us something specific. He knows that, in life, the worst anxiety, anguish, comes from the feeling of not being able to cope, from feeling alone and without points of reference when faced with events. This anguish, in which difficulties are added to difficulties, cannot be overcome alone. We need Jesus' help, and that is why Jesus asks us to have faith in him, that is, not to rely on ourselves, but on him. Because liberation from being troubled requires trust. Relying on Jesus, taking the leap. And this is the freedom from being troubled. And Jesus has risen and is alive precisely to be always by our side. So we can say to him, "Jesus, I believe that you have risen and that you are by my side. I believe that you are listening to me. I bring you what upsets me, my troubles: I have faith in you and I entrust myself to you."

Then there is a second remedy to being troubled, which Jesus expresses with these words: "In my Father's house there are many rooms. I'm going to prepare a place for you" (14: 2). This is what Jesus did for us: he reserved us a place in Heaven. He took our humanity upon himself to take it beyond death, to a new place, to Heaven, so that where he is, we might also be there. It is the certainty that consoles us: there is a reserved place for everyone. There's a place for me, too. Each of us can say: there is a place for me. We do not live aimlessly and without destination. We are expected, we are precious. God is in love with us, we are his children. And for us he has prepared the most worthy and beautiful place: Paradise. Let us not forget this: the dwelling place that awaits us is Paradise. Here we are passing through. We are made for Heaven, for eternal life, to live forever. Forever: it's something we can't even imagine now. But it is even more beautiful to think that this forever will be entirely in joy, in full communion with God and with others, without more tears, without resentments, without divisions and troubles.

But how to reach Heaven? What's the way? This is the decisive sentence of Jesus. Today he says: "I am the way" (14: 6). To ascend to Heaven the way is Jesus: it is to have a living relationship with him, it is to imitate him in love, it is to follow his steps. And I, a Christian, you, a Christian, each of us Christians, can ask ourselves: "What path do I follow?" There are ways that do not lead to Heaven: the ways of worldliness, the ways of self-assertion, the ways of selfish power. And there is the way of Jesus, the way of humble love, of prayer, of meekness, of trust, of service to others. It is not the way that puts me at the centre, it is the way of Jesus being the centre of my life. It is to go ahead every day asking him: "Jesus, what do you think of my choice? What would you do in this situation, with these people?" It will do us good to ask Jesus, who is the way, for the directions to Heaven. May Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, help us to follow Jesus, who opened Heaven for us.



  
 
Chapter 14

15-16

21-29

27-31
 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is brave of you to come here in this rain … May the Lord bless you abundantly!

As part of the journey of the Year of Faith, I am happy to celebrate this Eucharist dedicated in a special way to confraternities: a traditional reality in the Church, which in recent times has experienced renewal and rediscovery. I greet all of you with affection, particularly the confraternities which have come here from all over the world! Thank you for your presence and your witness!

1. In the Gospel we heard a passage from the farewell discourses of Jesus, as related by the evangelist John in the context of the Last Supper. Jesus entrusts his last thoughts, as a spiritual testament, to the apostles before he leaves them. Today’s text makes it clear that Christian faith is completely centred on the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Whoever loves the Lord Jesus welcomes him and his Father interiorly, and thanks to the Holy Spirit receives the Gospel in his or her heart and life. Here we are shown the centre from which everything must go forth and to which everything must lead: loving God and being Christ’s disciples by living the Gospel. When Benedict XVI spoke to you, he used this expression: evangelical spirit. Dear confraternities, the popular piety of which you are an important sign is a treasure possessed by the Church, which the bishops of Latin America defined, significantly, as a spirituality, a form of mysticism, which is “a place of encounter with Jesus Christ”. Draw always from Christ, the inexhaustible wellspring; strengthen your faith by attending to your spiritual formation, to personal and communitarian prayer, and to the liturgy. Down the centuries confraternities have been crucibles of holiness for countless people who have lived in utter simplicity an intense relationship with the Lord. Advance with determination along the path of holiness; do not rest content with a mediocre Christian life, but let your affiliation serve as a stimulus, above all for you yourselves, to an ever greater love of Jesus Christ.

2. The passage of the Acts of the Apostles which we heard also speaks to us about what is essential. In the early Church there was immediately a need to discern what was essential about being a Christian, about following Christ, and what was not. The apostles and the other elders held an important meeting in Jerusalem, a first “council”, on this theme, to discuss the problems which arose after the Gospel had been preached to the pagans, to non-Jews. It was a providential opportunity for better understanding what is essential, namely, belief in Jesus Christ who died and rose for our sins, and loving him as he loved us. But note how the difficulties were overcome: not from without, but from within the Church. And this brings up a second element which I want to remind you of, as Benedict XVI did, namely: ecclesial spirit. Popular piety is a road which leads to what is essential, if it is lived in the Church in profound communion with your pastors. Dear brothers and sisters, the Church loves you! Be an active presence in the community, as living cells, as living stones. The Latin American Bishops wrote that the popular piety which you reflect is “a legitimate way of living the faith, a way of feeling that we are part of the Church” (Aparecida Document, 264). This is wonderful! A legitimate way of living the faith, a way of feeling that we are part of the Church. Love the Church! Let yourselves be guided by her! In your parishes, in your dioceses, be a true “lung” of faith and Christian life, a breath of fresh air! In this Square I see a great variety: earlier on it was a variety of umbrellas, and now of colours and signs. This is also the case with the Church: a great wealth and variety of expressions in which everything leads back to unity; the variety leads back to unity, and unity is the encounter with Christ.

3. I would like to add a third expression which must distinguish you: missionary spirit. You have a specific and important mission, that of keeping alive the relationship between the faith and the cultures of the peoples to whom you belong. You do this through popular piety. When, for example, you carry the crucifix in procession with such great veneration and love for the Lord, you are not performing a simple outward act; you are pointing to the centrality of the Lord’s paschal mystery, his passion, death and resurrection which have redeemed us, and you are reminding yourselves first, as well as the community, that we have to follow Christ along the concrete path of our daily lives so that he can transform us. Likewise, when you express profound devotion for the Virgin Mary, you are pointing to the highest realization of the Christian life, the one who by her faith and obedience to God’s will, and by her meditation on the words and deeds of Jesus, is the Lord’s perfect disciple (cf. Lumen Gentium, 53). You express this faith, born of hearing the word of God, in ways that engage the senses, the emotions and the symbols of the different cultures … In doing so you help to transmit it to others, and especially the simple persons whom, in the Gospels, Jesus calls “the little ones”. In effect, “journeying together towards shrines, and participating in other demonstrations of popular piety, bringing along your children and engaging other people, is itself a work of evangelization” (Aparecida Document, 264). When you visit shrines, when you bring your family, your children, you are engaged in a real work of evangelization. This needs to continue. May you also be true evangelizers! May your initiatives be “bridges”, means of bringing others to Christ, so as to journey together with him. And in this spirit may you always be attentive to charity. Each individual Christian and every community is missionary to the extent that they bring to others and live the Gospel, and testify to God’s love for all, especially those experiencing difficulties. Be missionaries of God’s love and tenderness! Be missionaries of God’s mercy, which always forgives us, always awaits us and loves us dearly.

Evangelical spirit, ecclesial spirit, missionary spirit. Three themes! Do not forget them! Evangelical spirit, ecclesial spirit, missionary spirit. Let us ask the Lord always to direct our minds and hearts to him, as living stones of the Church, so that all that we do, our whole Christian life, may be a luminous witness to his mercy and love. In this way we will make our way towards the goal of our earthly pilgrimage, towards that extremely beautiful shrine, the heavenly Jerusalem. There, there is no longer any temple: God himself and the lamb are its temple; and the light of the sun and the moon give way to the glory of the Most High. Amen.


Pope Francis            19.05.13 St Peter's Square, Rome   Solemnity of Pentecost         Acts 2: 1-11   John 14: 15-16, 23B-26

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/holy-spirit/19.05.13.jpg

Today we contemplate and re-live in the liturgy the outpouring of the Holy Spirit sent by the risen Christ upon his Church; an event of grace which filled the Upper Room in Jerusalem and then spread throughout the world.

But what happened on that day, so distant from us and yet so close as to touch the very depths of our hearts? Luke gives us the answer in the passage of the Acts of the Apostles which we have heard (2:1-11). The evangelist brings us back to Jerusalem, to the Upper Room where the apostles were gathered. The first element which draws our attention is the sound which suddenly came from heaven “like the rush of a violent wind”, and filled the house; then the “tongues as of fire” which divided and came to rest on each of the apostles. Sound and tongues of fire: these are clear, concrete signs which touch the apostles not only from without but also within: deep in their minds and hearts. As a result, “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit”, who unleashed his irresistible power with amazing consequences: they all “began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability”. A completely unexpected scene opens up before our eyes: a great crowd gathers, astonished because each one heard the apostles speaking in his own language. They all experience something new, something which had never happened before: “We hear them, each of us, speaking our own language”. And what is it that they are they speaking about? “God’s deeds of power”.

In the light of this passage from Acts, I would like to reflect on three words linked to the working of the Holy Spirit: newness, harmony and mission.

   1. Newness always makes us a bit fearful, because we feel more secure if we have everything under control, if we are the ones who build, programme and plan our lives in accordance with our own ideas, our own comfort, our own preferences. This is also the case when it comes to God. Often we follow him, we accept him, but only up to a certain point. It is hard to abandon ourselves to him with complete trust, allowing the Holy Spirit to be the soul and guide of our lives in our every decision. We fear that God may force us to strike out on new paths and leave behind our all too narrow, closed and selfish horizons in order to become open to his own. Yet throughout the history of salvation, whenever God reveals himself, he brings newness - God always brings newness -, and demands our complete trust: Noah, mocked by all, builds an ark and is saved; Abram leaves his land with only a promise in hand; Moses stands up to the might of Pharaoh and leads his people to freedom; the apostles, huddled fearfully in the Upper Room, go forth with courage to proclaim the Gospel. This is not a question of novelty for novelty’s sake, the search for something new to relieve our boredom, as is so often the case in our own day. The newness which God brings into our life is something that actually brings fulfilment, that gives true joy, true serenity, because God loves us and desires only our good. Let us ask ourselves today: Are we open to “God’s surprises”? Or are we closed and fearful before the newness of the Holy Spirit? Do we have the courage to strike out along the new paths which God’s newness sets before us, or do we resist, barricaded in transient structures which have lost their capacity for openness to what is new? We would do well to ask ourselves these questions all through the day.

   2. A second thought: the Holy Spirit would appear to create disorder in the Church, since he brings the diversity of charisms and gifts; yet all this, by his working, is a great source of wealth, for the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of unity, which does not mean uniformity, but which leads everything back to harmony. In the Church, it is the Holy Spirit who creates harmony. One of Fathers of the Church has an expression which I love: the Holy Spirit himself is harmony – “Ipse harmonia est”. He is indeed harmony. Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity, while at the same time building unity. Here too, when we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and other, we bring division. When we are the ones who want to build unity in accordance with our human plans, we end up creating uniformity, standardization. But if instead we let ourselves be guided by the Spirit, richness, variety and diversity never become a source of conflict, because he impels us to experience variety within the communion of the Church. Journeying together in the Church, under the guidance of her pastors who possess a special charism and ministry, is a sign of the working of the Holy Spirit. Having a sense of the Church is something fundamental for every Christian, every community and every movement. It is the Church which brings Christ to me, and me to Christ; parallel journeys are very dangerous! When we venture beyond (proagon) the Church’s teaching and community – the Apostle John tells us in his Second Letter - and do not remain in them, we are not one with the God of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Jn v. 9). So let us ask ourselves: Am I open to the harmony of the Holy Spirit, overcoming every form of exclusivity? Do I let myself be guided by him, living in the Church and with the Church?

   3. A final point. The older theologians used to say that the soul is a kind of sailboat, the Holy Spirit is the wind which fills its sails and drives it forward, and the gusts of wind are the gifts of the Spirit. Lacking his impulse and his grace, we do not go forward. The Holy Spirit draws us into the mystery of the living God and saves us from the threat of a Church which is gnostic and self-referential, closed in on herself; he impels us to open the doors and go forth to proclaim and bear witness to the good news of the Gospel, to communicate the joy of faith, the encounter with Christ. The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events which affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures. The Holy Spirit is the supreme gift of the risen Christ to his apostles, yet he wants that gift to reach everyone. As we heard in the Gospel, Jesus says: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to remain with you forever” (Jn 14:16). It is the Paraclete Spirit, the “Comforter”, who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the Gospel! The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drive us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission? Today let us remember these three words: newness, harmony and mission.

   Today’s liturgy is a great prayer which the Church, in union with Jesus, raises up to the Father, asking him to renew the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. May each of us, and every group and movement, in the harmony of the Church, cry out to the Father and implore this gift. Today too, as at her origins, the Church, in union with Mary, cries out: “Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love!” Amen.


Pope Francis   01.05.16    Regina Caeli,  St Peter's Square            John 14: 23-29

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today’s Gospel takes us back to the Upper Room. During the Last Supper, before confronting his passion and death on the cross, Jesus promises the Apostles the gift of the
Holy Spirit, who will have the task of teaching and recalling Jesus’ words to the community of disciples. Jesus says: “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (Jn 14:26). Teach and recall. This is what the Holy Spirit does in our hearts.

At the moment in which he is about to return to the Father, Jesus foretells of the coming of the Spirit who will first teach the disciples to understand the Gospel ever more fully, in order to welcome it in their existence and to render it living and operative by their witness. While he is about to entrust to the Apostles — which in fact means “envoys” — the mission of taking the Gospel to all the world, Jesus promises that they will not be alone. The Holy Spirit, the Counselor, will be with them, and will be beside them, moreover, will be within them, to protect and support them. Jesus returns to the Father but continues to accompany and teach his disciples through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The second aspect of the Holy Spirit’s mission consists in helping the Apostles to remember Jesus’ words. The Spirit has the task of reawakening the memory, recalling Jesus’ words. The divine Teacher has already communicated all that he intended to entrust to the Apostles: with Him, the Word made flesh, the revelation is complete. The Spirit will recall Jesus’ teachings in the various concrete circumstances of life, so that they may be put into practice. That is precisely what still happens today in the Church, guided by the light and the power of the Holy Spirit, so that he may bring to everyone the gift of salvation, which is the love and mercy of God. For example, each day when you read — as I have advised you — a passage, a passage of the Gospel, ask the Holy Spirit: “Let me understand and remember these words of Jesus”. Then read the passage, every day.... But first the prayer to the Spirit, who is in our heart: “Let me remember and understand”.

We are not alone: Jesus is close to us, among us, within us! His new presence in history happens through the gift of the Holy Spirit, through whom it is possible to instil a living relationship with Him, the Crucified and Risen One. The Spirit, flowing within us through the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, acts in our life. He guides us in the way to think, to act, to distinguish between what is good and what is bad; he helps us to practice the charity of Jesus, his giving of himself to others, especially to the most needy. We are not alone! The sign of the presence of the Holy Spirit is also the peace that Jesus gives to his disciples: “My peace I give to you” (v. 27). It is different from what mankind hopes for or tries to achieve. The peace of Jesus flows from victory over sin, over selfishness which impedes us from loving one another as brothers and sisters. It is a gift of God and a sign of his presence. Each disciple called today to follow Jesus carrying the cross, receives within him- or herself the peace of the Crucified and Risen One in the certainty of his victory and in expectation of his definitive coming.

May the Virgin Mary help us to welcome with docility the Holy Spirit as interior Teacher and as the living Memory of Christ on the daily journey.



Pope Francis    15.05.16   Holy Mass, Vatican Basilica   Solemnity of Pentecost    John 14: 18,    Romans 8: 8-17 

 
Pope Francis  15.05.16  Pentecost

“I will not leave you orphans” (Jn 14:18).

The central purpose of Jesus mission, which culminated in the gift of the
Holy Spirit, was to renew our relationship with the Father, a relationship severed by sin, to take us from our state of being orphaned children and to restore us as his sons and daughters.

The Apostle Paul, writing to the Christians in Rome, says: “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the sp
irit of sonship, which enables us to cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Rom 8:14-15). Here we see our relationship renewed: the paternity of God is re-established in us thanks to the redemptive work of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is given to us by the Father and leads us back to the Father. The entire work of salvation is one of “re-generation”, in which the fatherhood of God, through the gift of the Son and the Holy Spirit, frees us from the condition of being orphans into which we had fallen. In our own day also, we see various signs of our being orphans: in the interior loneliness which we feel even when we are surrounded by people, a loneliness which can become an existential sadness; in the attempt to be free of God, even if accompanied by a desire for his presence; in the all-too-common spiritual illiteracy which renders us incapable of prayer; in the difficulty in grasping the truth and reality of eternal life as that fullness of communion which begins on earth and reaches full flower after death; in the effort to see others as “brothers” and “sisters”, since we are children of the same Father; and other such signs.

Being children of God runs contrary to all this and is our primordial vocation. We were made to be God’s children, it is in our DNA. But this filial relationship was ruined and required the sacrifice of God’s only-begotten Son in order to be restored. From the immense gift of love which is Jesus’ death on the cross, the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon humanity like a vast torrent of grace. Those who by faith are immersed into this mystery of regeneration are reborn to the fullness of filial life.

“I will not leave you orphans”. Today, on the feast of Pentecost, Jesus’ words remind us also of the maternal presence of Mary in the Upper Room. The Mother of Jesus is with the community of disciples gathered in prayer: she is the living remembrance of the Son and the living invocation of the Holy Spirit. She is the Mother of the Church. We entrust to her intercession, in a particular way, all Christians, families and communities that at this moment are most in need of the Spirit, the Paraclete, the Defender and Comforter, the Spirit of truth, freedom and peace.

The Spirit, as Saint Paul says, unites us to Christ: “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Rom 8:9). Strengthening our relationship of belonging to the Lord Jesus, the Spirit enables us to enter into a new experience of fraternity. By means of our universal Brother – Jesus – we can relate to one another in a new way; no longer as orphans, but rather as children of the same good and merciful Father. And this changes everything! We can see each other as brothers and sisters whose differences can only increase our joy and wonder at sharing in this unique fatherhood and brotherhood.



Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, which completes the Season of Easter, 50 days after the Resurrection of Christ. The liturgy invites us to open our mind and our heart to the gift of the
Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised on several occasions to his disciples: the first and most important gift that he obtained for us with his Resurrection. Jesus himself asked the Father for this gift, as today’s Gospel Reading attests, during the Last Supper. Jesus says to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you for ever” (Jn 14:15-16).

These words remind us first of all that love for a person, and for the Lord, is shown not with words but with deeds; and also, “observing the commandments” should be understood in the existential sense, so as to embrace the whole of life. In fact, being Christian does not mean mainly belonging to a certain culture or adhering to a certain doctrine, but rather joining one’s own life, in all its aspects, to the person of Jesus and, through Him, to the Father. For this purpose Jesus promises the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to his disciples. Owing to the Holy Spirit, to the Love that unites the Father and the Son and proceeds from them, we may all live the very life of Jesus. The Spirit, in fact, teaches us all things, that is, the single indispensable thing: to love as God loves.

In promising the Holy Spirit, Jesus defines him as “another Counsellor” (v. 16), which means Paraclete, Advocate, Intercessor, in other words, the One who helps us, protects us, is at our side on the journey of life and in the struggle for good and that against evil. Jesus says “another Counsellor” because He is the first, He himself, who became flesh precisely to take our human condition upon himself and free it from the slavery of sin.

Moreover, the Holy Spirit plays a role in teaching and remembrance. Teaching and remembrance. Jesus told us: “the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (v. 26). The Holy Spirit does not bring a different teaching, but renders alive and brings into effect the teaching of Jesus, so that the passage of time may neither erase nor diminish it. The Holy Spirit instils this teaching in our heart, helps us to internalize it, making it become a part of us, flesh of our flesh. At the same time, he prepares our heart to be truly capable of receiving the words and example of the Lord. Every time the word of Jesus is received with joy in our heart, this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray the Regina Caeli together — for the last time this year —, invoking the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary. May she obtain for us the grace to be deeply inspired by the Holy Spirit, to witness with evangelical simplicity to Christ, opening ourselves ever more fully to his love.



Pope Francis  21.05.17  Regina Caeli, St Peter's Square       6th Sunday of Easter Year A        John 14: 15-21


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Good morning!

