Pope Francis Homilies

Pope Francis General Audience 29.03.23  

I extend a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Indonesia, the Philippines, Canada and the United States of America. I greet in particular the delegation from the NATO Defense College and the many students and teachers present. May our Lenten journey bring us to Easter with hearts purified and renewed by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Upon you and your families I invoke joy and peace in Christ our Redeemer!

Lastly, as usual, my thoughts turn to the young people, the sick, the elderly and the newlyweds. In this time of Lent, I hope that each one of you will rediscover and witness joyfully to the gift of the Christian faith.

Let us persevere in prayer and closeness to the tormented Ukraine.

My blessing to you all.


Pope Francis  General Audience  29.03.23  

Evangelization - The Apostle Paul

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

In the path of catechesis on apostolic zeal, let us start today to look at some figures who, in different ways and times, bore exemplary witness to what passion for the Gospel means. And the first witness is naturally the Apostle Paul. I would like to devote these two catecheses to him.

And the history of Paul of Tarsus is emblematic in this regard. In the first chapter of the Letter to the Galatians, as in the narration of the Acts of the Apostles, we can see that his zeal for the Gospel appears after his conversion, and takes the place of his previous zeal for Judaism. He was a man who was zealous about the law of Moses for Judaism, and after his conversion, this zeal continued, but to proclaim, to preach Jesus Christ. Paul loved Jesus. Saul – Paul’s first name – was already zealous, but Christ converts his zeal: from the Law to the Gospel. His zeal first wanted to destroy the Church, whereas after it builds it up. We might ask ourselves: what happened, that passed from destruction to construction? What changed in Paul? In what way was his zeal, his striving for the glory of God, transformed? What happened there?

Saint Thomas Aquinas teaches that passion, from the moral point of view, is neither good nor evil: its virtuous use makes it morally good, sin makes it bad.  In Paul’s case, what changed him is not a simple idea or a conviction: it was the encounter, this word, it was the encounter with the risen Lord – do not forget this, it is the encounter with the Lord that changes a life – it was the encounter with the risen Lord that transformed his entire being. Paul’s humanity, his passion for God and his glory was not annihilated, but transformed, “converted” by the Holy Spirit. The only one who can change our hearts, change, is the Holy Spirit. And it was so for every aspect of his life. Just as it happens in the Eucharist: the bread and wine do not disappear, but become the Body and Blood of Christ. Paul’s zeal remains, but it becomes the zeal of Christ. It changes direction but the zeal is the same. The Lord is served with our humanity, with our prerogatives and our characteristics, but what changes everything is not an idea, but rather the very life itself, as Paul himself says: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” – it changes you from within, the encounter with Jesus Christ changes you from within, it makes you another person – “the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17). If one is in Christ, he or she is a new creation, this is the meaning of being a new creation. Becoming Christian is not a masquerade, that changes your face, no! If you are Christian, your heart is changed, but if you are a Christian in appearance, this will not do: masquerading Christians, no, they will not do. The true change is of the heart. And this happened to Paul.

The passion for the Gospel is not a matter of comprehension or studies – you can study all the theology you want, you can study the Bible and all that, and become atheist or worldly, it is not a question of studies; in history there have been many atheist theologians, no! Study is useful but it does not generate the new life of grace; rather, to convert means going through that same experience of “fall and resurrection” that Saul/Paul lived and which is at the origin of the transfiguration of his apostolic zeal. Indeed, as Saint Ignatius says: “For it is not knowing much, but realizing and relishing things interiorly, that contents and satisfies”. Every one of us, think. “I am a religious” – “Fine” – “I pray” – “Yes” – “I try to obey the commandments” – “Yes” – “But where is Jesus in your life?” – “Ah, no, I do the things the Church commands”. But Jesus, where is he? Have you encountered Jesus, have you spoken with Jesus? If you pick up the Gospel or talk with Jesus, do you remember who Jesus is?  And this is something that we very often lack; a Christianity, I would say, not without Jesus, but with an abstract Jesus… No! How Jesus entered your life, how he entered the life of Paul, and when Jesus enters, everything changes. Many times, we have heard comments on people: “But look at him, he was a wretch and now he is a good man, she is a good woman… who changed them? Jesus, they found Jesus. Has your Christian life changed? “No, more or less, yes…”. If Jesus did not enter your life, it did not change. You can be Christian only from the outside. No, Jesus must enter and this changes you, and this happened to Paul. It is finding Jesus, and this is why Paul said that Christ’s love drives us, it is what takes you forward. The same thing happened, this change, to all the saints, who went forward when they found Jesus.

