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04 2020


Pope Francis  General Audience 29.04.20
Catechesis on the Beatitudes  
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake 

Pope Francis Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake 29.04.20
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

With today's audience we conclude the catechesis on the Beatitudes. As we have heard, the last one proclaims the eschatological joy of those persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
This Beatitude proclaims the same happiness as the first: the kingdom of Heaven is given to the persecuted as it is to the poor in spirit. We thus understand that we have arrived at the end of a unified journey that has been unfolded in the previous proclamations.
Poverty of spirit, weeping, meekness, thirst for holiness, mercy, purification of the heart and works of peace can lead to persecution for Christ's sake, but this persecution in the end is a cause of joy and great reward in heaven. The path of the Beatitudes is an Easter journey that leads from a life according to the world to a life according to God, from an existence guided by the flesh – that is, selfishness – to one guided by the Spirit.
The world, with its idols, its compromises and its priorities, cannot approve of this kind of existence. The "structures of sin", often produced by a human mentality, can only reject poverty or meekness or purity and declare life according to the Gospel as a mistake and a problem, therefore as something to be marginalized. That's how the world thinks: "These are idealists or fanatics". That's what they think.
If the world lives on the basis of money, anyone who proves that life can be fulfilled through giving and renunciation becomes a nuisance to the system of greed.

The only Christian witness which is so good for so many people, disturbs those who have a worldly mentality. They take it as a reproach.
It is painful to remember that, at this time, there are many Christians who are suffering persecution in various parts of the world, and we must hope and pray that their tribulation is stopped as soon as possible. There are many: today's martyrs are more than the martyrs of the first centuries. We express our closeness to these brothers and sisters: we are one body, and these Christians are the bleeding member of the body of Christ that is the Church.
Let us not be discouraged when a life that is consistent with the Gospel attracts people's persecutions: there is the Spirit that sustains us, on this path.




Pope Francis Regina Caeli  26.04.20 
 
From "if" to "yes" Sadness to Joy

Pope Francis From "if" to "yes" Sadness to Joy - Regina Caeli 26.04.20
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today's Gospel, set on the day of the Passover, tells the story of the two disciples of Emmaus ( Luke 24: 13-35). 

The two different paths of those early disciples tell us, the disciples of Jesus today, that in life we have two opposite directions in front of us: there is the path of those who, like those two at the beginning, allow themselves to be paralyzed by the disappointments of life and go ahead sadly; and there is the path of those who do not put themselves and their problems first, but Jesus who visits us, and the brothers who await his visit, that is, the brothers and sisters who wait for us to take care of them.

Here is the turning point: to stop orbiting around one's self, the disappointments of the past, unrealized ideals, so many bad things that have happened in one's life. So many times we are led to orbit around ourselves. Leave that and move forward looking at the greatest and truest reality of life: Jesus is alive, Jesus loves me. This is the greatest reality. And I can do something for others. It's a beautiful reality, positive, sunny, beautiful! 

The U-turn is this: to move from thoughts about myself to the reality of my God; pass – with another pun – from "ifs" to "yes". From "if" to "yes." What does it mean? "If he had freed us, if God had listened to me, if life had gone the way I wanted, if I had this and that..." in a tone of complaint. This "if" does not help, it is not fruitful, it does not help us or others. Here  our ifs are similar to those of the two disciples. But they pass to yes: "yes, the Lord is alive, he walks with us. Yes, now, not tomorrow, we are on our way to announce it." "Yes, I can do this so that people are happier, because people will get better, to help so many people. Yes, yes, I can." From if to yes, from complaint to joy and peace, because when we complain, we are not joyful; we are in a grey area, that grey air of sadness. And that doesn't even help us grow well. From if to yes, from complaint to the joy of service.

First, open our heart to Jesus, entrust him with the burdens, the hardships, the disappointments of life, entrust him with the "ifs"; and then, second step, listen to Jesus, take the Gospel in hand, read this passage today, chapter twenty-four of Luke's Gospel; thirdly, pray to Jesus, in the same words as those disciples: "Lord, "stay with us" (v. 29). Lord, stay with me. Lord, stay with all of us, because we need you to find our way. And without you there is night.

Dear brothers and sisters, we are always on our way in life. And we become what we're going towards. Let us choose God's way, not that of the self; the way of yes, not the way of the if. We will find that there is no unexpected events, there is no uphill path, there is no night that cannot be faced with Jesus. 