Today’s Gospel (cf. Jn 14:15-21), the continuation of that of last Sunday, takes us back to the moving and dramatic moment of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples. John the Evangelist gathers from the lips and heart of the Lord His last teachings, before His Passion and death. Jesus promises his friends, at that sad, dark moment, that after him, they will receive “another Paraclete” (v. 16). This word means another “Advocate”, another Defender, another Counsellor: “the Spirit of Truth” (v. 17); and he adds, “I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you” (v. 18). These words convey the joy of a new Coming of Christ. He, Risen and glorified, dwells in the Father and at the same time comes to us in the Holy Spirit. And in his new coming, he reveals our union with him and with the Father: “You will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (v. 20).

Today, by meditating on these words of Jesus, we perceive with the sense of faith that we are the People of God in communion with the Father and with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. The Church finds the inexhaustible source of her very mission, which is achieved through love, in this mystery of communion. Jesus says in today’s Gospel: “He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (v. 21). So, love introduces us to the knowledge of Jesus, thanks to the action of this “Advocate” that Jesus sent, that is, the Holy Spirit. Love for God and neighbour is the greatest commandment of the Gospel. The Lord today calls us to respond generously to the Gospel’s call to love, placing God at the centre of our lives and dedicating ourselves to the service of our brothers and sisters, especially those most in need of support and consolation.

If ever there is an attitude that is never easy, even for a Christian community, it is precisely how to love oneself, to love after the Lord’s example and with his grace. Sometimes disagreements, pride, envy, divisions, leave their mark even on the beautiful face of the Church. A community of Christians should live in the charity of Christ, and instead, it is precisely there that the evil one “sets his foot in” and sometimes we allow ourselves to be deceived. And those who pay the price are those who are spiritually weaker. How many of them — and you know some of them — how many of them have distanced themselves because they did not feel welcomed, did not feel understood, did not feel loved. How many people have distanced themselves, for example, from some parish or community because of the environment of gossip, jealousy, and envy they found there. Even for a Christian, knowing how to love is never a thing acquired once and for all. We must begin anew every day. We must practice it so that our love for the brothers and sisters we encounter may become mature and purified from those limitations or sins that render it incomplete, egotistical, sterile, and unfaithful. We have to learn the art of loving every day. Listen to this: every day we must learn the art of loving; every day we must patiently follow the school of Christ. Every day we must forgive and look to Jesus, and do this with the help of this “Advocate”, of this Counsellor whom Jesus has sent to us that is the Holy Spirit.

May the Virgin Mary, the perfect disciple of her Son and Lord, help us to be more and more docile to the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, to learn every day how to love each other as Jesus loved us.



Pope Francis   26.05.19   Regina Caeli, St Peter's Square        6th Sunday of Easter Year C        John 14: 23-29

Pope Francis 26.05.19  Regina Caeli

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

The Gospel of this Sixth Sunday of Easter presents us with a passage from the speech that Jesus gave to the Apostles at the last supper (cf. Jn -29 14.23). He speaks of the work of the
Holy Spirit and makes a promise: "the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, that the Father will send in my name, he will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I told you" (v. 26). As the moment of the cross approaches, Jesus reassures the Apostles that they will not be left alone: the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, will always be there with them to support them in their mission of proclaiming the Gospel throughout the whole world. In the original Greek, the word "Paraclete" means the one who stands beside another, in order to support and console. Jesus returns to the Father, but He continues to instruct and animate His disciples through the action of the Holy Spirit.

What is the Mission of the Holy Spirit who Jesus promises as a gift? He himself says: "He will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I told you". In the course of His earthly life, Jesus has already transmitted all that He wanted to entrust to the Apostles: He brought divine revelation to completion, that is everything that the Father meant to say to humanity through the incarnation of the Son. The Holy Spirit's task is to make people remember, in other words to make them fully understand and encourage them to concretely implement the teachings of Jesus. And this is also the Mission of the Church, which carries it out through a precise way of life, characterized by certain requirements: faith in the Lord and the observance of His word; docility to the action of the spirit, who continually makes the risen Lord alive and present; the acceptance of His peace and the witness born of Him through an attitude of openness and encounter with others.

To accomplish this the Church cannot remain stationary, but, through the active participation of each baptized person, she is called upon to act as a community on a journey, animated and sustained by the light and power of the Holy Spirit who makes all things new. It is a question of freeing ourselves from the worldly bonds represented by our views, our strategies, our objectives, which often weigh down the journey of faith, and to ask us to listen to the word of the Lord. Thus it is the spirit of God who guides us and guides the Church so that her authentic face beautiful and luminous willed by Christ may shine forth.

Today the Lord invites us to open our hearts to the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that He may guide us along the paths of history. He teaches us, day by day, the logic of the Gospel, the logic of welcoming love, "teaching us everything" and "reminding us of all that the Lord has told us." May Mary, who in this month of May we venerate and to whom we pray with special devotion as our Heavenly Mother, always protect the Church and all humanity. May she who, with humble and courageous faith, cooperated fully with the Holy Spirit in the incarnation of the Son of God, also help us to let ourselves be instructed and guided by the Paraclete, so that we can accept the word of God and bear witness to it with our lives.



Pope Francis  11.05.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)   Monday of the Fifth Week of Easter    John 14: 21-26

Pope Francis  Holy Spirit 11.05.20

We join the faithful of Termoli on the feast of the discovery of the body of St. Timothy today. In these days many people have lost their jobs; they have not been re-employed, they worked illegally. Let us pray for these brothers and sisters of ours who suffer from this lack of work.

Today's Gospel passage is Jesus' farewell at the Last Supper (John 14: 21-26). The Lord ends with this verse: "I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name, he will teach you everything and remind you of all I told you" (14: 25-26). It is the promise of the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit who lives in us and who the Father and the Son send. "The Father will send him in my name," Jesus said, to accompany us in life. And they call him the Paraclete or Advocate. This is the role of the Holy Spirit. In Greek, the Paràclete is the one who supports, who accompanies so that you don't fall, who keeps you firm, who is close to you to support you. And the Lord has promised us this support, who is God like him: he is the Holy Spirit. What does the Holy Spirit do in us? The Lord tells us: "He will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have told you"( 26). Teaching and remembering. This is the role of the Holy Spirit. He teaches us: he teaches us the mystery of faith, he teaches us to enter into the mystery, to understand the mystery a little more. He teaches us the doctrine of Jesus and teaches us how to develop our faith without making mistakes, because doctrine grows, but always in the same direction: it grows in understanding. And the Holy Spirit helps us grow in understanding faith, understanding it more, understanding what faith says. Faith is not a static thing; doctrine is not a static thing: it grows. It grows as the trees grow, always the same, but larger, with fruit, but always the same, in the same direction. And the Holy Spirit prevents doctrine being wrong, it prevents it from standing still there, without growing in us. He will teach us the things that Jesus has taught us, he will develop in us an understanding of what Jesus has taught us, he will grow the doctrine of the Lord in us, to maturity.

And another thing Jesus says, that the Holy Spirit does, is to remind: "He will remind you of all that I have told you" (26). The Holy Spirit is like memory, he wakes us up: "But remember that, remember the other"; he keeps us awake, always awake in the Lord's things, and also reminds us of our lives: "Think of that moment, think about when you met the Lord, think about when you left the Lord."

I once heard that one person prayed before the Lord like this: "Lord, I am the same one who, as a child, as a boy, had these dreams. Then, I went along the wrong paths. Now you've called me." I am the same: this is the memory of the Holy Spirit in one's life. He brings you to the memory of salvation, to the memory of what Jesus taught, but also to
the memory of one's life. And this made me think – this gentleman said – a beautiful way of praying, looking at the Lord: "I am the same. I've walked a lot, I've been wrong, but I'm the same and you love me." The memory of life's journey.

And in this memory, the Holy Spirit guides us; guides us to discern, to discern what I have to do now, what is the right path and what is wrong, even in small decisions. If we ask the Holy Spirit for light, He will help us discern to make the right decisions, the small ones of every day, and the greatest. He is who accompanies us, supports us in discernment. That is the Holy Spirit who teaches, will teach us everything, that is him who makes faith grow, who introduces us into the mystery, it is the Holy Spirit who reminds us. He reminds us of faith, he reminds us of our lives, and it is the Holy Spirit that in this teaching, in this memory, teaches us to discern the decisions we must make. And to the Gospel gives a name to the Holy Spirit: yes, Paràclete, because he supports you, but another more beautiful name: he is the Gift of God. The Holy Spirit is the Gift of God. The Holy Spirit is precisely the Gift. "I will not leave you alone, I will send you a Paràclete who will support you and help you move forward, remember, discern, and grow." The Gift of God is the Holy Spirit.

May the Lord help us to guard this gift that he has given us in Baptism and that we all have within us.



Pope Francis  12.05.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)    Tuesday of the Fifth Week of Easter    John 14: 27-31

Pope Francis  Peace 12.05.20

Today is Nurse's Day. I sent a message yesterday. Let us pray today for the nurses, men, women, and young people, who practice this profession, which is more than a profession, it is a vocation, a dedication. May the Lord bless them. In this time of the pandemic they have set an example of heroism and some have given their lives. Let us pray for the nurses.


The Lord greets his people before leaving and gives then the gift of peace (John 14: 27-31), the peace of the Lord: "I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you" (14: 27). It is not about universal peace, that peace without wars that we all want to be there always, but the peace of the heart, the peace of the soul, the peace that each of us has within us. And the Lord gives it but, emphasises, "not as the world gives " (see 27). 

How does the world give peace and how does the Lord give it? Are they different types of peace? Yes. The world gives you "inner peace", we are talking about this, the peace of your life, this living with your heart in peace. It gives you inner peace as your possession, as a thing that is yours and isolates you from others, keeps you in you, it is your acquisition: I have peace. And without realizing it, you close yourself in that peace, it is a peace a little for you, for one; it is a lonely peace, it is a peace that makes you calm, even happy. And in this tranquillity, in this happiness you fall asleep a little; it anesthetizes you and makes you stay with yourself in a certain tranquillity. It's a little selfish: peace for me, closed in on me. This is how the world gives it (see v. 27). It's an expensive peace because you have to constantly change the instruments of peace: when you get excited about one thing, it gives you peace, then it ends and you have to find another. It's expensive because it's temporary and sterile.

Instead, the peace that Jesus gives is something else. It's a peace that sets you in motion: it doesn't isolate you, it sets you up, it makes you go to others, it creates communities, it creates communication. That of the world is expensive, Jesus' is free, it is free; it is a gift from the Lord: the peace of the Lord. It's fruitful, it always moves you forward. 

An example from the Gospel that makes me think of what world peace is like, is that gentleman who had the barns full and that year's harvest seemed to be bountiful and he thought, "But I'll have to build more barns, other barns to put this in and then I'll be tranquil. It's my peace of mind, with this I can live peacefully." "Fool, says God, tonight you will die" ( Luke 12: 13-21). It is a temporary peace, which does not open the door to the afterlife. Instead the peace of the Lord is open to where he has gone, is open to Heaven, is open to Paradise. It is a fruitful peace that opens oneself up and also brings others with you to Paradise. 

I think it will help us to think a little: what is my peace, where do I find peace? In things, in well-being, in travel – but now, today we cannot travel – in possessions, in so many things, or do I find peace as a gift of the Lord? Do I have to pay for peace or do I receive it for free from the Lord? What is my peace? When I miss something, do I get angry? This is not the Peace of the Lord. This is one of the tests. Am I calm in my peace, "Do I fall asleep"? It's not the Lord's. Am I at peace and want to communicate it to others and accomplish something? That is the peace of the Lord! Even in bad, difficult times, does that peace remain in me? It's the Lord's. And the peace of the Lord is fruitful also for me because it is full of hope, that is, it looks toward Heaven. 

Yesterday. Excuse me if I say about these things, but these are things about my life that do me good. Yesterday I received a letter from a priest, a good priest, and he told me that I speak little of Heaven, that I should speak more. And he's right, he's right. That is why today I wanted to emphasize this: that peace, the one that Jesus gives us, is a peace for now and for the future. It is to start living in Heaven, with the fruitfulness of Heaven. It's not anaesthesia. The other, yes: you anaesthetize yourself with the things of the world and when the dose of this anaesthesia ends you take another and another and another. This is a definitive, fruitful and contagious peace. It is not narcissistic, because it always looks to the Lord. The other one looks at you, it's a little narcissistic.

May the Lord give us this peace full of hope, which makes us fruitful, makes us communicative with others, that creates community and that always looks to the definitive peace of Heaven.



Pope Francis  17.05.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)     Sixth Sunday of Easter      John 14: 15-21

Pope Francis Talks about the Holy Spirit 17.05.20

Today our prayer is for the many people who clean hospitals, the streets, empty the trash cans, who go to houses to take away the garbage: a job that no one sees, but it is a job that is necessary to survive. Let the Lord bless them and help them.

When Jesus takes his leave of the disciples (John 14: 15-21), Jesus gives them tranquillity and peace, with a promise: "I will not leave you orphans" (v. 18). He defends them from that pain, from that painful sense of being orphans. Today in the world there is a great sense of being orphans: many have many things, but the Father is missing. And in the history of humanity this is repeated: when the Father is missing, something is lacking and there is always the desire to meet, to find the Father, even in ancient myths. Let us think of the myths of Oedipus, Telemachus and many others: always looking for the Father who is missing. 

Today we can say that we live in a society where the Father is missing, a sense of being orphans that touches belonging and fraternity. For this reason Jesus promises: "I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate" (v. 16). "I am leaving," Jesus says, "but another will come and teach you the way to the Father. He will remind you how to access the Father." The Holy Spirit does not come to make us his clients; he comes to show us the way to the Father, to remind us how to access the Father, which is what Jesus opened to us, what Jesus showed us. There is no spirituality only of the Son, only of the Holy Spirit: the centre is the Father. The Son is sent by the Father and returns to the Father. The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father to remind us and teach us how to access the Father.

Only with this awareness of being children who are not orphans, can we live in peace among ourselves. Always wars, both small wars or big wars, always have a dimension of being orphans: the Father who makes peace is missing. For this reason, Peter at the first community says "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you why you are Christians, for a reason for your hope"( 1Pt 3: 15-18), "but, do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear" (v. 16), that is the gentleness that the Holy Spirit gives. The Holy Spirit teaches us this meekness, this sweetness of the Father's children. The Holy Spirit does not teach us to insult. And one of the consequences of the sense of orphanage is insult, wars, because if there is no Father there are no brothers and sisters, fraternity is lost. Sweetness, respect, meekness are attitudes of belonging, of belonging to a family that is sure they have a Father.

"I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate"(John 14: 16) who will remind you how to access the Father, he will remind you that we have a Father who is the centre of everything, the origin of everything, the unity of everything, the salvation of everyone because he sent his Son to save us all. And now he sends the Holy Spirt to remind us: how to access  the Father and this fatherhood, this fraternal attitude of meekness, of sweetness, of peace.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to always, always remind us of this access to the Father, that He reminds us that we have a Father, and to this civilization, which has a great sense of being orphaned. may He grant them the grace to find the Father, the Father who gives meaning to all life and makes men and women a family.





Pope Francis  17.05.20 Regina Caeli, Apostolic Palace Library    Sixth Sunday of Easter - Year A        John 14: 15-21 

Pope Francis Regina Caeli 17.05.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

This Sunday's Gospel passage (John 14: 15-21) presents two messages: the observance of the commandments and the promise of the Holy Spirit

Jesus links love for him to the observance of the commandments, and he insists on this in his farewell address: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (v. 15); "Whoever has my commandments and observes them, is the one who loves me." (14: 21) Jesus asks us to love him, but he explains: this love does not end in a desire for him, or in a feeling, no, it demands the willingness to follow his path, that is, the will of the Father. And this is summarised in the commandment of reciprocal love – the first love – given by Jesus himself: "Love one another, as I have loved you" (John 13: 34). He did not say, "Love me, as I have loved you," but "love one another as I have loved you." He loves us without asking us to do the same in return. Jesus love is gratuitous , he never asks us for love in return. And he wants his gratuitous love to become the concrete form of life among us: this is his will.

To help the disciples walk this path, Jesus promises that he will pray to the Father to send "another Paraclete" (v. 16), that is, a consoler, a defender who will take his place and give them the intelligence to listen and the courage to observe his words. This is the Holy Spirit, who is the Gift of God's Love that descends into the heart of the Christian. After Jesus died and rose again, his love is given to those who believe in him and are baptized in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit himself guides them, enlightens them, strengthens them, so that everyone can walk in life, even through adversity and difficulty, in joys and sorrows, remaining in Jesus' path. This is possible precisely by remaining docile to the Holy Spirit, so that, through His presence at work in us, He can not only console but transform hearts, opening them to truth and love.

Faced with the experience of error and sin – which we all do – the Holy Spirit helps us not to succumb and enables us to grasp and live fully the meaning of Jesus' words: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (v. 15). The commandments are not given to us as a kind of mirror, in which to see the reflection of our miseries, our inconsistencies. No, it's not like that. The Word of God is given to us as a Word of life, which transforms the heart, which renews, which does not judge to condemn, but heals and has forgiveness as its end. God's mercy is like this. A Word that is light for our steps. And all this is the work of the Holy Spirit! He is the Gift of God, he is God himself, who helps us to be free people, people who want and know how to love, people who have understood that life is a mission to proclaim the wonders that the Lord accomplishes in those who trust Him. 

May the Virgin Mary, a model of the Church who knows how to listen to the Word of God and welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit, help us to live the Gospel with joy, knowing that we are sustained by the Spirit, a divine fire who warms our hearts and illuminates our steps.


  
 
Chapter 15

1-8

 
Pope Francis    03.05.15    Regina Caeli, St Peter's Square      John 15: 1-8

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today’s Gospel shows us Jesus during the Last Supper, in the moment He knows His death is close at hand. His ‘hour’ has come. For it is the last time He is with His disciples, and now He wants to impress firmly a fundamental truth in their minds: even when He will no longer be physically present in the midst of them, they will still be able to remain united to Him in a new way, and thus bear much fruit. Everyone can be united to Jesus in a new way. If, on the contrary, one should lose this unity with Him, this union with Him, would become sterile, or rather, harmful to the community. And to express this reality, this new way of being united to Him, Jesus uses the image of the vine and the branches: Just “as a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches” (Jn 15:4-5). With this image He teaches us how to abide with Him, to be united to Him, even though He is not physically present.

Jesus is the vine, and through Him — like the sap in the tree — the very love of God, the Holy Spirit is passed to the branches. Look: we are the branches, and through this parable, Jesus wants us to understand the importance of remaining united to him. The branches are not self-sufficient, but depend totally on the vine, in which the source of their life is found. So it is with us
Christians. Grafted by Baptism in Christ, we have freely received the gift of new life from Him; and thanks to the Church we are able to remain in vital communion with Christ. We must remain faithful to Baptism, and grow in intimacy with the Lord through prayer, listening and docility to His Word — read the Gospel —, participation in the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation.

When one is intimately united to Jesus, he enjoys the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are — as St Paul tells us — “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22). These are the gifts that we receive if we remain united in Jesus; and therefore a person who is so united in Him does so much good for neighbour and society, is a Christian person. In fact, one is recognized as a true Christian by this attitude, as a tree is recognized by its fruit. The fruits of this profound union with Christ are wonderful: our whole person is transformed by the grace of the Spirit: soul, understanding, will, affections, and even body, because we are united body and soul. We receive a new way of being, the life of Christ becomes our own: we are able to think like Him, to act like Him, to see the world and the things in it with the eyes of Jesus. And so we are able to love our brothers, beginning with the poorest and those who suffer the most, as He did and love them with His heart, and so bear fruits of goodness, of charity, and of peace in the world.

Each one of us is a branch of the one vine; and all of us together are called to bear the fruits of this common membership in Christ and in the Church. Let us entrust ourselves to the intercession of the Virgin Mary, so that we might be able to be living branches in the Church and witness to our faith in a consistent manner — consistency of one’s own life and thought, of life and faith — knowing that all of us, according to our particular vocations, participate in the one saving mission of Christ.



Pope Francis   13.05.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)   Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter     John 15: 1-8 

Pope Francis Remain 13.05.20

Let us pray today for the students, the children who are studying, and the teachers who must find new ways to move forward in teaching. May the Lord help them on this path, give them courage and also great success. 