We can reflect further on the change that takes place in Paul, who from a persecutor became an apostle of Christ. We note that there is a sort of paradox in him: indeed, as long as he feels he is righteous before God, he feels authorized to persecute, to arrest, even to kill, as in the case of Stephen; but when, enlightened by the Risen Lord, he discovers he was a “blasphemer and persecutor” (cf. 1 Tim 1:13) – this is what he says of himself, “I formerly blasphemed and persecuted” – then he starts to be truly capable of loving. And this is the way. If one of us says, “Ah, thank you Lord, because I am a good person, I do good things, I do not commit major sins…”, this is not a good path, this is the path of self-sufficiency, it is a path that does not justify you, it makes you turn up your nose… It is an elegant Catholic, but an elegant Catholic is not a holy Catholic, he is elegant. The true Catholic, the true Christian is one who receives Jesus within, which changes your heart. This is the question I ask you all today: what does Jesus mean for me? Did I let him enter my heart, or do I keep him within reach but so that he does not really enter within? Have I let myself be changed by him? Or is Jesus just an idea, a theology that goes ahead… And this is zeal, when one finds Jesus and feels the fire, like Paul, and must preach Jesus, must talk about Jesus, must help people, must do good things. When one finds the idea of Jesus, he or she remains an ideologue of Christianity, and this does not justify, only Jesus justifies us. May the Lord help us find Jesus, encounter Jesus, and may this Jesus change our life from within and help us to help others. Thank you.

29.03.23 e

Pope Francis Message for Lent

For the full message click on the picture link above

Pope Francis Celebration of Reconciliation 17.03.23 

24 Hours for the Lord 

Pope Francis  Angelus 26.03.23

The resurrection of Lazarus

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

Today, fifth Sunday of Lent, the Gospel presents to us the resurrection of Lazarus (cf. Jn 11:1-45). It is the last of Jesusmiracles narrated before Easter: the resurrection of his friend Lazarus. Lazarus is a dear friend of Jesus, who knows he is about to die; he sets out on his journey, but arrives at his house four days after the burial, when by now all hope is lost. His presence, however, rekindles a little confidence in the hearts of the sisters Martha and Mary (cf. vv. 22, 27). They cling to this light, to this small hope, despite their suffering. Jesus invites them to have faith, and asks for the tomb to be opened. He then prays to the Father and shouts to Lazarus: “Come out!” (v. 43). And the latter comes back to life and comes out. This is the miracle, just like that, simple.

The message is clear: Jesus gives life even when it seems that all hope has gone. It happens, at times, to feel hopeless – this has happened to us all – or to meet people who have given up hope: embittered by bad experiences, the wounded heart cannot hope. Because of a painful loss, an illness, a bitter disappointment, a wrong or a betrayal suffered, a grave error committed… they have given up hope. At times we hear those who say that “There is nothing more to be done!”, and close the door to every hope. They are moments when life seems to be a sealed tomb: everything is dark, and around us we see only sorrow and despair. Today’s miracle tells us that it is not like that, this is not the end, that in these moments we are not alone; on the contrary, it is precisely in these moments that He comes closer than ever to restore life to us. Jesus weeps: the Gospel tells us that Jesus wept in front of Lazarus’ tomb, and today Jesus weeps with us, as he was able to weep for Lazarus: the Gospel repeats twice that he is moved (cf. vv. 33, 38), emphasizes that he burst into tears (cf. v. 35). And at the same time Jesus invite us not to stop believing and hoping, not to let ourselves be crushed by negative feelings, which take away our tears. He approaches our tombs and says to us, as then: “Take away the stone” (v. 39). In these moments, it is as though we have a stone inside, and the only one capable of removing it is Jesus, with his word: “Take away the stone”.

Jesus says this to us too. Take away the stone: the pain, the mistakes, even the failures, do not hide them inside you, in a dark, lonely, closed room. Take away the stone: draw out everything that is inside. “Ah, but I am ashamed”. Throw it to me with confidence, says the Lord, I will not be outraged; throw it to me without fear, because I am with you, I care about you and I want you to start living again. And, as he did with Lazarus, he repeats to each one of us: Come out! Rise again, get back on the path, regain your confidence! How many times, in life, we find ourselves like this, in this situation of no longer having the strength to get up again.  And Jesus: “Go, go on! I am with you”. I will take you by the hand, says Jesus, like when you were a child learning to take your first steps. Dear brother, dear sister, take off the bandages that bind you (cf. v. 45); please, do not give in to the pessimism that depresses you, do not give in to the fear that isolates, do not give in to the discouragement caused by the memory of bad experiences, do not give in to the fear that paralyses. Jesus tells us, “I want you free and alive, I will not abandon you and I am with you! Everything is dark, but I am with you! Do not let yourself be imprisoned by pain, do not let hope die. Brother, sister, come back to life!”. “And how can I do this?”. “Take my hand”, and he takes us by the hand. Let you be pulled out: and he is capable of doing it. In these bad moments that happen to us all.