Pope Francis  General Audience 22.04.20
Catechesis on the 50th Earth Day
Care for our common home


Care for our common home / Laudato Si / Climate Change
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today we celebrate the 50th Earth Day. It is an opportunity to renew our commitment to love and care for our common home and the weakest members of our family. Just as the tragic coronavirus pandemic is showing us, only together and by embracing the most vulnerable, can we overcome global challenges. The Laudato Si Encyclical Letter has just this subtitle: "on the care for our common home".
We live in this common home as one human family and in biodiversity with the other creatures of God. As the image of God, we are called to care of and respect all creatures and to nurture love and compassion for our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest, in imitation of God's love for us.
Because of selfishness, we have failed in  our responsibility as custodians and stewards of the earth. "But we need only take a frank look at the facts to see that our common home is falling into serious disrepair". We polluted it, we plundered it, endangering our own lives. For this reason, various international and local movements have been formed to awaken our consciences. I sincerely appreciate these initiatives, and it will still be necessary for our children to take to the streets to teach us what is obvious, namely that there is no future for us if we destroy the environment that sustains us.
We have failed to care for the earth, our garden home, and in caring for our brothers and sisters. We have sinned against the earth, against our neighbours and, ultimately, against the Creator, the good Father who provides for everyone and wants us to live together in communion and prosperity. And how does the earth react? There is a Spanish saying that is very clear in this, and says thus: "God always forgives; we men and women forgive sometimes and sometimes we don't; the earth never forgives." The earth does not forgive: if we have made the earth deteriorate, the response will be very ugly.
We need a new way of looking at our common home. It is not a store house of resources to be exploited. For us believers, the natural world is the "Gospel of Creation", which expresses God's creative power in shaping human life and making the world exist along with what it contains to support humanity.
When we see these natural tragedies that are the earth's response to our mistreatment, I think, "If I ask the Lord now what he thinks, I don't think he will tell me it's a very good thing." We ruined the Lord's work!
In celebrating Earth Day today, we are called to rediscover a sense of sacred respect for the earth, because it is not only our home, but also God's home.
We need an ecological conversion that is expressed in concrete action. As a single, interdependent family, we need a shared plan to ward off threats against our common home.
I would like to encourage concerted interventions at national and local level as well. It is good to come together from all levels of society and also to create a popular movement "from below". Each of us can make our own small contribution.
In this Easter time of renewal, let us commit ourselves to love and appreciate the magnificent gift of the earth, our common home, and to take care of all members of the human family.






Pope Francis Holy Mass Divine Mercy Sunday Today 19.04.20 
Let us accept mercy and show mercy to those who are most vulnerable 

Pope Francis Accept mercy and show mercy to those who are most vulnerable 19.04.20
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

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.
We 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.
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.
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.
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.
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  General Audience 15.04.20
Catechesis on the Beatitudes
 Blessed are the peacemakers, because for they will be called children of God 

Peace
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above

Today's catechesis is dedicated to the seventh Beatitude, that of the "peacemakers", who are proclaimed children of God. I am happy that this one falls right after Easter, because the peace of Christ is a fruit of his death and resurrection. To understand this Beatitude, one must explain the meaning of the word "peace", which can be misunderstood.
We must orient ourselves between two ideas of peace: the first is the biblical one, where the beautiful word shalòm appears, which expresses abundance, flourishing, well-being. Then there is the other, more widespread sense, in which the word "peace" is understood as a kind of inner tranquillity: I am quiet, I am at peace. Because in life anxieties can be an important time to growth. So often it is the Lord himself who sows  restlessness in us so that we go to him, to find him. In this sense it is an important moment of growth. And at that moment it seems that we are not at peace, but it is the Lord who puts us on this path to achieve the peace that He himself will give us. 
We must remember that the Lord means his peace as different from that of the human one, that of the world, when he says: "Peace I leave with you: my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you"(John 14:27). Jesus' peace is another peace, different from the worldly one. 
Let us ask ourselves: how does the world give peace? If we think of the conflicts of war, wars usually end in two ways: either with the defeat of either side, or with peace treaties. We can only wish and pray that this second way will always be the one opted for; however, we must consider that history is an endless series of peace treaties broken by successive wars, or by the transformation of those same wars in other ways or in other places. Even in our time, a piecemeal war is being fought on various fronts and in various ways.
How does the Lord Jesus "give" his peace? We have heard St. Paul say that Christ's peace is "making both one" (cf. Eph 2:14), to end enmity and to reconcile. Those who have learned the art of peace and exercise it are called children of God, they know that there is no reconciliation without the gift of their own life, and that peace must always be sought and in every case. This is not an autonomous work that is the result of one's own abilities, it is a manifestation of the grace received by Christ.
And again happy Easter to everyone, in the peace of Christ!