The Lord returns to "remain in Him", and tells us: "Christian life is to remain in me." Remain (John 15: 1-8). And here he uses the image of the vine, how the branches remain on the vine. And this remain is not a passive remain, a falling asleep in the Lord: this would perhaps be a beatific sleep; but that's not it. This remain is an active remain, and also is a mutual remain. Why? Because He says, "Remain in me and I in you" (v .4). He also remains in us, not only us in Him. It's a mutual remain. In another part he says: I and my Father "we will come to him and make our home with him"(John 14:23). This is a mystery, but a mystery of life, a beautiful mystery. This mutual remaining. Even with the example of the vine: it is true, the branches without the vine can do nothing because the sap doesn't get to them, they need the sap to grow and to bear fruit. But also the tree, the vine needs branches, otherwise the fruits are not attached to the tree, to the vine. It is a mutual need, it is a reciprocal remain to bear fruit.

And this is Christian life: it is true, Christian life is to carry out the commandments (Ex 20, 1-11), this must be done. Christian life is to follow the way of the Beatitudes (Mt 5: 1-13): this must be done. Christian life is to carry on the works of mercy, as the Lord teaches us in the Gospel (Mt 25: 35-36): and this must be done. But even more: it is this mutual remaining. We without Jesus cannot do anything, like the branches without the vine. And He – let me say it – without us it seems that He can do nothing, because the fruit comes from the branches, not the tree, the vine. In this community, in this intimacy of remaining fruitful, the Father and Jesus remain in me and I remain in Them. 

And it comes to my mind to say, what is the need that the tree, the vine has for the branches? It's bearing fruit. What is the need - let's say a little boldly - what is the need that Jesus has for us? The testimony. When he says in the Gospel that we are light, he says, "Be the light, so that men may see your good deeds and glorify the Father"(Mt 5:16), that is, witness is the need that Jesus has for us. To bear witness to his name, so that faith, the Gospel grows by our testimony.

This is a mysterious way: Jesus glorified in heaven, having passed through the Passion, needs our testimony to grow, to proclaim, for the Church to grow. And this is the mutual mystery of "remaining." He, the Father and the Spirit remain in us, and we remain in Jesus.

It will do us good to think and reflect on this: to remain in Jesus; and Jesus remains in us. To remain in Jesus to have the sap, the strength, to have the justification, the gratuitousness, to have fertility. And He remains in us to give us the strength to the bear fruit (John 15: 5), to give us the strength to witness with which the Church grows.
And one question, I ask myself: what is the relationship between Jesus remaining in me and I remaining in Him? It's a relationship of intimacy, a mystical relationship, a wordless relationship. "But Father, but this, let the mystics do it!" No, this is for all of us. With small thoughts: "Lord, I know you are there: give me strength and I will do what you tell me." That intimate dialogue with the Lord. The Lord is present, the Lord is present in us, the Father is present in us, the Holy Spirit is present in us; they remain in us. But I have to remain in Them.

May the Lord help us to understand, to feel this mystery of remaining on which Jesus insists so much, so much, so much. Many times when we talk about the vine and the branches we stop at the image of the work of the farmer, the Father: the one that bears fruit he prunes, that is, he prunes, and those that don't bear fruit he cuts and throws away (John 15: 1-2). It's true, he does this, but that's not all, no. There's more. This is the help: the trials, the difficulties of life, even the corrections that the Lord gives us. But let's not stop there. Between the vine and the branches there is this intimate remaining. We, the brances, need the sap, and the vine needs the fruits, our testimony.


  
 

Chapter 15

9 - 17



 Pope Francis     14.05.13 Holy Mass Santa Marta       John 15: 9-17

Jesus says something remarkable to us: ‘Greater
love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’. Love always takes this path: to give one’s life. To live life as a gift, a gift to be given — not a treasure to be stored away. And Jesus lived it in this manner, as a gift. And if we lives life as a gift, we does what Jesus wanted: ‘I appointed you that you should go and bear fruit’”. So, we must not burn out life with selfishness.

Judas, whose attitude was contrary to the person who loves, for “he never understood — poor thing — what a gift is”. Judas was one of those people who does not act in altruism and who lives in his own world. On the contrary, the latter was the attitude of “Mary Magdalene, when she washed Jesus’ feet with a nard — very costly. It is a “religious” moment, said the Bishop of Rome, “a moment of thanksgiving, a moment of love”.




Pope Francis  13.05.20 General Audience, Library of the Apostolic Palace      Catechesis: 2. Christian Prayer      John 15: 15-16

Pope Francis General Audience about Prayer 13.05.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today we take the second step in the journey of catechesis on prayer, which began last week.

Prayer belongs to everyone: to men and women of all religions, and probably also to those who do not profess any religion. Prayer is born within the secrecy of ourselves, in that inner place that spiritual authors often call the heart (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church,2562-2563). To pray, therefore, is not something peripheral in us , it is not some second place or marginal faculty, rather it is the most intimate mystery of ourselves. It is this mystery that prays. Our emotions pray, but it cannot be said that prayer is only emotion. Intelligence prays, but praying is not just an intellectual act. The body prays, but one can speak to God even in the most serious disability. It is therefore every part of the human person who prays, if his or her heart prays.

Prayer is an impulse, it is an invocation that goes beyond ourselves: something that is born in the depths of our person and reaches out, because it feels the nostalgia for an encounter. That nostalgia that is more than a need, more than a necessity: it is a way. Prayer is the voice of an "I" groping, groping, groping, in search of a "You". The meeting between the "I" and the "You" cannot be done with calculators: it is a human encounter and many times we proceed to grope to find the "You" that my "I" is looking for.

Christian prayer, on the other hand, comes from a revelation: the "You" has not been shrouded in mystery, but has entered into a relationship with us. Christianity is the religion that continually celebrates the "manifestation" of God, that is, his epiphany. The first feasts of the liturgical year are the celebration of this God who does not remain hidden, but who offers his friendship to men and women. God reveals his glory in the poverty of Bethlehem, in the contemplation of the Magi, in the baptism at the Jordan, in the wonder of the wedding of Cana. The Gospel of John concludes with a concise statement the great hymn of the Prologue: "No one has never seen God: The only Son, God who is at the Father's side, has revealed him" (John 1:18). It was Jesus who revealed God to us.

The prayer of the Christian enters into a relationship with the God with a tender face, who does not want to incite any fear to men. This is the first characteristic of Christian prayer. If men and women had always been accustomed to approach God a little intimidated, a little frightened by this fascinating and tremendous mystery, if they had become accustomed to venerating him with a servile attitude, similar to that of a subject who does not want to disrespect his lord, Christians turn instead to Him daring to call him in a confident way by the name of "Father". Indeed, Jesus uses the other word: "Dad."

Christianity has banned all feudal relations from the connection with God. In the heritage of our faith there are no expressions such as "subjection", "slavery" or "vassal"; but words like "covenant," "friendship," "promise," "communion," "closeness." In his long farewell address to the disciples, Jesus says thus: "I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, because everything I have heard from the Father I have made known to you. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you so that you will go and bear fruit and your fruit will remain; so that all you ask in my name of the Father, he will give you"(John 15: 15-16). But this is a blank cheque: "Everything you ask of my Father in my name, I will give you"! So let's try it out.

God is the friend, the ally, the groom. In prayer we can establish a relationship of confidence with him, so much so that in the "Our Father" Jesus taught us to ask him a series of questions. To God we can ask for anything, anything; to explain everything, to tell everything. It does not matter if in our relationship with God we feel at fault: we are not good friends, we are not grateful children, we are not faithful spouses. He continues to love us. It is what Jesus definitively demonstrates in the Last Supper, when he says: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you" (Luke 22: 20). In that gesture in the upper room Jesus anticipates the mystery of the Cross. God is a faithful ally: if men stop loving, he continues to love, even if love leads him to Calvary. God is always near the door of our hearts and waits for us to open. And sometimes he knocks on the heart but he is not intrusive: he waits. God's patience with us is the patience of a father, of one who loves us so much. I'd say, it's the patience of a dad and a mom together. Always close to our hearts, and when he knocks he does so with tenderness and with much love.

Let us all try to pray like this, entering into the mystery of the Covenant. Let us place ourselves in prayer in the merciful arms of God, to feel embraced in that mystery of happiness that is the Trinitarian life, to feel like guests who did not deserve so much honour. And let us repeat to God, in the wonder of prayer: is it possible that You know only love? He doesn't know hate. He's hated, but he doesn't know hate. He only knows love. This is the God to whom we pray. This is the glowing core of every Christian prayer. The God of love, our Father who waits for us and accompanies us.



  
 

 Chapter 15

18-21

 
Pope Francis   04.05.13  Holy Mass  Santa Marta         John 15: 18-21

So many Christian communities, are persecuted throughout the world. In this time more than in the early times, no? Today, now, this day, this hour. Why? But why does the spirit of the world hate?. Persecution usually comes after a long road. Think, how the prince of the world tried to trick Jesus in the desert, tempting especially his vanity. Jesus never answered this prince with his own words but with the word of God. You cannot dialogue with the prince of the world. Dialogue is necessary between us, necessary for peace. Dialogue is a habit, it is precisely and attitude that we must have among us, to hear one another, to understand one another. It is must always be maintained. Dialogue is born of charity, of love. But with that prince though, you cannot dialogue; you can only answer him with the Word of God wh0 defends us. The prince of the world, hates us. And what he did with Jesus, he will do with us. With a little word here, a trifle there, he will lead us down a path of injustice. It begins with the little things, “softening us” to the point that “we fall into the trap. Jesus tell us 'I send you like lambs in the midst of wolves'. Be prudent, but simple.”

Jesus is meek and humble of heart. And today, this makes one thing of that hate that the prince of the world has against us, against the followers of Jesus. And let us ponder the weapons that we have to defend ourselves: let us remain lambs forever, because then we will have a shepherd to defend us.





Pope Francis   16.05.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)     Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter      John 15: 18-21

Pope Francis Talks about Worldliness 16.05.20

Let us pray today for the people who are responsible for burying the dead in this pandemic. It is one of the works of mercy to bury the dead and of course it is not a pleasant thing. Let us pray for them who also risk their lives and may catch the infection.

Jesus speaks of the world several times, and especially in his farewell address to the apostles, (John 15: 18-21). And here he says, "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first" (v. 18). Clearly he is speaking of the hatred that the world had towards Jesus and will have towards us. And in the prayer he says at the table with the disciples at the Last Supper, he asks the Father not to take them out of the world, but to defend them from the spirit of the world (John 17: 15).

I believe that we can ask ourselves: what is the spirit of the world? What is this worldliness, capable of hating, of destroying Jesus and his disciples, even of corrupting them and of corrupting the Church? What is the spirit of the world, what is it, it will do us good to think about it. It is a style of life, worldliness. But some people think it's worldliness to party, to live in parties. No, no. It could be that, but it's not that essentially.

Worldliness is a culture; it is a culture of the ephemeral, a culture of appearance, of make up, a culture "of today yes tomorrow no, tomorrow yes and today no". It has superficial values. A culture that knows no fidelity, because it changes according to circumstances, everything is negotiable. This is the worldly culture, the culture of worldliness. And Jesus insists on defending us from this and prays that the Father will defend us from this culture of worldliness. It's a throw-away culture, according to what's convenient. It's a culture without fidelity, it has no roots. But it is a way of life, a way of life also of many who say they are Christians. They are Christians but they are worldly.

Jesus, in the parable of the seed that falls into the earth, says that the preoccupations of the world, that is worldliness,  stifle the Word of God, does not allow it to grow (Luke  8: 7). And Paul to the Galatians says: "You were slaves of the world, to worldliness" (Gal 4: 3). It always strikes me when I read the last pages of the book of the father de Lubac: "The meditations on the Church" (cf Henri de Lubac, Meditations on the Church, Milan 1955), the last three pages, where he speaks precisely of spiritual worldliness. And he says it is the worst of evils that can happen to the Church; and he does not exaggerate, because then he tells about some evils that are terrible, and this is the worst: spiritual worldliness, because it is a hermeneutic of life, is a way of life; even a way of living Christianity. And to survive the preaching of the Gospel, it hates, it kills.

When we speak about the martyrs who are killed out of hatred of the faith, yes it is true, for some, hatred was for a theological problem; but they weren't the majority. In most cases it is worldliness that hates faith and kills them, as they did with Jesus.

It is curious: worldliness, some might say to me: "But father, this is a superficiality of life". Let's not deceive ourselves! Worldliness is not superficial at all! It has deep roots, deep roots. It is chameleon-like, it changes, it comes and goes depending on the circumstances, but the substance is the same: a proposal of life that enters everywhere, even in the Church. Worldliness, worldly hermeneutics, make-up, everything can be made up to appear like this.

The Apostle Paul came to Athens, and was impressed when he saw in the areopagus so many monuments to the gods. And he thought of talking about this: "You are a religious people, I see this. The altar to the 'unknown god' has attracted my attention. I know him and I come to tell you who he is." And he began to preach the Gospel. But when he arrived at the cross and the resurrection they were shocked and left (Acts 17: 22-33). There is one thing that worldliness does not tolerate: the scandal of the Cross. It will not tolerate it. And the only medicine against the spirit of worldliness is Christ who died and rose for us, scandal and foolishness (1Cor 1: 23).

That is why when the Apostle John in his first letter deals with the theme of the world, he says: "The victory that conquers the world is our faith"(1 John 5: 4). The only one: faith in Jesus Christ, who died and rose. And that doesn't mean being fanatical. This does not mean neglecting to have dialogue with all people, no, but it's about the conviction of faith, starting from the scandal of the Cross, the foolishness of Christ and also the victory of Christ. "This is our victory," says John, "our faith."

Let us ask the Holy Spirit in these last days, even in the novena of the Holy Spirit, in the last days of the Easter season, for the grace to discern what is worldliness and what is the Gospel, and to not be deceived, because the world hates us, the world hated Jesus and Jesus prayed that the Father would defend us from the spirit of the world (John 17 :15).


  
 

 Chapter 16

5-11

 
Pope Francis         08.05.18   Holy Mass  Santa Marta          John 16: 5-11
https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/devil/08.5.18.jpg


John’s Gospel 16: 11 “the ruler of this world has been condemned." Even though the devil is defeated and dying he has a great power and capacity to seduce. He promises many things, bringing us beautifully packed gifts, without revealing their contents.

The devil is like a dying crocodile, who hunters advise not to approach because it can still strike you dead with its tail. Hence the devil is very dangerous, his proposals are all lies and we foolishly believe him.

The devil is the father of lies. He speaks well, he can sing in order to deceive and he is a loser who moves about like a winner. His light dazzles like the fireworks but does not last. Instead the light of the Lord is "gentle and permanent".

The devil knows how to seduce us in our vanity and curiosity and we buy everything, falling into temptation. Knowing that a thought, a desire or move is dangerous and we still go there, it is like approaching the devil who is like a chained angry dog that can still bite.

Unlike Eve who thought herself a “great theologian” and fell, we must never dialogue with the devil because he wins, he is more intelligent than us. On the contrary, Jesus in the desert responds to the devil with the Word of God, hunts down demons, sometimes asking his name but doesn't dialogue.

Jesus advised; watch, do penance and fast. We too must do so but never enter into dialogue with the devil. And in moments of temptation we must approach the mother, like frightened children do. According to the Russian mystics, in times of spiritual upheavals, take refuge under the mantle of the great Mother of God.


Pope Francis     28.05.19   Holy Mass, Santa Marta Tuesday of 6th week of Easter Year C      Acts 16: 22-34,       John 16: 5-11 

Pope Francis  28.05.19  Holy Mass Santa Marta

Sadness is not a Christian attitude. Even if life isn't a Carnival, and there are so many difficulties, you can overcome them and go forward but, it takes daily dialogue with the Holy Spirit, the one who accompanies us.

The central figure of todays Gospel passage is the Holy Spirit. In the farewell speech to His disciples before ascending into heaven, Jesus gives us a true catechesis on the Holy Spirit, He explains who he is. The disciples are sad to hear that their master will soon will leave them and Jesus rebukes them for this, pointing out that although "grief has filled your hearts, (…) it is better for you that I go.


But how can one not be sad? To counter sadness, we pray to the Lord to keep the renewed youth of the spirit within us. It is the Holy Spirit, who ensures that we continue to be renewed and youthful in our faith.

A great Saint said: a Saint is a sad sad Saint. So, a Christian is a sad sad Christian: not right. The Holy Spirit is the one who makes us able to carry our crosses. Today's first reading taken from the Acts of the Apostles, tells the storey of Paul and Silas who had been stripped, beaten, chained and imprisoned, sang hymns to God.

The Holy Spirit renews everything. The Holy Spirit accompanies us in life and sustains us, is the Paraclete. But what a strange name! I remember when as a priest at a mass for children on a Pentecost Sunday I asked them if they knew who is the Holy Spirit. And a child answered: the paralytic. And we too often think that the Holy Spirit is a paralytic, who does nothing ....

Paraclete: the word paraclete means "He who is near me and supports me so that I don’t fall, so I keep my spirit youthful. A Christian is always young: always. and when the heart of a Christian begins to age, so does his Christian vocation.

Either you are young in heart and soul, or you are not fully Christian.

In life there will be pain, Paul and Silas had been beaten and were suffering, but they were full of joy, sang ...

He explained that this is where the "youthful" part comes in as youth looks ahead with hope. But to be able to have this youthful attitude, we need a daily dialogue with the Holy Spirit, who is always with. It is the great gift that Jesus left us this support, that keeps you going.

And even though we are sinners, the Spirit helps us to repent and makes us look ahead. Talk to the spirit, he will give you support and give you back your youth. Sin on the other hand ages: ages the soul, everything gets older. Never this pagan sadness.

In life there are difficult times but at such times we feel that the Spirit helps us move forward (...) and overcome the difficulties. Even martyrdom.

"Let us ask the Lord to not lose this renewed youthfulness, not to be Christians who have lost their joy and not allowed themselves to carry on ... A Christian should never retires; a Christian lives, lives because he is young – when he is a true Christian ".
  
 
Chapter 16
12-15
 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/our-lady/26.05.13.jpg

In his greeting the Parish Priest reminded me of something beautiful about Our Lady. Our Lady, as soon as she had heard the news that she was to be the Mother of Jesus and the announcement that her cousin Elizabeth was expecting a child — the Gospel says — she went to her in haste, she did not wait. She did not say: “But now I am with child I must take care of my health. My cousin is bound to have friends who can care for her”. Something stirred her and she “went with haste” to Elizabeth (cf. Lk 1:39). It is beautiful to think this of Our Lady, of our Mother, that she hastens, because she intends to help. She goes to help, she doesn't go to boast and tell her cousin: “listen, I’m in charge now, because I am the Mother of God!”. No, she did not do that. She went to help! And Our Lady is always like this. She is our Mother who always hurries to us whenever we are in need.

It would be beautiful to add to the Litany of Our Lady something like this: “O Lady who goes in haste, pray for us!”. It is lovely, isn’t? For she always goes in haste, she does not forget her children. And when her children are in difficulty, when they need something and call on her, she hurries to them. This gives us a security, the security of always having our Mother next to us, beside us. We move forward, we journey more easily in life when our mother is near. Let us think of this grace of Our Lady, this grace that she gives us: of being close to us, but without making us wait for her. Always! She — lets us trust in this — she lives to help us. Our Lady who always hastens, for our sake.

Our Lady also helps us to understand God and Jesus well, to understand Jesus’ life well and God’s life, and to understand properly what the Lord is, what the Lord is like and, God is. I ask you children: “Who knows who God is?”. Raise your hand. Tell me? There! Creator of the earth. And how many Gods are there? One? But I have been told that there are three: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! How can this be explained? Is there one or are there three? One? One? And how is it possible to explain that one is the Father, another the Son and the other the Holy Spirit? Louder, Louder! That girl is right. They are three in one, three Persons in one.

And what does the Father do? The Father is the beginning, the Father who created all things, who created us. What does the Son do? What does Jesus do? Who can tell me what Jesus does? Does he love us? And then? He brings the word of God! Jesus comes to teach us the word of God. This is excellent! And what then? What did Jesus do on earth? He saved us! And Jesus came to give his life for us. The Father creates the world; Jesus saves us.

And what does the Holy Spirit do? He loves us! He gives you love! All the children together: the Father creates all, he creates the world; Jesus saves us; and the Holy Spirit? He loves us! And this is Christian life: talking to the Father, talking to the Son and talking to the Holy Spirit. Jesus has saved us, but he also walks beside us in life. Is this true? And how does he walk? What does he do when he walks beside us in life? This is hard. Anyone who knows this wins the Derby! What does Jesus do when he walks with us? Louder! First: he helps us. He leads us! Very good. He walks with us, he helps us, he leads us and he teaches us to journey on.