Dear brothers and sisters, this passage, in chapter 11 of the Gospel of John and which it does a great deal of good to read, is a hymn to life, and it is proclaimed when Easter is near. Perhaps we too in this moment carry in our heart some burden or some suffering, that seems to crush us; something bad, some old sin we cannot bring out, some youthful mistake, you never know. These bad things need to come out. And Jesus says, “Come out!”. So, it is the moment to take away the stone and to go out towards Jesus, who is close. Can we open our hearts to him and entrust our worries to him? Shall we do it? Are we able to open the tomb of problems, are we capable, and look over the threshold, towards his light, or are we afraid of this? And in turn, as small mirrors of God's love, do we manage to illuminate the environments in which we live with words and gestures of life? Do we bear witness to the hope and joy of Jesus? We, sinners, all of us? And also, I would like to say a word to confessors: dear brothers, do not forget that you too are sinners, and you are in the confessional not to torture, but to forgive, and to forgive everything, just as the Lord forgives everything. May Mary, Mother of Hope, renew in us the joy of not feeling alone and the call to bring light into the darkness that surrounds us.

26.03.23 e

Pope Francis Angelus 26.03.23  

Yesterday, Solemnity of the Annunciation, we renewed the consecration of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the certainty that only the conversion of hearts can open the way that leads to peace. Let us continue to pray for the tormented Ukrainian people.

And let us stay close also to the earthquake victims of Turkey and Syria. The proceeds of special collection taking place today in all parishes throughout Italy are destined for them. Let us also pray for the population of the state of Mississippi, struck by a devastating tornado.

I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims from many countries, in particular those from Madrid and Pamplona, and the Mexicans; as well as the Peruvians, renewing the prayer for reconciliation and peace in Peru. We must pray for Peru, which is suffering a great deal.

I pray for you all; and do this for me. And I wish you all a good Sunday. Enjoy your meal, and arrivederci.


Pope Francis March 2023

For victims of abuse

We pray for those who have suffered harm from members of the Church; may they find within the Church herself a concrete response to their pain and suffering.

In response to cases of abuse, especially to those committed by members of the Church, it’s not enough to ask for forgiveness.

Asking for forgiveness is necessary, but it is not enough. Asking for forgiveness is good for the victims, but they are the ones who have to be “at the center” of everything.

Their pain and their psychological wounds can begin to heal if they find answers —if there are concrete actions to repair the horrors they have suffered and to prevent them from happening again.

The Church cannot try to hide the tragedy of abuse of any kind. Nor when the abuse takes place in families, in clubs, or in other types of institutions.

The Church must serve as a model to help solve the issue and bring it to light in society and in families.

The Church must offer safe spaces for victims to be heard, supported psychologically, and protected.

Let us pray for those who have suffered because of the wrongs done to them from members of the Church; may they find within the Church herself a concrete response to their pain and suffering.

March 2023

The Gospel in your pocket 

How do we receive the Word of God? The response is clear: As one receives Jesus Christ. The Church tells us that Jesus is present in the Scripture, in His Word.

Always carry a small Gospel with you in your purse, in your pocket, and read a passage from the Gospel during the day. Not so much to learn something, but mostly to find Jesus, because Jesus actually is in His Word, in His Gospel.  Every time I read the Gospel, I find Jesus.  - Pope Francis 01.09.14

Daily Readings - read the entire New Testament over a 2 year period (reading plan courtesy of Gideon International)

The Bible Online

Pope Francis  General Audience  22.03.23  

The first way of evangelization - witness

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

Today we will listen to the “magna carta” of evangelization in the contemporary world: Saint Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi (EN, 8 December 1975). It is topical, it was written in 1975 but it is as though it were written yesterday. Evangelization is more than just simple doctrinal and moral transmission. It is, first and foremost, witness one cannot evangelize without witness – witness of the personal encounter with Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word in which salvation is fulfilled. An indispensable witness because, firstly, the world “is calling for evangelizers to speak to it of a God whom the evangelists themselves should know and be familiar with” (EN, 76). It is not to transmit an ideology or a “doctrine” on God, no. It is to transmit God who is living in me: this is witness, and moreover, because “modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses” (ibid., 41). The witness of Christ, then, is at the same time the first means of evangelization (cf. ibid., and an essential condition for its efficacy (cf. ibid., 76), so that the proclamation of the Gospel may be fruitful. Being witnesses.