Pope Francis - Regina Caeli  13.04.20 
Talks about Women and Christ's Resurrection 

Pope Francis Talks about Women and Christ's Resurrection - Regina Caeli 13.04.20
Excerpt below, for full text click on picture link above

Today, the Easter Monday of the Angel, the joyful proclamation of Christ's resurrection resounds. 
The Risen One entrusts the women with a missionary mandate to the Apostles. In fact, they gave an admirable example of faithfulness, dedication and love to Christ in the time of his public life as well as during his passion; now they are rewarded by him with this gesture of attention and predilection. Women are always at the beginning: Mary, at the beginning; the women are at the beginning. 
The proclamation that Christ has risen spreads everywhere and reaches every corner of the earth, becoming the message of hope for all. The resurrection of Jesus tells us that death does not have the last word, life does. By raising his Son, God the Father has fully manifested his love and mercy to humanity for all time.
If Christ has been raised, it is possible to look with trust at every event of our existence, even the most difficult ones, those full of anguish and uncertainty. This is the Easter message that we are called to proclaim, with words and above all with the witness of life. In our homes and hearts, may this joyful news may resound: "Christ, my hope, has risen!" (Easter Sequence). This certainty strengthens the faith of every baptized person and above all encourages those who are facing greater suffering and difficulty.




Pope Francis - Easter Sunday 12.04.20
“Urbi et Orbi” Message 

Pope Francis Easter Urbi et Orbi Message 12.04.20

Excerpt of Urbi et Orbi Message - for full text click on the picture link above

Dear brothers and sisters, Happy Easter!

Today the Church’s proclamation echoes throughout the world: “Jesus Christ is risen!” – “He is truly risen!”.
Like a new flame this Good News springs up in the night: the night of a world already faced with epochal challenges and now oppressed by a pandemic severely testing our whole human family. In this night, the Church’s voice rings out: “Christ, my hope, has arisen!” .

The resurrection of Christ is the victory of love over the root of evil, a victory that does not “by-pass” suffering and death, but passes through them, opening a path in the abyss, transforming evil into good: this is the unique hallmark of the power of God...
Today my thoughts turn in the first place to the many who have been directly affected by the coronavirus: the sick, those who have died and family members who mourn the loss of their loved ones, to whom, in some cases, they were unable even to bid a final farewell. May the Lord of life welcome the departed into his kingdom and grant comfort and hope to those still suffering, especially the elderly and those who are alone. May he never withdraw his consolation and help from those who are especially vulnerable, such as persons who work in nursing homes, or live in barracks and prisons. For many, this is an Easter of solitude lived amid the sorrow and hardship that the pandemic is causing, from physical suffering to economic difficulties.
This disease has not only deprived us of human closeness, but also of the possibility of receiving in person the consolation that flows from the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and Reconciliation. In many countries, it has not been possible to approach them, but the Lord has not left us alone! ...

May Jesus, our Passover, grant strength and hope to doctors and nurses, who everywhere offer a witness of care and love for our neighbours, to the point of exhaustion and not infrequently at the expense of their own health. Our gratitude and affection go to them, to all who work diligently to guarantee the essential services necessary for civil society, and to the law enforcement and military personnel who in many countries have helped ease people’s difficulties and sufferings.
In these weeks, the lives of millions of people have suddenly changed. For many, remaining at home has been an opportunity to reflect, to withdraw from the frenetic pace of life, stay with loved ones and enjoy their company. For many, though, this is also a time of worry about an uncertain future, about jobs that are at risk and about other consequences of the current crisis. I encourage political leaders to work actively for the common good, to provide the means and resources needed to enable everyone to lead a dignified life and, when circumstances allow, to assist them in resuming their normal daily activities.

This is not a time for indifference, because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic. May the risen Jesus grant hope to all the poor, to those living on the peripheries, to refugees and the homeless. May these, the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters living in the cities and peripheries of every part of the world, not be abandoned...
May international sanctions be relaxed... May all nations be put in a position to meet the greatest needs of the moment through the reduction, if not the forgiveness, of the debt burdening the balance sheets of the poorest nations..
This is not a time for division. May Christ our peace enlighten all who have responsibility in conflicts, that they may have the courage to support the appeal for an immediate global ceasefire in all corners of the world. This is not a time for continuing to manufacture and deal in arms, spending vast amounts of money that ought to be used to care for others and save lives...
Indifference, self-centredness, division and forgetfulness are not words we want to hear at this time. We want to ban these words for ever! … May Christ, who has already defeated death and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, dispel the darkness of our suffering humanity and lead us into the light of his glorious day, a day that knows no end.
With these thoughts, I would like to wish all of you a happy Easter.
.