And Jesus also gives us the strength to work. Doesn’t he? He sustains us! Good! In difficulty, doesn’t he? And also in our school tasks! He supports us, he helps us, he leads us, he sustains us. That’s it! Jesus always goes with us. Good. But listen, Jesus gives us strength. How does Jesus give us strength? You know this, you know that he gives us strength! Louder, I can’t hear you! In Communion he gives us strength, he really helps us with strength. He comes to us. But when you say, “he gives us Communion”, does a piece of bread make you so strong? Isn’t it bread? Is it bread? This is bread, but is what is on the altar bread? Or isn’t it bread? It seems to be bread. It is not really bread. What is it? It is the Body of Jesus. Jesus comes into our heart.

So let us all think about this: the Father has given us life; Jesus has given us salvation, he accompanies us, he leads us, he supports us, he teaches us; and the Holy Spirit? What does he give us He loves us! He gives us love. Let us think of God in this way and ask Our Lady, Our Lady our Mother, who always hurries to our aid, to teach us to understand properly what God is like: what the Father is like, what the Son is like, and what the Holy Spirit is like. So be it.


Pope Francis   22.05.16   Angelus, St Peter's Square, Rome  Feast of the Most Holy Trinity   Year C       John 16: 12-15

 
Pope Francis 22.05.16 Trinity Sunday
    
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today, the Feast of the
Holy Trinity, the Gospel of St John gives us part of the long farewell discourse pronounced by Jesus shortly before his Passion. In this discourse, he explains to the disciples the deepest truths about himself, and thus he outlines the relationship between Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus knows that the fulfilment of the Father’s plan is approaching and will be completed with his death and resurrection. Because of this he wants to assure his followers that he won’t abandon them, because his mission will be prolonged by the Holy Spirit. It will be the Holy Spirit who continues the mission of Jesus, that is, guide the Church forward.

Jesus reveals what this mission is. In the first place, the Spirit guides us to understand the many things that Jesus himself still had to say (cf. Jn 16:12). This doesn’t refer to new or special doctrines, but to a full understanding of all that the Son has heard from the Father and has made known to the disciples (cf. v. 15). The Spirit guides us in new existential situations with a gaze fixed on Jesus and at the same time, open to events and to the future. He helps us to walk in history, firmly rooted in the Gospel and with dynamic fidelity to our traditions and customs.

But the mystery of the Trinity also speaks to us of ourselves, of our relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In fact, through baptism, the Holy Spirit has placed us in the heart and the very life of God, who is a communion of love. God is a “family” of three Persons who love each other so much as to form a single whole. This “divine family” is not closed in on itself, but is open. It communicates itself in creation and in history and has entered into the world of men to call everyone to form part of it. The trinitarian horizon of communion surrounds all of us and stimulates us to live in love and fraternal sharing, certain that where there is love, there is God.

Our being created in the image and likeness of God-Communion calls us to understand ourselves as beings-in-relationship and to live interpersonal relations in solidarity and mutual love.

Such relationships play out, above all, in the sphere of our ecclesial communities, so that the image of the Church as icon of the Trinity is ever clearer. But also in every social relationship, from the family to friendships, to the work environment: they are all concrete occasions offered to us in order to build relationships that are increasingly humanly rich, capable of reciprocal respect and disinterested love.

The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity invites us to commit ourselves in daily events to being leaven of communion, consolation and mercy. In this mission, we are sustained by the strength that the Holy Spirit gives us: he takes care of the flesh of humanity, wounded by injustice, oppression, hate and avarice.

The Virgin Mary, in her humility, welcomed the Father’s will and conceived the Son by the Holy Spirit. May she, Mirror of the Trinity, help us to strengthen our faith in the trinitarian mystery and to translate it in to action with choices and attitudes of love and unity.
  
 
Chapter 16

23-28

 
Pope Francis  11.05.13  Holy Mass  Santa Marta         John  16: 23-28  

Jesus’ wounds are still present on this earth. If we are to recognize them we must come out of ourselves and reach out to our needy brethren, to the sick, the ignorant, the poor and the exploited.

“It means coming out of ourselves”, made possible by
prayer, “to the Father in the name of Jesus”. Instead the prayer that “bores us” is “always within us, like a thought that comes and goes, but true prayer is... an exodus from ourselves towards the Father, made “with the intercession of Jesus”.

But how can we recognize Jesus’ wounds? How can we trust in them if we cannot identify them? “Unless we can come out of ourselves towards those wounds, we shall never learn the freedom that brings us to the other way out of ourselves, through the wounds of Jesus”.

The first is “towards the wounds of Jesus, the other is towards the wounds of our brothers and sisters. And this is the path that Jesus wants us to take in prayer”. “If you ask anything of the Father he will give it to you in my name” (Jn16: 23-28). Jesus is disarmingly clear. In these words there is something new, “in my name”.

What does “in my name” mean? It is a new element which Jesus reveals at the Ascension. Jesus, in rising to the Father, left the door open. Not because “he forgot to close it”, but because “he himself is the door”. It is he, our intercessor; so he says: “in my name”. In our prayers let us ask the Father in Jesus’ name: “Look at your Son and do this for me!
  
 

Chapter 17

11-19

 

Pope Francis  15.05.13  Holy Mass  Santa Marta   John 17: 11-19

Bishops and priests who succumb to the temptations of money and the vanity of careerism turn into wolves “who devour the flesh of their own sheep”. Anyone who, “takes the flesh of the sheep to eat it, exploit it or trade in it, and who is attached to money, becomes a miser and frequently also a simonist”. Or else he makes use of the wool for his own vanity, in order to boast”. 

Bishops and priests must pray not to give in to these “true and proper temptations”, but they need the prayers of the faithful too. 

(Jn 17:11-19), “keep them”, expresses a relationship of protection and love between God and the pastor and between the pastor and the people. This, is a message for us bishops and for priests and clergymen. They must care for their people and “be ready to sound the alarm when wolves are approaching”. Bishops and priests are not for themselves but for the people. “Do you always think of bishops and priests? We need your prayers.... We too are men and sinners... and are also tempted. What are the temptations of the bishop and the priest?” According to St Augustine these temptations are avarice and vanity. “When a priest takes the road of vanity he enters into the spirit of careerism and does great damage to the Church.... He boasts, he likes to be seen as high and mighty. And the people don’t like it! You see what our difficulties and our temptations are; so you should pray for us that we be humble, gentle, and at the service of the people.

  
 
Chapter 17
20-26
 
Pope Francis   12.05.13 Seventh Sunday of Easter Holy Mas and Canonizations   Acts 6:5   7:55-60     John 17:20-26  

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/faith/12.05.13.jpg

On this Seventh Sunday of Easter we gather together in joy to celebrate a feast of holiness. Let us give thanks to God who made his glory, the glory of Love, shine on the Martyrs of Otranto, on Mother Laura Montoya and on Mother María Guadalupe García Zavala. I greet all of you who have come for this celebration — from Italy, Colombia, Mexico and other countries — and I thank you! Let us look at the new saints in the light of the word of God proclaimed. It is a word that has invited us to be faithful to Christ, even to martyrdom; it has reminded us of the urgency and beauty of bringing Christ and his Gospel to everyone; and it has spoken to us of the testimony of charity, without which even martyrdom and the mission lose their Christian savour.

1. When the Acts of the Apostles tell us about the Deacon Stephen, the Proto-Martyr, it is written that he was a man “filled with the Holy Spirit” (6:5; 7:55). What does this mean? It means that he was filled with the Love of God, that his whole self, his life, was inspired by the Spirit of the Risen Christ so that he followed Jesus with total fidelity, to the point of giving up himself.

Today the Church holds up for our veneration an array of martyrs who in 1480 were called to bear the highest witness to the Gospel together. About 800 people, who had survived the siege and invasion of Otranto, were beheaded in the environs of that city. They refused to deny their faith and died professing the Risen Christ. Where did they find the strength to stay faithful? In the faith itself, which enables us to see beyond the limits of our human sight, beyond the boundaries of earthly life. It grants us to contemplate “the heavens opened”, as St Stephen says, and the living Christ at God’s right hand. Dear friends, let us keep the faith we have received and which is our true treasure, let us renew our faithfulness to the Lord, even in the midst of obstacles and misunderstanding. God will never let us lack strength and calmness. While we venerate the Martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain all the Christians who still suffer violence today in these very times and in so many parts of the world and to give them the courage to stay faithful and to respond to evil with goodness.

2. We might take the second idea from the words of Jesus which we heard in the Gospel: “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us” (Jn 17:20). St Laura Montoya was an instrument of evangelization, first as a teacher and later as a spiritual mother of the indigenous in whom she instilled hope, welcoming them with this love that she had learned from God and bringing them to him with an effective pedagogy that respected their culture and was not in opposition to it. In her work of evangelization Mother Laura truly made herself all things to all people, to borrow St Paul’s words (cf. 1 Cor 9:22). Today too, like a vanguard of the Church, her spiritual daughters live in and take the Gospel to the furthest and most needy places.

This first saint, born in the beautiful country of Colombia, teaches us to be generous to God and not to live our faith in solitude — as if it were possible to live the faith alone! — but to communicate it and to make the joy of the Gospel shine out in our words and in the witness of our life wherever we meet others. Wherever we may happen to be, to radiate this life of the Gospel. She teaches us to see Jesus’ face reflected in others and to get the better of the indifference and individualism that corrode Christian communities and eat away our heart itself. She also teaches us to accept everyone without prejudice, without discrimination and without reticence, but rather with sincere love, giving them the very best of ourselves and, especially, sharing with them our most worthwhile possession; this is not one of our institutions or organizations, no. The most worthwhile thing we possess is Christ and his Gospel.

3. Lastly, a third idea. In today’s Gospel, Jesus prays to the Father with these words: “I made known to them your name, and I will make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (Jn 17:26). The martyr’s fidelity event to the death and the proclamation of the Gospel to all people are rooted, have their roots, in God’s love, which was poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (cf. Rom 5:5), and in the witness we must bear in our life to this love.

St Guadalupe García Zavala was well aware of this. By renouncing a comfortable life — what great harm an easy life and well-being cause; the adoption of a bourgeois heart paralyzes us — by renouncing an easy life in order to follow Jesus’ call she taught people how to love poverty, how to feel greater love for the poor and for the sick. Mother Lupita would kneel on the hospital floor, before the sick, before the abandoned, in order to serve them with tenderness and compassion. And this is called “touching the flesh of Christ”. The poor, the abandoned, the sick and the marginalized are the flesh of Christ. And Mother Lupita touched the flesh of Christ and taught us this behaviour: not to feel ashamed, not to fear, not to find “touching Christ’s flesh” repugnant. Mother Lupita had realized what “touching Christ’s flesh” actually means. Today too her spiritual daughters try to mirror God’s love in works of charity, unsparing in sacrifices and facing every obstacle with docility and with apostolic perseverance (hypomon?), bearing it with courage.

This new Mexican saint invites us to love as Jesus loved us. This does not entail withdrawal into ourselves, into our own problems, into our own ideas, into our own interests, into this small world that is so harmful to us; but rather to come out of ourselves and care for those who are in need of attention, understanding and help, to bring them the warm closeness of God’s love through tangible actions of sensitivity, of sincere affection and of love.

Faithfulness to Christ and to his Gospel, in order to proclaim them with our words and our life, witnessing to God’s love with our own love and with our charity to all: these are the luminous examples and teachings that the saints canonized today offer us but they call into question our Christian life: how am I faithful to Christ? Let us take this question with us, to think about it during the day: how am I faithful to Christ? Am I able to “make my faith seen with respect, but also with courage? Am I attentive to others, do I notice who is in need, do I see everyone as brothers and sisters to love? Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the new saints, to fill our life with the joy of his love. So may it be.

  

 Chapter 18

33b-37

 
Pope Francis      25.11.18   Solemnity of Christ the King         John 18:33b-37 
https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2018-11/pope-francis-angelus-christ-the-king-love.html

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

The Solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe, which we celebrate today, is set at the conclusion of the liturgical year and recalls that the life of creation does not advance at random, but proceeds toward a final destination: the definitive manifestation of Christ, Lord of history and of all creation. The conclusion of history will be his eternal kingdom.

Today’s Gospel passage (cf. Jn 18:33-37) speaks to us about this kingdom, the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of Jesus, recounting the humiliating situation that Jesus is in after being arrested in Gethsemane: bound, insulted, accused and led before the authorities of Jerusalem. And then, he is presented to the Roman prosecutor, as one who seeks to undermine political power, to become the king of the Jews.

So Pilate conducts his inquest and, in a dramatic interrogation, twice asks Jesus if He is a king (cf. vv. 33, 37).

And Jesus initially responds that his kingship “is not of this world” (v. 36). Then he states: “You say that I am a king” (v. 37).

It is evident from his entire life that Jesus does not have political ambitions. Let us recall that after the multiplication of the loaves, the people, excited by the miracle, would have sought to proclaim him king, to overturn the Roman power and re-establish the kingdom of Israel. But for Jesus the kingdom is something else, and it is certainly not achieved by revolt, violence and the force of arms. This is why he withdrew alone to pray on the mount (cf. Jn 6:5-15). Now, in responding, He makes Pilate take note that His disciples did not fight to defend Him. He says: “if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews” (Jn 18:36).

Jesus wants to make it understood that above and beyond political power there is another even greater one, which is not obtained by human means.

He has come to earth to exercise this power, which is love, by bearing witness to the truth (cf. v. 37), the divine truth which ultimately is the essential message of the Gospel: “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8); and he wishes to establish in the world his kingdom of love, justice and peace. And this is the kingdom of which Jesus is king, and which extends until the end of times.

History teaches us that kingdoms founded on the force of arms and on the abuse of power are fragile and sooner or later collapse. But the Kingdom of God is founded on his love and is rooted in hearts — the Kingdom of God is rooted in hearts —, conferring peace, freedom and fullness of life upon those who embrace it. We all want peace; we all want freedom and we want fulfilment. And how do you do this? Allow the love of God, the Kingdom of God, the love of Jesus, to take root in your heart and you will have peace, you will have freedom and you will have fulfilment.

Today Jesus asks us to allow him to become our king. A king who, with his word, his example and his life immolated on the cross saved us from death, and — this king — indicates the path to those who are lost, gives new light to our existence marred by doubt, by fear and by everyday trials. But we must not forget that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. He will give new meaning to our life — at times even put to difficult tests through our mistakes and our sins — merely on the condition that we not follow the logics of the world and of its ‘kings’.

May the Virgin Mary help us to welcome Jesus as the king of our life and to spread his kingdom, by bearing witness to the truth which is love.
  
 
Chapter 19
25-27
 

1. I have come to share with you the joys and hopes, the struggles and responsibilities, the ideals and aspirations of your island, and to strengthen you in the faith. Here in Cagliari, as in all Sardinia, there is no

lack of difficulties — there are so many — of problems and concerns. I am thinking especially of the lack of work and of job insecurity, and therefore of uncertainty about the future. Your beautiful region of Sardinia has long suffered from many situations of poverty, which have been worsened by its condition as an island. The faithful collaboration of everyone, along with the responsible commitment of institutions — including the Church — is necessary in order to guarantee that fundamental rights are accorded to persons and to families, and in order to foster a more stable and fraternal society. The right to work, the right to bring home bread, bread earned through work must be guaranteed! I am close to you! I am close to you, I remember you in prayer and I encourage you to persevere in bearing witness to the human and Christian values that are so deeply rooted in the faith and history of this land and of its people. May you always keep the light of hope burning!

2. I have come among you to place myself, together with you, at the feet of Our Lady, who gives us her Son. I am well aware that Mary, our Mother, is very much in your hearts, as this Shrine testifies, to which many generations of Sardinians have climbed — and will continue to climb! — in order to invoke the protection of Our Lady of Bonaria, Principle Patroness of the Island. Here you bring the joys and sufferings of this land, of your families, and even of those of its children who live far away, who have left with great pain and longing, in order to find work and a future for themselves and for those who are dear to them. Today, we who gather here want thank Mary, because she is always near to us. We want to renew our trust and our love for her.

The first Reading we heard shows us Mary in prayer, in the Upper Room, together with the Apostles. Mary prays, she prays together with the community of the disciples, and she teaches us to have complete trust in God and in his mercy. This is the power of prayer! Let us never tire of knocking at God's door. Everyday through Mary let us carry our entire life to God's heart! Knock at the door of God's heart!

In the Gospel, however, we take in Jesus’ last gaze upon his Mother (cf. Jn 19:25-27). From the Cross, Jesus looks at his Mother and entrusts her to the Apostle John, saying: This is your son. We are all present in John, even us, and Jesus’ look of love entrusts us to the maternal care of the Mother. Mary would have remembered another look of love, when she was a girl: the gaze of God the Father, who looked upon her humility, her littleness. Mary teaches us that God does not abandon us; he can do great things even with our weaknesses. Let us trust in him! Let us knock at the door of his heart!

3. The third thought: today I have come among you; or rather, we have come together, to encounter the gaze of Mary, since there, as it were, is reflected the gaze of the Father, who made her the Mother of God, and the gaze of the Son on the Cross, who made her our Mother. It is with that gaze that Mary watches us today. We need her tender gaze, her maternal gaze, which knows us better than anyone else, her gaze full of compassion and care. Mary, today we want to tell you: Mother grant us your gaze! Your gaze leads us to God, your gaze is a gift of the good Father who waits for us at every turn of our path, it is a gift of Jesus Christ on the Cross, who takes upon himself our sufferings, our struggles, our sin. And in order to meet this Father who is full of love, today we say to her: Mother, give us your gaze! Let’s say it all together: “Mother, grant us your gaze!”. “Mother, grant us your gaze!”.

Along our path, which is often difficult, we are not alone. We are so many, we are a people, and the gaze of Our Lady helps us to look at one another as brothers and sisters. Let us look upon one another in a more fraternal way! Mary teaches us to have that gaze which strives to welcome, to accompany and to protect. Let us learn to look at one another beneath Mary's maternal gaze! There are people whom we instinctively consider less and who instead are in greater need: the most abandoned, the sick, those who have nothing to live on, those who do not know Jesus, youth who find themselves in difficulty, young people who cannot find work. Let us not be afraid to go out and to look upon our brothers and sisters with Our Lady's gaze. She invites us to be true brothers and sisters. And let us never allow something or someone to come between us and Our Lady’s gaze. Mother, grant us your gaze! May no one hide from it! May our childlike heart know how to defend itself from the many “windbags” who make false promises? from those who have a gaze greedy for an easy life and full of promises that cannot be fulfilled. May they not rob us of Mary’s gaze, which is full of tenderness, which gives us strength and builds solidarity among us. Let us say together: Mother, grant us your gaze! Mother, grant us your gaze! Mother, grant us your gaze!

  
 
 Chapter 20

1-9
 

Pope Francis Easter Sunday 16.04.17

Today the Church repeats, sings, shouts: “Jesus is Risen!”. But why is this? Peter, John, the women went to the Sepulchre and it was empty. He was not there. They went away with their hearts closed in sadness, the sadness of defeat: the Teacher, their Teacher, the One whom they loved so much had been put to death; He is dead. And there is no return from death. This is the defeat. This is the path of defeat, the path towards the sepulchre. But the Angel says to them, “He is not here, He is Risen”.

It is the first announcement: “He is Risen”. And then the confusion, the closed hearts, the apparitions. But the disciples stayed locked in the Upper Room the entire day because they were afraid that what happened to Jesus would happen to them. The Church does not cease to say before our losses, our closed and fearful hearts: “Stop, the Lord is Risen”. But if the Lord is Risen, why is it that these things happen? Why is it that there is so much adversity: illness, human trafficking, human slavery, war, destruction, mutilation, vengeance, hatred? Where is the Lord then?

Yesterday I phoned a young man with a grave illness, an educated young man, an engineer, and while talking to him, to give him a sign of faith, I said: “There are no explanations for what is happening to you. Look at Jesus on the Cross. God did this to his Son, and there is no other explanation”. And he answered: “Yes, but He asked His Son and the Son said ‘yes’. I was not asked if I wanted this”. This moves us. None of us is asked: “Are you happy with what is happening in the world? Are you willing to carry this cross further?”. And the Cross goes forth and faith in Jesus comes down from it. Today, the Church continues to say: “Stop. Jesus is Risen”. And this is not a fantasy. The Resurrection of Christ is not a celebration with many flowers. This is beautiful, but this is not it. It is something more. It is the mystery of the discarded stone which becomes the foundation of our existence. Christ is Risen. This is what it means.