It is necessary to remember that witness also includes professed faith, that is, convinced and manifest adherence to God the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, who created us out of love, and redeemed us. A faith that transforms us, that transforms our relationships, the criteria and the values that determine our choices. Witness, therefore, cannot be separated from consistency between what one believes and what one proclaims, and what one lives. One is not credible just by stating a doctrine or an ideology, no. A person is credible if there is harmony between what he or she believes and lives. Many Christians only say they believe, but they live something else, as if they did not. And this is hypocrisy. The opposite of witness is hypocrisy. How many times we hear, “Ah, this person goes to Mass every Sunday and then he lives like this, or that”: it is true, it is counter-witness.

Every one of us is required to respond to three fundamental questions, posed in this way by Paul VI: “Do you believe what you are proclaiming? Do you live what you believe? Do you preach what you live?” (cf. ibid.). Is there harmony: do you believe I what you proclaim? Do you live what you believe? Do you proclaim what you live? We cannot be satisfied with easy, pre-packaged answers. We are called upon to accept the risk, albeit destabilized, of the search, trusting fully in the action of the Holy Spirit who works in each one of us, driving us ever further: beyond our boundaries, beyond our barriers, beyond our limits, of any type.

In this sense, the witness of a Christian life involves a journey of holiness, based on Baptism, which makes us “sharers in the divine nature; in this way they are really made holy” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 40). A holiness that is not reserved to the few; that is a gift from God and demands to be received and made to bear fruit for ourselves and for others. Chosen and beloved by God, must bring this love to others. Paul VI teaches that the zeal for evangelization springs from holiness, it springs from the heart that is filled with God. Nourished by prayer and above all by love for the Eucharist, evangelization in turn increases holiness in the people who carry it out (cf. EN, 76). At the same time, without holiness, the word of the evangelizer “will have difficulty in touching the heart of modern man”, and “risks being vain and sterile”.

Therefore, we must be aware that the people to whom evangelization is addressed are not only others, those who profess other faiths or who profess none, but also ourselves, believers in Christ and active members of the People of God. And we must convert every day, receive the word of God and change our life: every day. And this is how the heart is evangelized. To bear this witness, the Church as such must also begin by evangelizing herself. If the Church does not evangelize herself, she remains a museum piece. Instead, it is by evangelizing herself that she is continually updated. She needs to listen unceasingly to what she must believe, to her reasons for hoping, to the new commandment of love. The Church, which is a People of God immersed in the world, and often tempted by idols – many of them – and she always needs to hear the proclamation of the works of God. In brief, this means that she has a constant need of being evangelized, she needs to read the Gospel, to pray and to feel the force of the Spirit changing her heart.

A Church that evangelizes herself in order to evangelize is a Church that, guided by the Holy Spirit, is required to walk a demanding path, a path of conversion and renewal. This also entails the ability to change the ways of understanding and living its evangelizing presence in history, avoiding taking refuge in the protected zones of the logic of “it has always been done this way”. They are the refuges that cause the Church to sicken. The Church must go forward, she must grow continually; in this way she will remain young. This Church is entirely turned to God, therefore a participant in his plan of salvation for humanity, and, at the same time, entirely turned towards humanity. The Church must be a Church that dialogically encounters the contemporary world, that weaves fraternal relationships, that generates spaces of encounter, implementing good practices of hospitality, of welcome, of recognition and integration of the other and of otherness, and that cares for the common home that is creation. That is, a Church that dialogically encounters the contemporary world, that dialogues with the contemporary world, but that encounters the Lord every day, and dialogues with the Lord, and allows the Holy Spirit, the agent of evangelization, to enter. Without the Holy Spirit we can only publicize the Church, not evangelize. It is the Spirit in us that drives us towards evangelization, and this is the true freedom of the children of God.

Dear brothers and sisters, I renew my invitation to you to read and re-read Evangelii nuntiandi: I will tell you the truth, I read it often, because it is Saint Paul VI’s masterpiece, it is the legacy he left to us, to evangelize.

22.03.23 e

Pope Francis Penitential Procession and Holy Mass 22.02.23 

Subject Index