Pope Francis  General Audience 08.04.20
The True Face of God


God's True Face

In these weeks of apprehension about the pandemic that is causing the world to suffer so much, among the many questions we ask ourselves, there may also be one about God: what does he do before our pain? Where is he when everything is going wrong? Why doesn't he solve the problems immediately? These are questions we ask about God. The account of the Passion of Jesus, which accompanies us in these holy days, helps us.
Let us ask ourselves today: what is the true face of God?
He came close, came to meet us and at Easter he completely revealed himself. And where did he reveal himself completely? On the cross. There we learn the features of God's face. Let us not forget, brothers and sisters, that the cross is the chair of God. He is the one who does not point a finger at someone, not even against those who are crucifying him, but opens his arms to all; who does not crush us with his glory, but lets himself be stripped for us; who does not love us in words, but gives us his life in silence; who does not force us, but frees us; who does not treat us as strangers, but takes our evil upon himself, takes our sins upon himself. 
In these days, all quarantined and at home, closed in, let us take these two things in our hands: the Crucifix, let's look at it; and open the Gospel. This will be for us – let's say – like a great domestic liturgy, because these days we cannot go to church. The Crucifix and the Gospel.
When is the identity of Jesus solemnly proclaimed in the Gospel? When the centurion says, "Truly this man was the Son of God." It is said there, as soon as he gave his life on the cross, because we can no longer be mistaken: we see that God is omnipotent in love, and not in any other way. It's his nature, because he's like that. He is Love.
The power of this world passes while love remains. Only love protects the life we have, because it embraces our weaknesses and transforms them. It is the love of God who at Easter healed our sin with his forgiveness, who made death a passage of life, who changed our fear into trust, our anguish into hope. Easter tells us that God can turn everything into good. That with him we can really trust that all will be well. And this is not an illusion, because the death and resurrection of Jesus is not an illusion: it is a truth!
Brothers and sisters, let us open our hearts to him in prayer this week, these days: with the Crucifix and with the Gospel. Don't forget: The Crucifix and Gospel. The domestic liturgy, this is what it will be. Let us open our hearts in prayer, let his gaze be on us and understand that we are not alone, but loved, because the Lord does not abandon us and never forgets us. And with these thoughts, I wish you a Holy Week and a Holy Easter.



Pope Francis Celebration of Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord 05.04.20

Palm Sunday - Passion of the Lord

God saved us by serving us. We often think we are the ones who serve God. No, he is the one who freely chose to serve us, for he loved us first. But – just one question – how did the Lord serve us? By giving his life for us. The Lord served us to the point of experiencing the most painful situations of those who love: betrayal and abandonment.
When we have our back to the wall, when we find ourselves at a dead end, with no light and no way of escape, when it seems that God himself is not responding, we should remember that we are not alone.

Today, in the tragedy of a pandemic, in the face of the many false securities that have now crumbled, in the face of so many hopes betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that weighs upon our hearts, Jesus says to each one of us: “Courage, open your heart to my love. You will feel the consolation of God who sustains you".
The tragedy we are experiencing at this time summons us to take seriously the things that are serious, and not to be caught up in those that matter less; to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others. For life is measured by love.
May we reach out to those who are suffering and those most in need. May we not be concerned about what we lack, but what good we can do for others.



Pope Francis  General Audience 01.04.20
Catechesis on the Beatitudes 
 Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God

our Heart

Today we read together the sixth Beatitude, which promises the vision of God and has as a condition purity of heart.
We know God by hearsay, but we move forward with our experience , forward, forward and eventually we know Him directly, if we are faithful ... And this is the maturity of the Spirit.
How can we get to this intimacy, to know God with our eyes? When the heart is foolish and slow, you don't see things. You see things as cloudy. Here lies the wisdom of this Beatitude: in order to contemplate it is necessary to look deep within our hearts and make room for God. 
To see God we must free the heart from its deceptions!
This is a decisive maturation: when we realize that our worst enemy is often hidden in our hearts. The noblest battle is against the inner deceptions generated by our sins. Because sins change the inner vision, they change the evaluation of things, they makes us see things that are not true, or at least that are not so true. 
But what does pure in heart mean? The pure in heart live in the presence of the Lord, preserving in their hearts what is worthy of the relationship with Him. 
The purified heart is therefore the result of a process that involves liberation and renunciation. This inner purification implies the recognition of that part of the heart that is under the influence of evil. To learn the art of letting oneself always be taught and guided by the Holy Spirit. He is the one who guides us to make this journey. 
There is also another dimension. To recognize His presence in the sacraments, His presence in our brothers and sisters, especially the poor and suffering.
This Beatitude begins a journey of liberation that lasts all life and leads to Heaven.