In this throwaway culture where what is not needed is just used and disposed of, where what is not needed is thrown away, that stone — Jesus — the source of life, is discarded. And with faith in the Risen Christ, we too, pebbles on this earth of pain, tragedy, acquire meaning amid so many calamities. The sense to look beyond, the sense to say: “Look, there is no wall; there is a horizon, there is life, there is joy, there is the cross with this ambivalence. Look ahead, do not close within yourself. You pebble, acquire meaning in life because you are a pebble near that rock, that stone which the evil of sin discarded”. What does the Church tell us today before so many tragedies? Simply this: the discarded stone is not really discarded. The pebbles which believe and stick to that stone are not discarded. They have meaning and it is with this sentiment that the Church repeats from the bottom of Her heart: “Christ is Risen”. Let us think for a while, each of us, think about the daily problems, the illnesses we have been through or of one that a relative has; let us think about wars, human tragedies and with simplicity, with a humble voice, without flowers, alone, before God, before us, let us say, “I do not know how this is, but I am certain that Christ is Risen and I have put a wager on it”. Brothers and sisters, this is what I wanted to say to you. Go home today repeating in your hearts: “Christ is Risen”.
  
  Chapter 20

11-18

 

The grace of tears is that special grace which Pope Francis invites us to ask for. Because “they are tears themselves which prepare us to see Jesus”, the Pope explained on Tuesday morning, 2 April, at a Mass he celebrated in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. After saying various Masses with Vatican employees, this time he celebrated the Eucharist with the Gendarmeria and the Firemen of Vatican City, led by Commandant Domenico Giani.

Commenting on the Gospel passage which John recounts when Mary Magdalen says: “I have seen the Lord”, after washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair (cf. Jn 20:11-18). Having recalled that Jesus forgave Mary Magdalen’s many sins because “she loved so much”, Francis then spoke again about the witness borne by this woman who was “despised by those who considered themselves to be righteous”, at the moment when she had to face “the failure of all her hopes”. Her love, he said, “is no longer and she weeps. This is the moment of darkness”.

It is the Lord who gives the grace to all of us to be able to say “I have seen the Lord”. “Why did he appear? I do not know, but I have seen him in my heart. And so I have seen him alive in this way”. This is the witness. “I have seen the Lord”, how beautiful! And may all of us be able to give this testimony.



Pope Francis  14.04.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae) Easter Tuesday     Acts 2: 36-41,     John 20: 11-18 

Pope Francis Talks about Faithfulness 14.04.20

Let us pray that the Lord will give us the grace of unity among us. May the difficulties of this time allow us discover the communion between us, the unity that is always superior to any division.

Peter's preaching, on the day of Pentecost, pierces people's hearts: "He whom you crucified has is risen" (cf. Acts 2:36). "Hearing this, they were cut to the hearts and they said to Peter and the other apostles, 'What must we do?'" (Acts 2:37). And Peter is clear: "You must Repent. Change your life. You who have received the promise of God and you who have strayed from the Law of God, because of so many things of yours, idols, and so many things ... Repent. Return to fidelity" (cf. Acts . 2: 38). Converting oneself is this: to be faithful again. Fidelity, that human behaviour that is not so common in people's lives, in our lives. There are always illusions that attract attention and so often we want to go after these illusions. Faithfulness: in good times and bad times.

There is a passage from the Second Book of Chronicles that strikes me so much. It's in Chapter XII at the beginning. "When the kingdom was consolidated," it says, "King Rehoboam felt safe and walked away from the law of the Lord, and all Israel followed him" (cf. 2 Chron. 12:1). That's what the Bible says. It is a historical fact, but it is a universal fact. Many times, when we feel safe and secure, we begin to make our own plans and slowly move away from the Lord; we do not remain faithful. And my security is not what the Lord gives me. It's an idol. This is what happened to Rehoboam and the people of Israel. He felt safe - a consolidated kingdom - he distanced himself from the law and began to worship idols. Yes, we can say, "Father, I do not kneel in front of idols." No, maybe you don't kneel, but you look for them and so many times in your heart you love idols, it's true. So many times. Your own security opens the door to idols.

But is your own security bad? No, it's a grace. Be sure, but also be sure that the Lord is with you. But when there is security and I am at the centre, and I distance myself from the Lord, like King Rehoboam, I become unfaithful. It is so difficult to maintain faithfulness. The whole history of Israel, and then the whole history of the Church, is full of infidelity. Full. Full of selfishness, of self assuredness that make the people of God move away from the Lord, faithfulness is lost, the grace of being faithful. And even among us, among people, faithfulness is certainly not a cheap virtue. One is not faithful to the other, to the other ... "Repent, return to being faithful to the Lord" (cf. Acts . 2:38).

And in the Gospel, the icon of fidelity: that faithful woman who had never forgotten all that the Lord had done for her. She was there, faithful, before the impossible, in the face of tragedy, a fidelity that also makes her think that she is capable of carrying the body from one place to another (cf. John. 20:15) A weak but faithful woman. The icon of the fidelity of this Mary of Magdalene, the apostle to the apostles.

Let us pray today to the Lord for the grace of being faithful: of thanking Him when he gives us security, but never thinking that it's my own security and always to look beyond my own security; the grace to be faithful even before the tomb, in the face of the collapse of so many illusions. To remain faithful, but it is not easy to maintain it. May He, the Lord, preserve it.
  
 
Chapter 20

19-31

22-23
 

1. Today we are celebrating the Second Sunday of Easter, also known as "Divine Mercy Sunday". What a beautiful truth of faith this is for our lives: the mercy of God! God’s love for us is so great, so deep; it is an unfailing love, one which always takes us by the hand and supports us, lifts us up and leads us on.

2. In today’s Gospel, the Apostle Thomas personally experiences this mercy of God, which has a concrete face, the face of Jesus, the risen Jesus. Thomas does not believe it when the other Apostles tell him: "We have seen the Lord". It isn’t enough for him that Jesus had foretold it, promised it: "On the third day I will rise". He wants to see, he wants to put his hand in the place of the nails and in Jesus’ side. And how does Jesus react? With patience: Jesus does not abandon Thomas in his stubborn unbelief; he gives him a week’s time, he does not close the door, he waits. And Thomas acknowledges his own poverty, his little faith. "My Lord and my God!": with this simple yet faith-filled invocation, he responds to Jesus’ patience. He lets himself be enveloped by divine mercy; he sees it before his eyes, in the wounds of Christ’s hands and feet and in his open side, and he discovers trust: he is a new man, no longer an unbeliever, but a believer.

Let us also remember Peter: three times he denied Jesus, precisely when he should have been closest to him; and when he hits bottom he meets the gaze of Jesus who patiently, wordlessly, says to him: "Peter, don’t be afraid of your weakness, trust in me". Peter understands, he feels the loving gaze of Jesus, and he weeps. How beautiful is this gaze of Jesus – how much tenderness is there! Brothers and sisters, let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God!

Let us think too of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus: their sad faces, their barren journey, their despair. But Jesus does not abandon them: he walks beside them, and not only that! Patiently he explains the Scriptures which spoke of him, and he stays to share a meal with them. This is God’s way of doing things: he is not impatient like us, who often want everything all at once, even in our dealings with other people. God is patient with us because he loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, to inspire confidence; they do not give up, they do not burn bridges, they are able to forgive. Let us remember this in our lives as Christians: God always waits for us, even when we have left him behind! He is never far from us, and if we return to him, he is ready to embrace us.

I am always struck when I reread the parable of the merciful Father; it impresses me because it always gives me great hope. Think of that younger son who was in the Father’s house, who was loved; and yet he wants his part of the inheritance; he goes off, spends everything, hits rock bottom, where he could not be more distant from the Father, yet when he is at his lowest, he misses the warmth of the Father’s house and he goes back. And the Father? Had he forgotten the son? No, never. He is there, he sees the son from afar, he was waiting for him every hour of every day, the son was always in his father’s heart, even though he had left him, even though he had squandered his whole inheritance, his freedom. The Father, with patience, love, hope and mercy, had never for a second stopped thinking about him, and as soon as he sees him still far off, he runs out to meet him and embraces him with tenderness, the tenderness of God, without a word of reproach: he has returned! And that is the joy of the Father. In that embrace for his son is all this joy: he has returned! God is always waiting for us, he never grows tired. Jesus shows us this merciful patience of God so that we can regain confidence, hope – always! A great German theologian, Romano Guardini, said that God responds to our weakness by his patience, and this is the reason for our confidence, our hope (cf. Glaubenserkenntnis, Würzburg, 1949, p. 28). It is like a dialogue between our weakness and the patience of God, it is a dialogue that, if we do it, will grant us hope.

3. I would like to emphasize one other thing: God’s patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our life. Jesus tells Thomas to put his hand in the wounds of his hands and his feet, and in his side. We too can enter into the wounds of Jesus, we can actually touch him. This happens every time that we receive the sacraments with faith. Saint Bernard, in a fine homily, says: "Through the wounds of Jesus I can suck honey from the rock and oil from the flinty rock (cf. Deut 32:13), I can taste and see the goodness of the Lord" (On the Song of Songs, 61:4). It is there, in the wounds of Jesus, that we are truly secure; there we encounter the boundless love of his heart. Thomas understood this. Saint Bernard goes on to ask: But what can I count on? My own merits? No, "My merit is God’s mercy. I am by no means lacking merits as long as he is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are manifold, I too will abound in merits" (ibid., 5). This is important: the courage to trust in Jesus’ mercy, to trust in his patience, to seek refuge always in the wounds of his love. Saint Bernard even states: "So what if my conscience gnaws at me for my many sins? ‘Where sin has abounded, there grace has abounded all the more’ (Rom 5:20)" (ibid.). Maybe someone among us here is thinking: my sin is so great, I am as far from God as the younger son in the parable, my unbelief is like that of Thomas; I don’t have the courage to go back, to believe that God can welcome me and that he is waiting for me, of all people. But God is indeed waiting for you; he asks of you only the courage to go to him. How many times in my pastoral ministry have I heard it said: "Father, I have many sins"; and I have always pleaded: "Don’t be afraid, go to him, he is waiting for you, he will take care of everything". We hear many offers from the world around us; but let us take up God’s offer instead: his is a caress of love. For God, we are not numbers, we are important, indeed we are the most important thing to him; even if we are sinners, we are what is closest to his heart.

Adam, after his sin, experiences shame, he feels naked, he senses the weight of what he has done; and yet God does not abandon him: if that moment of sin marks the beginning of his exile from God, there is already a promise of return, a possibility of return. God immediately asks: "Adam, where are you?" He seeks him out. Jesus took on our nakedness, he took upon himself the shame of Adam, the nakedness of his sin, in order to wash away our sin: by his wounds we have been healed. Remember what Saint Paul says: "What shall I boast of, if not my weakness, my poverty? Precisely in feeling my sinfulness, in looking at my sins, I can see and encounter God’s mercy, his love, and go to him to receive forgiveness.

In my own life, I have so often seen God’s merciful countenance, his patience; I have also seen so many people find the courage to enter the wounds of Jesus by saying to him: Lord, I am here, accept my poverty, hide my sin in your wounds, wash it away with your blood. And I have always seen that God did just this – he accepted them, consoled them, cleansed them, loved them.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us be enveloped by the mercy of God; let us trust in his patience, which always gives us more time. Let us find the courage to return to his house, to dwell in his loving wounds, allowing ourselves be loved by him and to encounter his mercy in the sacraments. We will feel his wonderful tenderness, we will feel his embrace, and we too will become more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love.


Pope Francis 20.11.13 General Audience the ministry of mercy John 20: 22,23

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Last Wednesday I spoke about the remission of
sins , referred to in a special way at Baptism. Today let us continue on the theme of the remission of sins, but in reference to the “ power of the keys ”, as it is called, which is a biblical symbol of the mission that Jesus entrusted to the Apostles. 
First of all, we must remember that the principal agent in the
forgiveness of sins is the Holy Spirit . In his first appearance to the Apostles, in the Upper Room, the Risen Jesus made the gesture of breathing on them saying: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn 20:22,23). Jesus, transfigured in his body, is already the new man who offers the Paschal gifts, the fruit of his death and resurrection. What are these gifts? Peace, joy, the forgiveness of sins, mission, but above all he gives the Spirit who is the source of all these. The breath of Jesus, accompanied by the words with which he communicates the Spirit, signifies the transmission of life, the new life reborn from forgiveness. 
But before making this gesture of breathing and transmitting the Holy Spirit, Jesus reveals the wounds in his hands and side: these wounds represent the price of our salvation. The Holy Spirit brings us the God’s pardon “by passing through” Jesus’ wounds. These wounds he wished to keep; even now in Heaven he is showing the Father the wounds by which he redeemed us. By the power of these wounds, our sins are pardoned: thus, Jesus gave his life for our peace, for our joy, for the gift of grace in our souls, for the forgiveness of our sins. It is very very beautiful to look at Jesus in this way! 
And we come to the second element: Jesus gave the Apostles the power to forgive sins. It is a little difficult to understand how a man can forgive sins, but Jesus gives this power. The Church is the depository of the power of the keys , of opening or closing to forgiveness. God forgives every man in his sovereign mercy, but he himself willed that those who belong to Christ and to the Church receive forgiveness by means of the ministers of the community. Through the apostolic ministry the mercy of God reaches me, my faults are forgiven and joy is bestowed on me. In this way Jesus calls us to live out reconciliation in the ecclesial, the community, dimension as well. And this is very beautiful. The Church, who is holy and at the same time in need of penitence, accompanies us on the journey of conversion throughout our life. The Church is not mistress of the power of the keys, but a servant of the ministry of mercy and rejoices every time she can offer this divine gift. 
Perhaps many do not understand the ecclesial dimension of forgiveness, because individualism, subjectivism, always dominates, and even we Christians are affected by this. Certainly, God forgives every penitent sinner, personally, but the Christian is tied to Christ, and Christ is united to the Church. For us Christians there is a further gift, there is also a further duty: to pass humbly through the ecclesial community. We have to appreciate it; it is a gift, a cure, a protection as well as the assurance that God has forgiven me. I go to my brother priest and I say: “Father, I did this...”. And he responds: “But I forgive you; God forgives you”. At that moment, I am sure that God has forgiven me! And this is beautiful, this is having the surety that God forgives us always, he never tires of forgiving us. And we must never tire of going to ask for forgiveness. You may feel ashamed to tell your sins, but as our mothers and our grandmothers used to say, it is better to be red once than yellow a thousand times. We blush once but then our sins are forgiven and we go forward. 
Lastly, a final point: the priest is the instrument for the forgiveness of sins . God’s forgiveness is given to us in the Church, it is transmitted to us by means of the ministry our brother, the priest; and he too is a man, who, like us in need of mercy, truly becomes the instrument of mercy, bestowing on us the boundless love of God the Father. Priests and bishops too have to go to
confession: we are all sinners. Even the Pope confesses every 15 days, because the Pope is also a sinner. And the confessor hears what I tell him, he counsels me and forgives me, because we are all in need of this forgiveness. Sometimes you hear someone claiming to confess directly to God... Yes, as I said before, God is always listening, but in the Sacrament of Reconciliation he sends a brother to bestow his pardon, the certainty of forgiveness, in the name of the Church. 
The service that the priest assumes a ministry, on behalf of God, to forgive sins is very delicate and requires that his heart be at peace, that the priest have peace in his heart; that he not mistreat the faithful, but that he be gentle, benevolent and merciful; that he know how to plant hope in hearts and, above all, that he be aware that the brother or sister who approaches the Sacrament of Reconciliation seeking forgiveness does so just as many people approached Jesus to be healed. The priest who is not of this disposition of mind had better not administer this sacrament until he has addressed it. The penitent faithful have the right, all faithful have the right, to find in priests servants of the forgiveness of God. 
Dear brothers, as members of the Church are we conscious of the beauty of this gift that God himself offers us? Do we feel the joy of this cure, of this motherly attention that the Church has for us? Do we know how to appreciate it with simplicity and diligence? Let us not forget that God never tires of forgiving us; through the ministry of priests he holds us close in a new embrace and regenerates us and allows us to rise again and resume the journey. For this is our life: to rise again continuously and to resume our journey.



Pope Francis   27.04.14 St Peter's Square  Holy Mass and Rite of Canonization of Blesseds John XXIII and John Paul II  Acts 2: 42-471 Peter 1: 3-9John 20: 19-31
Second Sunday of Easter Divine Mercy Sunday 
Pope Francis 27.04.14

At the heart of this Sunday, which concludes the Octave of Easter and which Saint John Paul II wished to dedicate to Divine Mercy, are the glorious wounds of the risen Jesus.

He had already shown those wounds when he first appeared to the Apostles on the very evening of that day following the Sabbath, the day of the resurrection. But, as we have heard, Thomas was not there that evening, and when the others told him that they had seen the Lord, he replied that unless he himself saw and touched those wounds, he would not believe. A week later, Jesus appeared once more to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room. Thomas was also present; Jesus turned to him and told him to touch his wounds. Whereupon that man, so straightforward and accustomed to testing everything personally, knelt before Jesus with the words: “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28).

The wounds of Jesus are a scandal, a stumbling block for faith, yet they are also the test of faith. That is why on the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away: they remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God’s love for us. They are essential for believing in God. Not for believing that God exists, but for believing that God is love, mercy and faithfulness. Saint Peter, quoting Isaiah, writes to Christians: “by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet 2:24, cf. Is 53:5).

Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch his torn hands and his pierced side. They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by him, by his cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother (cf. Is 58:7), because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles. These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.

They were priests, and bishops and popes of the twentieth century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful – faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history; the mercy of God, shown by those five wounds, was more powerful; and more powerful too was the closeness of Mary our Mother.

In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to his mercy, there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:3,8). The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on his disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying, utter identification with sinners, even to the point of disgust at the bitterness of that chalice. Such were the hope and the joy which these two holy popes had received as a gift from the risen Lord and which they in turn bestowed in abundance upon the People of God, meriting our eternal gratitude.

This hope and this joy were palpable in the earliest community of believers, in Jerusalem, as we have heard in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 2:42-47). It was a community which lived the heart of the Gospel, love and mercy, in simplicity and fraternity.

This is also the image of the Church which the Second Vatican Council set before us. John XXIII and John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the Church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries. Let us not forget that it is the saints who give direction and growth to the Church. In convening the Council, Saint John XXIII showed an exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit. He let himself be led and he was for the Church a pastor, a servant-leader, guided by the Holy Spirit. This was his great service to the Church; for this reason I like to think of him as the the pope of openness to the Holy Spirit.

In his own service to the People of God, Saint John Paul II was the pope of the family. He himself once said that he wanted to be remembered as the pope of the family. I am particularly happy to point this out as we are in the process of journeying with families towards the Synod on the family. It is surely a journey which, from his place in heaven, he guides and sustains.

May these two new saints and shepherds of God’s people intercede for the Church, so that during this two-year journey toward the Synod she may be open to the Holy Spirit in pastoral service to the family. May both of them teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ and to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy, which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.



Pope Francis   03.04.16 Divine Mercy Sunday

“Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book” (Jn 20:30). The Gospel is the book of God’s mercy, to be read and reread, because everything that Jesus said and did is an expression of the Father’s mercy. Not everything, however, was written down; the Gospel of mercy remains an open book, in which the signs of Christ’s disciples – concrete acts of love and the best witness to mercy – continue to be written. We are all called to become living writers of the Gospel, heralds of the Good News to all men and women of today. We do this by practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which are the hallmarks of the Christian life. By means of these simple yet powerful gestures, even when unseen, we can accompany the needy, bringing God’s tenderness and consolation. Thus continues the great work of Jesus on Easter day, when he poured into the hearts of his fearful disciples the Father’s mercy, bringing them the Holy Spirit who forgives sins and bestows joy.

At the same time, the story we have just heard presents an evident contrast: there is the fear of the disciples, who gathered behind closed doors; and then there is the mission of Jesus, who sends them into the world to proclaim the message of forgiveness. This contrast may also be present in us, experienced as an interior struggle between a closed heart and the call of love to open doors closed by sin. It is a call that frees us to go out of ourselves. Christ, who for love entered through doors barred by sin, death and the powers of hell, wants to enter into each one of us to break open the locked doors of our hearts. Jesus, who by his resurrection has overcome the fear and dread which imprison us, wishes to throw open our closed doors and send us out. The path that the Risen Master shows us is a one way street, it goes in only one direction: this means that we must move beyond ourselves to witness to the healing power of love that has conquered us. We see before us a humanity that is often wounded and fearful, a humanity that bears the scars of pain and uncertainty. Before the anguished cry for mercy and peace, we hear Jesus’ inspiring invitation: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you” (Jn 20:21).

In God’s mercy, all of our infirmities find healing. His mercy, in fact, does not keep a distance: it seeks to encounter all forms of poverty and to free this world of so many types of slavery. Mercy desires to reach the wounds of all, to heal them. Being apostles of mercy means touching and soothing the wounds that today afflict the bodies and souls of many of our brothers and sisters. Curing these wounds, we profess Jesus, we make him present and alive; we allow others, who touch his mercy with their own hands, to recognize him as “Lord and God” (Jn 20:28), as did the Apostle Thomas. This is the mission that he entrusts to us. So many people ask to be listened to and to be understood. The Gospel of mercy, to be proclaimed and written in our daily lives, seeks people with patient and open hearts, “good Samaritans” who understand compassion and silence before the mystery of each brother and sister. The Gospel of mercy requires generous and joyful servants, people who love freely without expecting anything in return.

“Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:21) is the greeting of Jesus to his disciples; this same peace awaits men and women of our own day. It is not a negotiated peace, it is not the absence of conflict: it is his peace, the peace that comes from the heart of the Risen Lord, the peace that has defeated sin, fear and death. It is a peace that does not divide but unites; it is a peace that does not abandon us but makes us feel listened to and loved; it is a peace that persists even in pain and enables hope to blossom. This peace, as on the day of Easter, is born ever anew by the forgiveness of God which calms our anxious hearts. To be bearers of his peace: this is the mission entrusted to the Church on Easter day. In Christ, we are born to be instruments of reconciliation, to bring the Father’s forgiveness to everyone, to reveal his loving face through concrete gestures of mercy.

In the responsorial Psalm we heard these words: “His love endures forever” (Ps 117/118:2). Truly, God’s mercy is forever; it never ends, it never runs out, it never gives up when faced with closed doors, and it never tires. In this forever we find strength in moments of trial and weakness because we are sure that God does not abandon us. He remains with us forever. Let us give thanks for so great a love, which we find impossible to grasp; it is immense! Let us pray for the grace to never grow tired of drawing from the well of the Father’s mercy and bringing it to the world. Let us ask that we too may be merciful, to spread the power of the Gospel everywhere, and to write those pages of the Gospel which John the Apostle did not write.




Pope Francis  23.04.17 Regina Caeli, St Peter's Square       Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday          John 20: 19-31


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Good morning!

We know that each Sunday we commemorate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, but in this period after Easter, Sunday takes on an even more illuminating significance. In the Tradition of the Church, this Sunday, the first after Easter, was called “[Domenica] in albis”. What does this mean? The expression is meant to recall the Rite performed by those who had received Baptism at the Easter Vigil. Each of them would receive a white garment — alba, bianca — to indicate their new dignity as children of God. This is still done today — infants are offered a small symbolic garment, while adults wear a proper one, as we saw at the Easter Vigil. In the past, that white garment was worn for a week, until this Sunday, from which the name in albis deponendis is derived, which means the Sunday on which the white garment is removed. In this way, when the white garment was removed, the neophytes would begin their new life in Christ and in the Church.

There is something else. In the Jubilee of the Year 2000, Saint John Paul ii established that this Sunday be dedicated to Divine Mercy. Truly, it was a beautiful insight: it was the Holy Spirit who inspired him in this way. Just a few months ago we concluded the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and this Sunday we are invited to always hold firmly to the grace which comes from God’s mercy. Today’s Gospel is the account of the Apparition of the Risen Christ to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room (cf. Jn 20:19-31). Saint John writes that after greeting his disciples, Jesus says to them: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you”. After saying this, he makes the gesture of breathing on them and adds: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven” (vv. 21-23). This is the meaning of the mercy that is presented on the very day of Jesus’ Resurrection as the forgiveness of sins. The Risen Jesus passed on to his Church, as her first task, his own mission of bringing to all the concrete message of forgiveness. This is the first task: to announce forgiveness. This visible sign of his mercy brings with it peace of heart and joy of the renewed encounter with the Lord.

Mercy in the light of Easter enables us to perceive it as a true form of awareness. This is important: mercy is a true form of awareness. We know that it is experienced through many forms. It is experienced through the senses, it is experienced through intuition, through reason and even other forms. Well, it can also be experienced in mercy, because mercy opens the door of the mind in order to better understand the mystery of God and of our personal existence. Mercy enables us to understand that violence, rancour, vengefulness have no meaning, and the first victim is whoever feels these sentiments, because he deprives himself of his own dignity. Mercy also opens the door of the heart and allows one to express closeness especially to those who are lonely and marginalized, because it makes them feel as brothers and sisters, and as children of one Father. It favours recognition of those who need consolation and helps one find the appropriate words so as to give comfort.

Brothers and sisters, mercy warms the heart and makes it sensitive to the needs of brothers and sisters with sharing and participation. Thus, mercy requires everyone to be instruments of justice, reconciliation and peace. Let us never forget that mercy is the keystone in the life of faith, and the concrete form by which we make Jesus’ Resurrection visible.

May Mary, Mother of Mercy, help us to believe and joyfully experience all this.




Pope Francis     04.06.17 Holy Mass, Vatican Basilica      Solemnity of Pentecost      Acts 2: 1-11,      John 20: 19-23

Pope Francis Pentecost 04.06.17

Today concludes the Easter season, the fifty days that, from Jesus’ resurrection to Pentecost, are marked in a particular way by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is in fact the Easter Gift par excellence. He is the Creator Spirit, who constantly brings about new things. Today’s readings show us two of those new things. In the first reading, the Spirit makes of the disciples a new people; in the Gospel, he creates in the disciples a new heart. 

A new people. On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came down from heaven, in the form of “divided tongues, as of fire… [that] rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages” (Acts 2:3-4). This is how the word of God describes the working of the Spirit: first he rests on each and then brings all of them together in fellowship. To each he gives a gift, and then gathers them all into unity. In other words, the same Spirit creates diversity and unity, and in this way forms a new, diverse and unified people: the universal Church. First, in a way both creative and unexpected, he generates diversity, for in every age he causes new and varied charisms to blossom. Then he brings about unity: he joins together, gathers and restores harmony: “By his presence and his activity, the Spirit draws into unity spirits that are distinct and separate among themselves” (Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Gospel of John, XI, 11). He does so in a way that effects true union, according to God’s will, a union that is not uniformity, but unity in difference.

For this to happen, we need to avoid two recurrent temptations. The first temptation seeks diversity without unity. This happens when we want to separate, when we take sides and form parties, when we adopt rigid and airtight positions, when we become locked into our own ideas and ways of doing things, perhaps even thinking that we are better than others, or always in the right, when we become so-called “guardians of the truth”. When this happens, we choose the part over the whole, belonging to this or that group before belonging to the Church. We become avid supporters for one side, rather than brothers and sisters in the one Spirit. We become Christians of the “right” or the “left”, before being on the side of Jesus, unbending guardians of the past or the avant-garde of the future before being humble and grateful children of the Church. The result is diversity without unity. The opposite temptation is that of seeking unity without diversity. Here, unity becomes uniformity, where everyone has to do everything together and in the same way, always thinking alike. Unity ends up being homogeneity and no longer freedom. But, as Saint Paul says, “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17).

So the prayer we make to the Holy Spirit is for the grace to receive his unity, a glance that, leaving personal preferences aside, embraces and loves his Church, our Church. It is to accept responsibility for unity among all, to wipe out the gossip that sows the darnel of discord and the poison of envy, since to be men and women of the Church means being men and women of communion. It is also to ask for a heart that feels that the Church is our Mother and our home, an open and welcoming home where the manifold joy of the Holy Spirit is shared.

Now we come to the second new thing brought by the Spirit: a new heart. When the risen Jesus first appears to his disciples, he says to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them” (Jn 20:22-23). Jesus does not condemn them for having denied and abandoned him during his passion, but instead grants them the spirit of forgiveness. The Spirit is the first gift of the risen Lord, and is given above all for the forgiveness of sins. Here we see the beginning of the Church, the glue that holds us together, the cement that binds the bricks of the house: forgiveness. Because forgiveness is gift to the highest degree; it is the greatest love of all. It preserves unity despite everything, prevents collapse, and consolidates and strengthens. Forgiveness sets our hearts free and enables us to start afresh. Forgiveness gives hope; without forgiveness, the Church is not built up.

The spirit of forgiveness resolves everything in harmony, and leads us to reject every other way: the way of hasty judgement, the cul-de-sac of closing every door, the one-way street criticizing others. Instead, the Spirit bids us take the two-way street of forgiveness received and forgiveness given, of divine mercy that becomes love of neighbour, of charity as “the sole criterion by which everything must be done or not done, changed or not changed” (ISAAC OF STELLA, Or. 31). Let us ask for the grace to make more beautiful the countenance of our Mother the Church, letting ourselves be renewed by forgiveness and self-correction. Only then will we be able to correct others in charity.
The Holy Spirit is the fire of love burning in the Church and in our hearts, even though we often cover him with the ash of our sins. Let us ask him: “Spirit of God, Lord, who dwell in my heart and in the heart of the Church, guiding and shaping her in diversity, come! Like water, we need you to live. Come down upon us anew, teach us unity, renew our hearts and teach us to love as you love us, to forgive as you forgive us. Amen”.




Pope Francis       28.04.19   Regina Coeli, St Peter's Square, Rome  Divine Mercy Sunday   2nd Sunday of Easter Year C     John 20: 19-31
 
Pope Francis 28.04.19  Regina Coeli

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today's Gospel (cf. Jn -31 20.19) tells that the Easter Day Jesus appeared to his disciples in the upper room in the evening, carrying three gifts: the
peace, the joy, the Apostolic mission.

The first words He said were: "peace be with you" (v. 21). The risen one brings true peace, because through his sacrifice on the cross he has made reconciliation between God and humanity and has overcame sin and death. This is peace. His disciples had first need of this peace, because
, after the capture and execution of their master, they were plunged into bewilderment and fear. Jesus came alive in their midst and, showed his wounds on his hands – Jesus wanted to keep his wounds – and in showing them his wounds on his hands, in his glorious body, he gives peace as the fruit of his victory. But that evening the apostle Thomas was not present when Jesus came. When he was informed by the other apostles of this extraordinary event, he expressed disbelief and wanted to verify for himself what they had claimed. Eight days later, the day we mark today, the apparition is repeated: Jesus comes forward to dispel the disbelief of Thomas, inviting him to touch his wounds. They are the source of peace, because they are a sign of the immense love of Jesus who defeated the forces hostile to man; sin, evil and death. He invites him to touch the wounds. It is a lesson for us, as if Jesus said to all of us: "If you're not in peace, touch my wounds".

To touch the wounds of Jesus. The wounds of Jesus are the many problems, hardships, persecutions, sicknesses that many people are suffering. You're not in peace? Go, go to visit someone who is the symbol of the wound of Jesus. Touch the wound of Jesus. From those wounds comes divine mercy. Today is Divine Mercy Sunday. A Saint said that the body of Jesus crucified is like a lot of mercy, which passes through the wounds, comes to us all. We all need mercy, we know. Let us draw near to Jesus and touch his wounds in our brothers and sisters who suffer. Jesus ' wounds are a treasure: from there comes mercy. Let us be courageous and touch Jesus ' wounds. With these wounds He stands before the Father, as if to say, "Father, this is the price, these wounds are what I paid for my brothers and sisters". With his wounds Jesus intercedes before the Father. Gives mercy to us and we come near to Him, and He intercedes for us. Don't forget the wounds of Jesus.

The second gift that the risen Jesus brings to his disciples is joy. The Evangelist says that "the disciples rejoice when they saw the Lord" (v. 20). And there is also a verse in Luke's version, saying that they could not believe for joy. And for us, when something good happens, something amazing, beautiful. What happens to us. We almost don't believe what is happening and this is the same for the disciples. The disciples couldn't believe for their joy. This is the joy that the Lord brings. If you're sad, if you're don't have peace, see the crucified Jesus, see Jesus risen, see his wounds and take that joy.

And then, in addition to peace and joy, Jesus brings to the disciples the mission. He tells them: "as the Father has sent me,  I also send you" (v. 21). The resurrection of Jesus is the beginning of a new dynamism of love, capable of transforming the world with the power of the Holy Spirit.

On this second Sunday of Easter, we are invited to approach Christ with faith, by opening our hearts to peace, joy and mission. But let us not forget the wounds of Jesus, because from there comes peace, joy and the strength for the mission. We entrust this prayer to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Queen of heaven and Earth..




Pope Francis 09.06.19 Pentecost

Pentecost arrived, for the disciples, after fifty days of uncertainty. True, Jesus had risen. Overjoyed, they had seen him, listened to his words and even shared a meal with him. Yet they had not overcome their doubts and fears: they met behind closed doors (cf. Jn 20:19.26), uncertain about the future and not ready to proclaim the risen Lord. Then the Holy Spirit comes and their worries disappear. Now the apostles show themselves fearless, even before those sent to arrest them. Previously, they had been worried about saving their lives; now they are unafraid of dying. Earlier, they had huddled in the Upper Room; now they go forth to preach to every nation. Before the ascension of Jesus, they waited for God’s kingdom to come to them (cf. Acts 1:6); now they are filled with zeal to travel to unknown lands. Before, they had almost never spoken in public, and when they did, they had often blundered, as when Peter denied Jesus; now they speak with parrhesia to everyone. The disciples’ journey seemed to have reached the end of the line, when suddenly they were rejuvenated by the Spirit. Overwhelmed with uncertainty, when they thought everything was over, they were transformed by a joy that gave them a new birth. The Holy Spirit did this. The Spirit is far from being an abstract reality: he is the Person who is most concrete and close, the one who changes our lives. How does he do this? Let us consider the Apostles. The Holy Spirit did not make things easier for them, he didn’t work spectacular miracles, he didn’t take away their difficulties and their opponents. Rather, the Spirit brought into the lives of the disciples a harmony that had been lacking, his own harmony, for he is harmony.

Harmony within human beings. Deep down, in their hearts, the disciples needed to be changed. Their story teaches us that even seeing the Risen Lord is not enough, unless we welcome him into our hearts. It is no use knowing that the Risen One is alive, unless we too live as risen ones. It is the Spirit who makes Jesus live within us; he raises us up from within. That is why when Jesus appears to his disciples, he repeats the words, “Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:19.21), and bestows the Spirit. That is what peace really is, the peace bestowed on the Apostles. That peace does not have to do with resolving outward problems – God does not spare his disciples from tribulation and persecution. Rather, it has to do with receiving the Holy Spirit. The peace bestowed on the apostles, the peace that does not bring freedom from problems but in problems, is offered to each of us. Filled with his peace, our hearts are like a deep sea, which remains peaceful, even when its surface is swept by waves. It is a harmony so profound that it can even turn persecutions into blessings. Yet how often we choose to remain on the surface! Rather than seeking the Spirit, we try to keep afloat, thinking that everything will improve once this or that problem is over, once I no longer see that person, once things get better. But to do so is to stay on the surface: when one problem goes away, another arrives, and once more we grow anxious and ill at ease. Avoiding those who do not think as we do will not bring serenity. Resolving momentary problems will not bring peace. What makes a difference is the peace of Jesus, the harmony of the Spirit.

At today’s frenzied pace of life, harmony seems swept aside. Pulled in a thousand directions, we run the risk of nervous exhaustion and so we react badly to everything. Then we look for the quick fix, popping one pill after another to keep going, one thrill after another to feel alive. But more than anything else, we need the Spirit: he brings order to our frenzy. The Spirit is peace in the midst of restlessness, confidence in the midst of discouragement, joy in sadness, youth in aging, courage in the hour of trial. Amid the stormy currents of life, he lowers the anchor of hope. As Saint Paul tells us today, the Spirit keeps us from falling back into fear, for he makes us realize that we are beloved children (cf. Rom 8:15). He is the Consoler, who brings us the tender love of God. Without the Spirit, our Christian life unravels, lacking the love that brings everything together. Without the Spirit, Jesus remains a personage from the past; with the Spirit, he is a person alive in our own time. Without the Spirit, Scripture is a dead letter; with the Spirit it is a word of life. A Christianity without the Spirit is joyless moralism; with the Spirit, it is life.

The Holy Spirit does not bring only harmony within us but also among us. He makes us Church, building different parts into one harmonious edifice. Saint Paul explains this well when, speaking of the Church, he often repeats a single word, “variety”: varieties of gifts, varieties of services, varieties of activities” (1 Cor 12:4-6). We differ in the variety of our qualities and gifts. The Holy Spirit distributes them creatively, so that they are not all identical. On the basis of this variety, he builds unity. From the beginning of creation, he has done this. Because he is a specialist in changing chaos into cosmos, in creating harmony. He is a specialist in creating diversity, enrichment, individuality. He is the creator of this diversity and, at the same time, the one who brings harmony and gives unity to diversity. He alone can do these two things.

In today’s world, lack of harmony has led to stark divisions. There are those who have too much and those who have nothing, those who want to live to a hundred and those who cannot even be born. In the age of the computer, distances are increasing: the more we use the social media, the less social we are becoming. We need the Spirit of unity to regenerate us as Church, as God’s People and as a human family. May he regenerate us! There is always a temptation to build “nests”, to cling to our little group, to the things and people we like, to resist all contamination. It is only a small step from a nest to a sect, even within the Church. How many times do we define our identity in opposition to someone or something! The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, brings together those who were distant, unites those far off, brings home those who were scattered. He blends different tonalities in a single harmony, because before all else he sees goodness. He looks at individuals before looking at their mistakes, at persons before their actions. The Spirit shapes the Church and the world as a place of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. These nouns come before any adjectives. Nowadays it is fashionable to hurl adjectives and, sadly, even insults. It could be said that we are living in a culture of adjectives that forgets about the nouns that name the reality of things. But also a culture of the insult as the first reaction to any opinion that I do not share. Later we come to realize that this is harmful, to those insulted but also to those who insult. Repaying evil for evil, passing from victims to aggressors, is no way to go through life. Those who live by the Spirit, however, bring peace where there is discord, concord where there is conflict. Those who are spiritual repay evil with good. They respond to arrogance with meekness, to malice with goodness, to shouting with silence, to gossip with prayer, to defeatism with encouragement.

To be spiritual, to savour the harmony of the Spirit, we need to adopt his way of seeing things. Then everything changes: with the Spirit, the Church is the holy People of God, mission is not proselytism but the spread of joy, as others become our brothers and sisters, all loved by the same Father. Without the Spirit, though, the Church becomes an organization, her mission becomes propaganda, her communion an exertion. Many Churches spend time making pastoral plans, discussing any number of things. That seems to be the road to unity, but it is not the way of the Spirit; it is the road to division. The Spirit is the first and last need of the Church (cf. Saint Paul VI, General Audience, 29 November 1972). He “comes where he is loved, where he is invited, where he is expected” (Saint Bonaventure, Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Easter).

Brothers and sisters, let us daily implore the gift of the Spirit. Holy Spirit, harmony of God, you who turn fear into trust and self-centredness into self-gift, come to us. Grant us the joy of the resurrection and perennially young hearts. Holy Spirit, our harmony, you who make of us one body, pour forth your peace upon the Church and our world. Holy Spirit, make us builders of concord, sowers of goodness, apostles of hope.




Pope Francis  19.04.20  Holy Mass, Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia      Divine Mercy Sunday   Acts 2: 42-47,       1 Peter 1: 3-9,       John 20: 19-31
  
Pope Francis Divine Mercy Sunday 19.04.20

Last Sunday we celebrated the Lord’s resurrection; today we witness the resurrection of his disciple. It has already been a week, a week since the disciples had seen the Risen Lord, but in spite of this, they remained fearful, cringing behind “closed doors” (Jn 20:26), unable even to convince Thomas, the only one absent, of the resurrection. What does Jesus do in the face of this timorous lack of belief? He returns and, standing in the same place, “in the midst” of the disciples, he repeats his greeting: “Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:19, 26). He starts all over. The resurrection of his disciple begins here, from this faithful and patient mercy, from the discovery that God never tires of reaching out to lift us up when we fall. He wants us to see him, not as a taskmaster with whom we have to settle accounts, but as our Father who always raises us up. In life we go forward tentatively, uncertainly, like a toddler who takes a few steps and falls; a few steps more and falls again, yet each time his father puts him back on his feet. The hand that always puts us back on our feet is mercy: God knows that without mercy we will remain on the ground, that in order to keep walking, we need to be put back on our feet.

You may object: “But I keep falling!”. The Lord knows this and he is always ready to raise you up. He does not want us to keep thinking about our failings; rather, he wants us to look to him. For when we fall, he sees children needing to be put back on their feet; in our failings he sees children in need of his merciful love. Today, in this church that has become a shrine of mercy in Rome, and on this Sunday that Saint John Paul II dedicated to Divine Mercy twenty years ago, we confidently welcome this message. Jesus said to Saint Faustina: “I am love and mercy itself; there is no human misery that could measure up to my mercy” (Diary, 14 September 1937). At one time, the Saint, with satisfaction, told Jesus that she had offered him all of her life and all that she had. But Jesus’ answer stunned her: “You have not offered me the thing is truly yours”. What had that holy nun kept for herself? Jesus said to her with kindness: “My daughter, give me your failings” (10 October 1937). We too can ask ourselves: “Have I given my failings to the Lord? Have I let him see me fall so that he can raise me up?” Or is there something I still keep inside me? A sin, a regret from the past, a wound that I have inside, a grudge against someone, an idea about a particular person… The Lord waits for us to offer him our failings so that he can help us experience his mercy.

Let us go back to the disciples. They had abandoned the Lord at his Passion and felt guilty. But meeting them, Jesus did not give a long sermon. To them, who were wounded within, he shows his own wounds. Thomas can now touch them and know of Jesus’ love and how much Jesus had suffered for him, even though he had abandoned him. In those wounds, he touches with his hands God’s tender closeness. Thomas arrived late, but once he received mercy, he overtook the other disciples: he believed not only in the resurrection, but in the boundless love of God. And he makes the most simple and beautiful profession of faith: “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28). Here is the resurrection of the disciple: it is accomplished when his frail and wounded humanity enters into that of Jesus. There, every doubt is resolved; there, God becomes my God; there, we begin to accept ourselves and to love life as it is.

Dear brothers and sisters, in the time of trial that we are presently undergoing, we too, like Thomas, with our fears and our doubts, have experienced our frailty. We need the Lord, who sees beyond that frailty an irrepressible beauty. With him we rediscover how precious we are even in our vulnerability. We discover that we are like beautiful crystals, fragile and at the same time precious. And if, like crystal, we are transparent before him, his light – the light of mercy – will shine in us and through us in the world. As the Letter of Peter said, this is a reason for being “filled with joy, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials” (1 Pt 1:6).

On this feast of Divine Mercy, the most beautiful message comes from Thomas, the disciple who arrived late; he was the only one missing. But the Lord waited for Thomas. Mercy does not abandon those who stay behind. Now, while we are looking forward to a slow and arduous recovery from the pandemic, there is a danger that we will forget those who are left behind. The risk is that we may then be struck by an even worse virus, that of selfish indifference. A virus spread by the thought that life is better if it is better for me, and that everything will be fine if it is fine for me. It begins there and ends up selecting one person over another, discarding the poor, and sacrificing those left behind on the altar of progress. The present pandemic, however, reminds us that there are no differences or borders between those who suffer. We are all frail, all equal, all precious. May we be profoundly shaken by what is happening all around us: the time has come to eliminate inequalities, to heal the injustice that is undermining the health of the entire human family! Let us learn from the early Christian community described in the Acts of the Apostles. It received mercy and lived with mercy: “All who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:44-45). This is not some ideology: it is Christianity.

In that community, after the resurrection of Jesus, only one was left behind and the others waited for him. Today the opposite seems to be the case: a small part of the human family has moved ahead, while the majority has remained behind. Each of us could say: “These are complex problems, it is not my job to take care of the needy, others have to be concerned with it!”. Saint Faustina, after meeting Jesus, wrote: “In a soul that is suffering we should see Jesus on the cross, not a parasite and a burden... [Lord] you give us the chance to practise deeds of mercy, and we practise making judgements” (Diary, 6 September 1937). Yet she herself complained one day to Jesus that, in being merciful, one is thought to be naive. She said, “Lord, they often abuse my goodness”. And Jesus replied: “Never mind, don’t let it bother you, just be merciful to everyone always” (24 December 1937). To everyone: let us not think only of our interests, our vested interests. Let us welcome this time of trial as an opportunity to prepare for our collective future, a future for all without discarding anyone. Because without an all-embracing vision, there will be no future for anyone.

Today the simple and disarming love of Jesus revives the heart of his disciple. Like the apostle Thomas, let us accept mercy, the salvation of the world. And let us show mercy to those who are most vulnerable; for only in this way will we build a new world.



Pope Francis  31.05.20 Regina Caeli, St Peter's Square     Solemnity of Pentecost       John 20: 19-23

Pope Francis Regina Caeli Pentecost 31.05.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today since the square is open, we can return. It's a pleasure!

Today we celebrate the great feast of Pentecost, in memory of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the first Christian Community. Today's Gospel (John 20: 19-23) takes us back to Easter evening and shows us the risen Jesus appearing in the Upper Room, where the disciples have taken refuge. They were afraid. "He stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you!" (see 19). These first words spoken by the Risen One: "Peace be with you" are to be considered more than a greeting: they express forgiveness, the forgiveness granted to the disciples who, to tell the truth, had abandoned him. They are words of reconciliation and forgiveness. And we too, when we wish peace to others, are giving forgiveness and also asking for forgiveness. Jesus offers his peace precisely to these disciples who are afraid, who find it difficult to believe what they have seen, that is, the empty tomb, and underestimate the testimony of Mary of Magdala and the other women. Jesus forgives, always forgives, and offers his peace to his friends. Don't forget: Jesus never tires of forgiving. We are the ones who get tired of asking for forgiveness.

By forgiving and gathering the disciples around them, Jesus makes them a Church, his Church, which is a reconciled and mission-ready community. Reconciled and ready for the mission. When a community is not reconciled, it is not ready for mission: it is ready to discuss within itself, it is ready for internal discussions. The encounter with the risen Lord turns the lives of the Apostles upside down and turns them into courageous witnesses. In fact, immediately afterwards he says, "As the Father has sent me, so I send you" (v. 21). These words make it clear that the Apostles are sent to prolong the same mission that the Father has entrusted to Jesus. "I send you": it is not time to be locked up, nor to regret: to regret the "good times", those times passed with the Master. The joy of the resurrection is great, but it is an expansive joy, which should not be kept for itself, it is to give it. On the Sundays of the Easter Season we first heard this same episode, then the meeting with the disciples of Emmaus, then the good Shepherd, the farewell speeches and the promise of the Holy Spirit: all this is guided towards strengthening the faith of the disciples – and also ours – with a view to mission.

And in order to inspire mission, Jesus gives the Apostles his Spirit. The Gospel says, "He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit." (: 22) The Holy Spirit is fire that burns away sins and creates new men and women; he is the fire of love with which the disciples can set the world on fire, that love of tenderness that prefers the little ones, the poor, the excluded. In the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, we have received the Holy Spirit with his gifts: wisdom, intellect, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety, fear of God. This last gift – the fear of the Lord – is precisely the opposite of the fear that previously paralyzed the disciples: it is the love for the Lord, it is the certainty of his mercy and goodness, it is the confidence to be able to move in the direction indicated by him, without ever lacking his presence and support. 

The feast of Pentecost renews the awareness that within us dwells the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit. He also gives us the courage to go out of the protective walls of our "Upper Rooms", our groups, without getting used to a quiet life or closing ourselves up in sterile habits. Let us now raise our thoughts to Mary. She was there, with the Apostles, when the Holy Spirit came, the protagonist of the first Community of the wonderful experience of Pentecost, and let us pray that she may obtain for the Church an ardent missionary spirit.






  
  Chapter 20

24-29

 
Pope Francis  03.07.13   Holy Mass  Santa Marta            John 20: 24-29 

  
We must come out of ourselves, we must take human routes if we are to discover that Jesus’ wounds are still visible today on the bodies of all our brothers and sisters who are hungry, thirsty, naked, humiliated or slaves, in prisons and hospitals. By touching and caressing these wounds we can adore God alive in our midst.

When Jesus made himself visible after the Resurrection. Some rejoiced, others were filled with doubt. Thomas, to whom the Lord showed himself eight days after he had shown himself to the others, was even incredulous. The Lord, knows when and how to do things. He granted Thomas eight days; and he wanted the wounds still to be visible on his body, although they were “clean, very beautiful, filled with light”, because the Apostle had said he would not believe unless he put his finger in them. He was stubborn! But the Lord, wanted a pig-headed man in order to explain something greater. Thomas placed his fingers in the Lord’s wounds. But he did not say: “it’s true, the Lord is risen”. He went further; he said: “My Lord and my God”. By this, we understand what the Lord wanted of Thomas. Starting with his disbelief he led him to profess not only his belief in the Resurrection but above all — and he was the first to do so — his belief in the divinity of the Lord.

In the Church’s history, there have been errors on the journey towards God when some believed the living God of the Christians was to be found “in loftier meditation” or in mortification and austerity, “they chose the road of penance, only penance”. They are respectively the Gnostics and the Pelagians . However, Jesus says: “we saw Thomas on the way”.

How can I find the wounds of Jesus today? I cannot see them as Thomas saw them. I find them in doing
works of mercy, in giving to the body — to the body and to the soul, but I stress the body — of your injured brethren, for they are hungry, thirsty, naked, humiliated, slaves, in prison, in hospital. These are the wounds of Jesus in our day; and Jesus asks us to make an act of faith to him through these wounds.

Mere philanthropic actions do not suffice. “We must touch the wounds of Jesus, caress them. We must heal the wounds of Jesus with tenderness. We must literally kiss the wounds of Jesus”. The life of St Francis, changed when he embraced the leper because “he touched the living God and lived in adoration”. What Jesus asks us to do with our works of mercy, is what Thomas asked: to enter his wounds.
  
  
  Chapter 21

1-19

 

Acts of the Apostles (4:1-12). To the question as to whether they had healed the cripple at the door of the Temple, Peter answered that they had done so “by the name of Christ”. In the name of Jesus: “He is the Saviour, this name, Jesus. When someone says Jesus, it is he himself, that is, the One who works miracles. And this name accompanies us in our heart”.

In John's Gospel too, the Apostles seemed to have taken leave of their senses, “because they had caught nothing after fishing all night. When the Lord asked them for something to eat they were replied somewhat curtly 'no'. Yet “when the Lord told them to 'cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some', perhaps they were thinking of the time when the Lord told Peter to start fishing and he had answered precisely: “We toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets'”.

Peter reveals a truth when he says: 'by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth'. Because he answers inspired by the Holy Spirit. In fact we, cannot profess Jesus, we cannot speak of Jesus, we cannot say anything about Jesus without the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit himself “who urges us to profess Jesus or to talk about Jesus or to have trust in Jesus”. And is it Jesus himself who is beside us “on our journey through life, always.

A man, the father of eight, who worked for 30 years in the Archiepiscopal Curia of Buenos Aires. Before going out, before going to do any of the things he had to do; he would always whisper to himself: 'Jesus!'. I once asked him 'But why do you keep saying “Jesus?”'. 'When I say 'Jesus', this humble man answered me, ‘I feel strong’, I feel able to work because I know he is beside me, that he is keeping me. And yet, this man had not studied theology: he had only the grace of Baptism and the power of the Spirit. And his witnessing, did me so much good. The name of Jesus. There is no other name. Perhaps it will to do good to all of us, who live in a “world that offers us such a multitude of 'saviours'”. At times,“whenever there are problems, people do not commend themselves to Jesus, but to others, even turning to self-styled “magicians”, that they may resolve matters; or people “go to consult tarot cards”, to find out and understand what they should do. Yet it is not by resorting to magicians or to tarot that salvation is found: it is “in the name of Jesus. And we should bear witness to this! He is the one Saviour.

Our Lady, always takes us to Jesus. Call upon Our Lady, and she will do what she did at Cana: 'Do whatever he tells you!'. She “always leads us to Jesus. She was the first person to act in the name of Jesus”. Today, which is a day in the week of the Lord's Resurrection, I would like us to think of this: I entrust myself to the name of Jesus; I pray, 'Jesus, Jesus!




Dear Brothers and Sisters! 

https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/proclamation/14.04.18.jpg

It is a joy for me to celebrate Mass with you in this Basilica. I greet the Archpriest, Cardinal James Harvey, and I thank him for the words that he has addressed to me. Along with him, I greet and thank the various institutions that form part of this Basilica, and all of you. We are at the tomb of Saint Paul, a great yet humble Apostle of the Lord, who proclaimed him by word, bore witness to him by martyrdom and worshipped him with all his heart. These are the three key ideas on which I would like to reflect in the light of the word of God that we have heard: proclamation, witness, worship.

1. In the First Reading, what strikes us is the strength of Peter and the other Apostles. In response to the order to be silent, no longer to teach in the name of Jesus, no longer to proclaim his message, they respond clearly: “We must obey God, rather than men”. And they remain undeterred even when flogged, ill-treated and imprisoned. Peter and the Apostles proclaim courageously, fearlessly, what they have received: the Gospel of Jesus. And we? Are we capable of bringing the word of God into the environment in which we live? Do we know how to speak of Christ, of what he represents for us, in our families, among the people who form part of our daily lives? Faith is born from listening, and is strengthened by proclamation.

2. But let us take a further step: the proclamation made by Peter and the Apostles does not merely consist of words: fidelity to Christ affects their whole lives, which are changed, given a new direction, and it is through their lives that they bear witness to the faith and to the proclamation of Christ. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks Peter three times to feed his flock, to feed it with his love, and he prophesies to him: “When you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go” (Jn 21:18). These words are addressed first and foremost to those of us who are pastors: we cannot feed God’s flock unless we let ourselves be carried by God’s will even where we would rather not go, unless we are prepared to bear witness to Christ with the gift of ourselves, unreservedly, not in a calculating way, sometimes even at the cost of our lives. But this also applies to everyone: we all have to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel. We should all ask ourselves: How do I bear witness to Christ through my faith? Do I have the courage of Peter and the other Apostles, to think, to choose and to live as a Christian, obedient to God? To be sure, the testimony of faith comes in very many forms, just as in a great fresco, there is a variety of colours and shades; yet they are all important, even those which do not stand out. In God’s great plan, every detail is important, even yours, even my humble little witness, even the hidden witness of those who live their faith with simplicity in everyday family relationships, work relationships, friendships. There are the saints of every day, the “hidden” saints, a sort of “middle class of holiness”, as a French author said, that “middle class of holiness” to which we can all belong. But in different parts of the world, there are also those who suffer, like Peter and the Apostles, on account of the Gospel; there are those who give their lives in order to remain faithful to Christ by means of a witness marked by the shedding of their blood. Let us all remember this: one cannot proclaim the Gospel of Jesus without the tangible witness of one’s life. Those who listen to us and observe us must be able to see in our actions what they hear from our lips, and so give glory to God! I am thinking now of some advice that Saint Francis of Assisi gave his brothers: preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words. Preaching with your life, with your witness. Inconsistency on the part of pastors and the faithful between what they say and what they do, between word and manner of life, is undermining the Church’s credibility.

3. But all this is possible only if we recognize Jesus Christ, because it is he who has called us, he who has invited us to travel his path, he who has chosen us. Proclamation and witness are only possible if we are close to him, just as Peter, John and the other disciples in today’s Gospel passage were gathered around the Risen Jesus; there is a daily closeness to him: they know very well who he is, they know him. The Evangelist stresses the fact that “no one dared ask him: ‘Who are you?’ – they knew it was the Lord” (Jn 21:12). And this is important for us: living an intense relationship with Jesus, an intimacy of dialogue and of life, in such a way as to recognize him as “the Lord”. Worshipping him! The passage that we heard from the Book of Revelation speaks to us of worship: the myriads of angels, all creatures, the living beings, the elders, prostrate themselves before the Throne of God and of the Lamb that was slain, namely Christ, to whom be praise, honour and glory (cf. Rev 5:11-14). I would like all of us to ask ourselves this question: You, I, do we worship the Lord? Do we turn to God only to ask him for things, to thank him, or do we also turn to him to worship him? What does it mean, then, to worship God? It means learning to be with him, it means that we stop trying to dialogue with him, and it means sensing that his presence is the most true, the most good, the most important thing of all. All of us, in our own lives, consciously and perhaps sometimes unconsciously, have a very clear order of priority concerning the things we consider important. Worshipping the Lord means giving him the place that he must have; worshipping the Lord means stating, believing – not only by our words – that he alone truly guides our lives; worshipping the Lord means that we are convinced before him that he is the only God, the God of our lives, the God of our history.

This has a consequence in our lives: we have to empty ourselves of the many small or great idols that we have and in which we take refuge, on which we often seek to base our security. They are idols that we sometimes keep well hidden; they can be ambition, careerism, a taste for success, placing ourselves at the centre, the tendency to dominate others, the claim to be the sole masters of our lives, some sins to which we are bound, and many others. This evening I would like a question to resound in the heart of each one of you, and I would like you to answer it honestly: Have I considered which idol lies hidden in my life that prevents me from worshipping the Lord? Worshipping is stripping ourselves of our idols, even the most hidden ones, and choosing the Lord as the centre, as the highway of our lives.

Dear brothers and sisters, each day the Lord calls us to follow him with courage and fidelity; he has made us the great gift of choosing us as his disciples; he invites us to proclaim him with joy as the Risen one, but he asks us to do so by word and by the witness of our lives, in daily life. The Lord is the only God of our lives, and he invites us to strip ourselves of our many idols and to worship him alone. To proclaim, to witness, to adore. May the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Paul help us on this journey and intercede for us. Amen.


Pope Francis          10.04.16    Regina Cali, St Peter's Square  3rd Sunday of Easter       John: 21: 1-19

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today’s Gospel recounts the third apparition of the Risen Jesus to the disciples, with the account of the miraculous catch on the shore of the lake of Galilee (cf. Jn 21:1-19). The narrative is situated in the context of the everyday life of the disciples, who returned to their land and to their work as fishermen, after the shocking days of the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord. It was difficult for them to understand what had taken place. Even though everything seemed finished, Jesus “seeks” his disciples once more. It is He who goes to seek them. This time he meets them at the lake, where they have spent the night in their boats catching nothing. The nets appear empty, in a certain sense, like the tally of their experience with Jesus: they met him, they left everything to follow him, full of hope... and now? Yes, they saw he was risen, but then they were thought: “He went away and left us.... It was like a dream...”.

So it is that at sunrise Jesus presents himself on the lakeshore; however they do not recognize him (cf. v. 4). The Lord says to those tired and disappointed fishermen: “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some” (v. 6). The disciples trust in Jesus and the result is an incredibly abundant catch. At this point John turns to Peter and says: “It is the Lord!” (v. 7). Right away Peter throws himself into the water and swims to the shore, toward Jesus. In that exclamation: “It is the Lord!”, there is all the enthusiasm of the Paschal faith, full of joy and wonder, which sharply contrasts with the disappearance, the dejection, the sense of powerlessness that had accumulated in the disciples’ hearts. The presence of the Risen Jesus transforms everything: darkness has become light, futile work has again become fruitful and promising, the sense of weariness and abandonment give way to a new impetus and to the certainty that He is with us.

From that time, these same sentiments enliven the Church, the Community of the Risen One. All of us are the community of the Risen One! At first glance it might sometimes seem that the darkness of evil and the toil of daily living have got the upper hand, the Church knows with certainty that the now everlasting light of Easter shines upon those who follow the Lord Jesus. The great message of the Resurrection instils in the hearts of believers profound joy and invincible hope. Christ is truly risen! Today too, the Church continues to make this joyous message resound: joy and hope continue to flow in hearts, in faces, in gestures, in words. We Christians are all called
to communicate this message of resurrection to those we meet, especially to those who suffer, to those who are alone, to those who find themselves in precarious conditions, to the sick, to refugees, to the marginalized. Let us make a ray of the light of the Risen Christ, a sign of his powerful mercy, reach everyone.

May he, the Lord, also renew in us the Paschal faith. May he render us ever more aware of our mission at the service of the Gospel and of our brothers and sisters; may he fill us with his Holy Spirit so that, sustained by the intercession of Mary, with all the Church we may proclaim the greatness of his love and the abundance of his mercy.



Pope Francis   05.05.19     Holy Mass,  Prince Alexander I Square, Sofia, Bulgaria     3rd Sunday of Easter  Year C   John 21: 1-19 
 
Pope Francis 05.05.19  Holy Mass, Sofia, Bulgaria

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Christ is risen! Christos vozkrese!

It is wonderful to see how with these words Christians in your country greet one another in the joy of the Risen Lord during the Easter season.

The entire episode we have just heard, drawn from the final pages of the Gospels, helps us immerse ourselves in this joy that the Lord asks us to spread. It does so by reminding us of three amazing things that are part of our lives as disciples: God calls, God surprises, God loves.

God calls. Everything takes place on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus first called Peter. He had called him to leave behind his trade as a fisher in order to become a fisher of men (cf. Lk 5:4-11). Now, after all that had happened to him, after the experience of seeing the Master die and hearing news of his resurrection, Peter goes back to his former life. He tells the others disciples, “I am going fishing”. And they follow suit: “We will go with you” (Jn 21:3). They seem to take a step backwards; Peter takes up the nets he had left behind for Jesus. The weight of suffering, disappointment, and of betrayal had become like a stone blocking the hearts of the disciples. They were still burdened with pain and guilt, and the good news of the resurrection had not taken root in their hearts.

The Lord knows what a strong temptation it is for us to return to the way things were before. In the Bible, Peter’s nets, like the fleshpots of Egypt, are a symbol of a tempting nostalgia for the past, of wanting to take back what we had decided to leave behind. In the face of
failure, hurt, or even the fact that at times things do not go the way we want, there always comes a subtle and dangerous temptation to become disheartened and to give up. This is the tomb psychology that tinges everything with dejection and leads us to indulge in a soothing sense of self-pity that, like a moth, eats away at all our hope. Then the worst thing that can happen to any community begins to appear – the grim pragmatism of a life in which everything appears to proceed normally, while in reality faith is wearing down and degenerating into small-mindedness (cf.
Evangelii Gaudium, 83).

But it was at the very moment of Peter’s failure that Jesus appears, starts over, patiently comes to him and calls him “Simon” (v. 15) – the name Peter received when he was first called. The Lord does not wait for perfect situations or frames of mind: he creates them. He does not expect to encounter people without problems, disappointments, without sins or limitations. He himself confronted sin and disappointment in order to encourage all men and women to persevere. Brothers and sisters, the Lord never tires of calling us. His is the power of a Love that overturns every expectation and is always ready to start anew. In Jesus, God always offers us another chance. He calls us day by day to deepen our love for him and to be revived by his eternal newness. Every morning, he comes to find us where we are. He summons us “to rise at his word, to look up and to realize that we were made for heaven, not for earth, for the heights of life and not for the depths of death”, and to stop seeking “the living among the dead” (
Homily at the Easter Vigil, 20 April 2019). When we welcome him, we rise higher and are able to embrace a brighter future, not as a possibility but as a reality. When Jesus’s call directs our lives, our hearts grow young.

God
surprises. He is the Lord of surprises. He invites us not only to be surprised, but also to do surprising things. The Lord calls the disciples and, seeing them with empty nets, he tells them to do something odd: to fish by day, something quite out of the ordinary on that lake. He revives their trust by urging them once more to take a risk, not to give up on anyone or anything. He is the Lord of surprises, who breaks down paralyzing barriers by filling us with the courage needed to overcome the suspicion, mistrust and fear that so often lurk behind the mindset that says, “We have always done things this way”. God surprises us whenever he calls and asks us to put out into the sea of history not only with our nets, but with our very selves. To look at our lives and those of others as he does, for “in sin, he sees sons and daughters to be restored; in death, brothers and sisters to be reborn; in desolation, hearts to be revived. Do not fear, then: the Lord loves your life, even when you are afraid to look at it and take it in hand” (
ibid.).

We can now turn to the third amazing thing: God calls and God surprises, because God loves. Love is his language. That is why he asks Peter, and us, to learn that language. He asks Peter: “Do you love me?” And Peter says yes; after spending so much time with Jesus, he now understands that to love means to stop putting himself at the centre. He now makes Jesus, and not himself, the starting point: “You know everything” (Jn 21:18), he says. Peter recognizes his weakness; he realizes that he cannot make progress on his own. And he takes his stand on the Lord and on the strength of his love, to the very end.

The Lord loves us: this is the source of our strength and we are asked to reaffirm it each day. Being a Christian is a summons to realize that God’s love is greater than all our shortcomings and sins. One of our great disappointments and difficulties today comes not from knowing that God is love, but that our way of proclaiming and bearing witness to him is such that, for many people, this is not his name. God is love, a love that bestows itself, that calls and surprises.

Here we see the miracle of God, who makes of our lives works of art, if only we let ourselves to be led by his love. Many of the witnesses of Easter in this blessed land created magnificent masterpieces, inspired by simple faith and great love. Offering their lives, they became living signs of the Lord, overcoming apathy with courage and offering a Christian response to the concerns that they encountered (cf. Christus Vivit, 174). Today we are called to lift up our eyes and acknowledge what the Lord has done in the past, and to walk with him towards the future, knowing that, whether we succeed or fail, he will always be there to keep telling us to cast our nets.

Here I would like to repeat what I said to young people
in my recent Exhortation. A young Church, young not in terms of age but in the grace of the Spirit, is inviting us to testify to the love of Christ, a love that inspires and directs us to strive for the common good. This love enables us to serve the poor and to become protagonists of the revolution of charity and service, capable of resisting the pathologies of consumerism and superficial individualism. Brimming with the love of Christ, be living witnesses of the Gospel in every corner of this city (cf. Christus Vivit, 174-175). Do not be afraid of becoming the saints that this land greatly needs. Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, it will take away none of your vitality or joy. On the contrary, you and all the sons and daughters of this land will become what the Father had in mind when he created you (cf. Gaudete et Exsultate, 32).

Called, surprised and sent for love!



Pope Francis  17.04.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae) Easter Friday      John 21 1-14

Pope Francis talks about the Church 17.04.20

The disciples were fishermen: Jesus had called them specifically while they were working. Andrew and Peter were working with their nets. They left the nets and followed Jesus. John and James, the same: they left their father and the people who worked with them and followed Jesus. They received their call precisely as they were doing their work as fishermen. And this passage of today's Gospel, this miracle, of miraculous fishing makes us think of another miraculous catch, the one that Luke tells, (Luke 5:1-11): the same happened there too. They had a catch when they thought they didn't have any. After Jesus had preached he said, "Go out" and they told him "But we worked all night and we caught nothing!" and Jesus said "Go on out." and Peter said "On your word, we will cast the nets." There was so a quantity of fish, the Gospel says, that "they were filled with amazement" by that miracle. Today, in this other catch of fish there is no mention of amazement. One sees a certain naturalness, one sees that there has been progress, a journey of knowing the Lord, of intimacy with the Lord; I will say the right word: familiarity with the Lord. When John saw this, he said to Peter, "But it is the Lord!" and Peter tucks his garment in, and jumps into the sea to go to the Lord. The first time, he knelt before him and said: "Go away from me, Lord, because I am a sinner." This time he says nothing, it had become natural. No one asked, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord, it had become natural, these encounters with the Lord. The apostles' familiarity with the Lord had grown.

We Christians too, in our journey of life, are in this state of walking, of progressing in familiarity with the Lord. The Lord, I might say, takes us by hand a little, but takes us by hand because he walks with us, we know that it is him. No one asked him, here, "who are you?" because they knew it was the Lord. A daily familiarity with the Lord is that of the Christian. And surely, they had breakfast together, with fish and bread, they certainly talked about so many things with naturalness.

This familiarity with the Lord, of Christians, is always communal. Yes, it's intimate, it's personal but in community. A familiarity without community, a familiarity without bread, a familiarity without the Church, without the people, without the sacraments is dangerous. It can become a familiarity – we say – gnostic, a familiarity for me only, detached from the people of God. The familiarity of the apostles with the Lord was always in a community, always at the table, a sign of the community. It was always with sacraments, with the bread.

I say this because someone has made me reflect on the danger that this moment that we are experiencing, this pandemic that has made us all communicate religiously through the media, through the media, also this Mass, we are all communicating, but not together, spiritually together. The people gathered are few. There is a great people: we are together, but not together. Even the Sacrament: today you will have it, the Eucharist, but the people who are connected with us, only have Spiritual Communion. And this is not the Church: this is the Church of a difficult situation, which the Lord allows, but the ideal of the Church is always with the people and with the Sacraments. Always.

Before Easter, when the news came out that I would celebrate Easter in an empty St. Peter's, a bishop wrote to me – a good bishop: good – and he scolded me. "But why, St. Peter's is so big, why don't you put at least 30 people, so that people can be seen?  ...". I thought, "But, what's in his head, to tell me this?" I didn't understand at the time. But since he is a good bishop, very close to the people, he had something he wanted to tell me. When I find him, I'm going to ask him. Then I realized. He said to me, "Be careful not to viralize the Church, not to viralize the sacraments, not to viralize the people of God." The Church, the sacraments, the people of God are concrete. It is true that at this moment we must make this familiarity with the Lord in this way, but to get out of the tunnel, not to remain there. And this is the familiarity of the apostles: not gnostic, not viralized, not selfish for each of them, but a concrete familiarity, among the people. Familiarity with the Lord in daily life, familiarity with the Lord in the sacraments, in the midst of the people of God. They have made a journey of progress in familiarity with the Lord: let us learn to do this as well. From the first moment, they realized that that familiarity was different from what they imagined, and they came to this. They knew he was the Lord, they shared everything: the community, the sacraments, the Lord, peace, celebration.

May the Lord teach us this intimacy with him, this familiarity with him but in the Church, with the sacraments, with the holy faithful people of God.



  
 
Chapter 21

 15 - 19

 

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate,

https://sites.google.com/site/francishomilies/profession-of-faith/23.05.13.jpg

The biblical Readings we have heard make us think. They have made me think deeply. I have conceived of a sort of meditation for us bishops, first for me, a bishop like you, and I share it with you.

It is important — and I am particularly glad — that our first meeting should take place here, on the site that guards not only Peter’s tomb but also the living memory of his witness of faith, his service to the Truth, and his gift of himself to the point of martyrdom for the Gospel and for the Church.

This evening this Altar of the Confession thus becomes for us the Sea of Tiberias, on whose shores we listen once again to the marvellous conversation between Jesus and Peter with the question addressed to the Apostle, but which must also resonate in our own hearts, as Bishops.

“Do you love me?”. “Are you my friend?” (cf. Jn 21, 15ff.).

The question is addressed to a man who, despite his solemn declarations, let himself be gripped by fear and so had denied.

“Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?”.

The question is addressed to me and to each one of us, to all of us: if we take care not to respond too hastily and superficially it impels us to look within ourselves, to re-enter ourselves.

“Do you love me?”; “Are you my friend?”.

The One who scrutinizes hearts (cf. Rom 8:27), makes himself a beggar of love and questions us on the one truly essential issue, a premiss and condition for feeding his sheep, his lambs, his Church. May every ministry be based on this intimacy with the Lord; living from him is the measure of our ecclesial service which is expressed in the readiness to obey, to humble ourselves, as we heard in the Letter to the Philippians, and for the total gift of self (cf. 2:6-11).

Moreover, the consequence of loving the Lord is giving everything — truly everything, even our life — for him. This is what must distinguish our pastoral ministry; it is the litmus test that tells us how deeply we have embraced the gift received in responding to Jesus’ call, and how closely bound we are to the individuals and communities that have been entrusted to our care. We are not the expression of a structure or of an organizational need: even with the service of our authority we are called to be a sign of the presence and action of the Risen Lord; thus to build up the community in brotherly love.

Not that this should be taken for granted: even the greatest love, in fact, when it is not constantly nourished, weakens and fades away. Not for nothing did the Apostle Paul recommend: “take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians, to feed the church of the Lord which he obtained with his own Son's blood” (cf. Acts 20:28).

A lack of vigilance — as we know — makes the Pastor tepid; it makes him absentminded, forgetful and even impatient. It tantalizes him with the prospect of a career, the enticement of money and with compromises with a mundane spirit; it makes him lazy, turning him into an official, a state functionary concerned with himself, with organization and structures, rather than with the true good of the People of God. Then one runs the risk of denying the Lord as did the Apostle Peter, even if he formally presents him and speaks in his name; one obscures the holiness of the hierarchical Mother Church making her less fruitful.

Who are we, Brothers, before God? What are our trials? We have so many; each one of us has his own. What is God saying to us through them? What are we relying on in order to surmount them?

Just as it did Peter, Jesus' insistent and heartfelt question can leave us pained and more aware of the weakness of our freedom, threatened as it is by thousands of interior and exterior forms of conditioning that all too often give rise to bewilderment, frustration, and even disbelief.

These are not of course the sentiments and attitudes that the Lord wants to inspire; rather, the Enemy, the Devil, takes advantage of them to isolate us in bitterness, complaint and despair.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, does not humiliate or abandon people to remorse. Through him the tenderness of the Father, who consoles and revitalizes, speaks; it is he who brings us from the disintegration of shame — because shame truly breaks us up — to the fabric of trust; he restores courage, re-entrusts responsibility, and sends us out on mission.

Peter, purified in the crucible of forgiveness could say humbly, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you” (Jn 21:17). I am sure that we can all say this with heartfelt feeling. And Peter, purified, urges us in his First Letter to tend “the flock of God... not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock” (1 Pet 5:2-3).

Yes, being Pastors means believing every day in the grace and strength that come to us from the Lord despite our weakness, and wholly assuming the responsibility for walking before the flock, relieved of the burdens that obstruct healthy apostolic promptness, hesitant leadership, so as to make our voice recognizable both to those who have embraced the faith and to those who “are not [yet] of this fold” (Jn 10:16). We are called to make our own the dream of God, whose house knows no exclusion of people or peoples, as Isaiah prophetically foretold in the First Reading (cf. Is 2:2-5).

For this reason being Pastors also means being prepared to walk among and behind the flock; being capable of listening to the silent tale of those who are suffering and of sustaining the steps of those who fear they may not make it; attentive to raising, to reassuring and to instilling hope. Our faith emerges strengthened from sharing with the lowly. Let us therefore set aside every form of arrogance, to bend down to all whom the Lord has entrusted to our care. Among them let us keep a special, very special, place for our priests. Especially for them may our heart, our hand and our door stay open in every circumstance. They are the first faithful that we bishops have: our priests. Let us love them! Let us love them with all our heart! They are our sons and our brothers!

Dear brothers, the profession of faith we are now renewing together is not a formal act. Rather, it means renewing our response to the “Follow me” with which John’s Gospel ends (21:19). It leads to living our life in accordance with God’s plan, committing our whole self to the Lord Jesus. The discernment that knows and takes on the thoughts, expectations and needs of the people of our time stems from this.

In this spirit, I warmly thank each one of you for your service, for your love for the Church.

And the Mother is here! I place you, and myself, under the mantle of Mary, Our Lady.

Mother of silence, who watches over the mystery of God,
Save us from the idolatry of the present time, to which those who forget are condemned.
Purify the eyes of Pastors with the eye-wash of memory:
Take us back to the freshness of the origins, for a prayerful, penitent Church.

Mother of the beauty that blossoms from faithfulness to daily work,
Lift us from the torpor of laziness, pettiness, and defeatism.
Clothe Pastors in the compassion that unifies, that makes whole; let us discover the joy of a humble, brotherly, serving Church.

Mother of tenderness who envelops us in patience and mercy,
Help us burn away the sadness, impatience and rigidity of those who do not know what it means to belong.
Intercede with your Son to obtain that our hands, our feet, our hearts be agile: let us build the Church with the Truth of love.
Mother, we shall be the People of God, pilgrims bound for the Kingdom. Amen.



Pope Francis     17.05.13  Holy Mass  Santa Marta        John  21: 15 - 19

What developed between Peter and Jesus after that first “follow me” was a dialogue of love. From the moment that Jesus called Simon by a new name: “Cepha, Peter”, it was the start of a mission, even if Peter understood nothing, the mission was there. And when Peter later remembers how he denied evening knowing Jesus, “he feels ashamed. Peter’s shame.... Peter is a great man. A sinner. But the Lord shows him, him and us all, we are all sinners”. “The problem is not sinning”, but “not repenting of the sin, not feeling ashamed of what we have done. That is the problem”.

However Peter had a great heart and this “brought him to a new encounter with Jesus, in the joy of forgiveness."



Pope Francis    29.06.19  Angelus  St Peter's Square, Rome    Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul,  Apostles  - Year C     John 21: 15-19

Pope Francis   29.06.19  Angelus  Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Saints Peter and Paul, whom we celebrate today, are sometimes depicted in icons in the act of holding up the Church. This reminds us of the words of today's Gospel, where Jesus tells Peter: "you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church" (Mt 16.18). This is the first time that Jesus pronounces the word "Church", but more than thinking about the noun I would like to invite you to think of the adjective, which is a possessive, "my": my church. Jesus does not speak of the Church as an external reality, but expresses the great love he has for her: my church. He is in love with the Church, with us. St. Paul wrote: "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her" (Eph 5.25), that is, the Apostle explains, Jesus loves the Church as his bride. For the Lord we are not a group of believers or a religious organization, we are his bride. He looks tenderly on the Church, He loves her with absolute fidelity, in spite of our failures and betrayals. Just as He did that day Peter, so today He says to each of us: "my church, you are my church."

And we can repeat it ourselves: my church. We do not say it with a sense of exclusive belonging, but with an inclusive love. Not to differentiate ourselves from others, but to learn the beauty of being with others, because Jesus wants us to be united and open. The Church is not "mine" because it responds to what I want, my cravings, but so that I might pour out my love on her. It is mine so that I might care for her, so that, as the icon of the Apostles, I might also hold it up. And how? With fraternal love. With our fraternal love we can say: my Church.

In another icon Saints Peter and Paul are depicted while exchanging an embrace. There was a lot of diversity between them. A fisherman and a Pharisee with their own life experiences, their characters, ways of doing things and sensitivities were completely different. Conflicting opinions and frank debates were not lacking between them (cf. Gal 2.11 ff.). But that which united them was infinitely greater: Jesus was the Lord of both, together they said "my Lord" to the one who says "my church". Brothers in the faith, invite us to rediscover the joy of being brothers and sisters in the Church. On this feast, which unites two very different Apostles, it would be beautiful for each of us to say, "thank you, Lord, for that person who is different from me: he, she is a gift for my church." We are different but this enriches us, and it is brotherhood. It would be good to appreciate the qualities of others, to recognize the gifts of others without malice and without envy.
Envy! Envy causes bitterness inside, it is vinegar poured out on the heart. Those who are envious have a real sour outlook. Many times, when one finds a jealous person, they might wan to ask, but what did you have for breakfast today, was it with milk or with vinegar? Because is bitter. Envy makes life sour. How beautiful instead it is to know that we belong to each other, because we share the same faith, the same love, the same hope, the same Lord. We belong to each other and this is the splendid mystery of being able to say: our Church! Brotherhood.

At the end of the Gospel Jesus said to Peter, "feed my sheep" (Jn 21.17). He speaks of us and says "my sheep" with the same tenderness with which he said my church. With how much love, with how much tenderness Jesus loves us! We feel like we are His. This is the affection that builds the Church. Today through the intercession of the Apostles, let us ask the grace to love our Church. Let us ask for eyes that know how to see in it brothers and sisters, a heart that knows how to welcome others with the tender love that Jesus has for us. And let us ask for the strength to pray for those who do not think like us – this persons thinks differently, I pray for that person – prayer and love, which is different from talking down about , perhaps behind their backs. Never talk down about people, prayer and love. May the Madonna, who brought harmony among the Apostles and prayed for them (cf. At 1.14), guard us as brothers and sisters in the Church.



  
  Chapter 21

20-25

 

Gossip, is destructive to the Church. Jesus often spoke of this to Peter and to all the others. He asked Peter several times “if he loved him, if he loved him more than the others. Peter said ‘yes’, and the Lord gave him his role: ‘feed my sheep’”. This was “a real, loving conversation”. However, at a certain point, Peter was tempted to interfere in the life of someone else (cf. Jn 21:20-25).

Peter, was a human being and so could not but likewise be tempted to interfere in the life of others, “as the vulgar expression says, to ‘stick his nose into other people’s affairs’”. This also happens in our lives as Christians. How often, are we tempted to do this? Dialogue “with Jesus has been diverted to a different track”. This interference in others’ lives comes in many different forms. The
constant comparison of oneself to others, and gossip, which is literally, “flaying each other”. Three other common forms of negative behaviour, are misinformation, false accusation, and calumny.
  
  
  














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