Pope Francis Homilies

Pope Francis General Audience 28.02.24  

March 1 will mark the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on the Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Mines, which continue to target civilians, innocent people, particularly children, many years after the end of hostilities. I express my sympathy for the many victims of these insidious devices that remind us of the dramatic cruelty of wars, and the price civilian populations are forced to bear. In this regard, I thank all those who offer their contributions to assist the victims and clean up the contaminated areas: their work is a concrete response to the universal call to be peacemakers, taking care of our brothers and sisters.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not forget the peoples suffering because of war: Ukraine, Palestine, Israel and so many others. And let us pray for the victims of the recent attacks on places of worship in Burkina Faso; as well as for the people of Haiti, where crimes and kidnappings by armed gangs continue.

I extend a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from England, Ireland, the Netherland, Norway, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the United States of America. I offer a special greeting to the students and professors from Saint Mary’s University, Twickenham, England. Upon all of you and upon your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!

Lastly, my thoughts go to the sick, the elderly, the newlyweds and the young people. May the journey of Lent be an opportunity to return to oneself and renew oneself in spirit.

To all, my blessing!

28.02.24

Pope Francis  General Audience  28.02.24  

Vices and Virtues - Envy and Vainglory

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

Today we examine two deadly vices that we find in the great lists that the spiritual tradition has left us: envy and vainglory.

Let us start with envy. If we read Holy Scripture (cf. Gen. 4), it appears to us as one of the oldest vices: Cain’s hatred of Abel is unleashed when he realizes that his brother's sacrifices are pleasing to God. Cain was the firstborn of Adam and Eve, he had taken the largest share of his father's inheritance; yet, it is enough for Abel, the younger brother, to succeed in a small feat, for Cain to become enraged. The face of the envious man is always sad: he’s always looking down, he seems to be continually investigating the ground; but in reality, he sees nothing, because his mind is wrapped up in thoughts full of wickedness. Envy, if unchecked, leads to hatred of the other. Abel would be killed at the hands of Cain, who could not bear his brother's happiness.

Envy is an evil that has not only been investigated in the Christian sphere: it has attracted the attention of philosophers and wise men of every culture. At its basis is a relationship of hate and love: one desires the evil for the other, but secretly desires to be like him. The other is the epiphany of what we would like to be, and what we actually are not. His good fortune seems to us an injustice: surely, we think to ourselves,  we would deserve his successes or good fortune much more!

At the root of this vice is a false idea of God: we do not accept that God has His own “math,” different from ours. For example, in Jesus' parable about the workers called by the master to go into the vineyard at different times of the day, those in the first hour believe they are entitled to a higher wage than those who arrived last; but the master gives everyone the same pay, and says, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (Mt. 20:15). We would like to impose our own selfish logic on God; instead, the logic of God is love. The good things He gives us are meant to be shared. This is why St. Paul exhorts Christians, “Love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10). Here is the remedy for envy!

And now we come to the second vice we examine today: vainglory. It goes hand in hand with the demon of envy, and together these two vices are characteristic of a person who aspires to be the centre of the world, free to exploit everything and everyone, the object of all praise and love. Vainglory is an inflated and baseless self-esteem. The vainglorious person possesses an unwieldy “I”: he has no empathy and takes no notice of the fact that there are other people in the world besides him. His relationships are always instrumental, marked by the dominating the other. His person, his accomplishments, his achievements must be shown to everyone: he is a perpetual beggar for attention. And if at times his qualities are not recognized, he becomes fiercely angry. Others are unfair, they do not understand, they are not up to it. In his writings, Evagrius Ponticus describes the bitter affair of a certain monk struck by vainglory. It happened that, after his first successes in the spiritual life, he already felt that he had arrived, so he rushed into the world to receive its praise. But he did not realize that he was only at the beginning of the spiritual path, and that a temptation was lurking that would soon bring him down.

To heal the vainglorious, spiritual teachers do not suggest many remedies. For in the end, the evil of vanity has its remedy in itself: the praise the vainglorious man hopes to reap from the world will soon turn against him. And how many people, deluded by a false self-image, have then fallen into sins of which they would soon be ashamed!

The finest instruction for overcoming vainglory can be found in the testimony of St. Paul. The Apostle always reckoned with a defect that he could never overcome. Three times he asked the Lord to deliver him from that torment, but finally Jesus answered him, “My grace is sufficient for you; for strength is fully manifested in weakness.” From that day Paul was set free. And his conclusion should also become ours: “I will therefore gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:9).

28.02.24

Pope Francis  Angelus  25.02.24

The Transfiguration of Jesus

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

The Gospel of this second Sunday of Lent presents us with the episode of the Transfiguration of Jesus (cf. Mk 9:2-10).

After having announced his Passion to the disciples, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him and goes up a high mountain, and physically manifests himself there in all his light. In this way, he reveals to them the meaning of what they had experienced together up to that moment. The preaching of the Kingdom, the forgiveness of sins, the healings, and the performed signs were, indeed, sparks of a greater light, namely, of the light of Jesus, of the light that Jesus is. And from this light, the disciples are never to direct their eyes away, especially in moments of trial, like those of the Passion which was near at this point.

This is today’s message: never direct your eyes away from the light of Jesus. It is a little like what farmers used to do in the past while plowing their fields: they focused their gaze on a specific point ahead of them and, while keeping their eyes fixed on that point, they traced straight furrows.

This is what we are called to do as Christians while we journey through life: to always keep the luminous face of Jesus before our eyes.

Brothers and sisters, let us be open to welcome the light of Jesus! He is love, He is life without end. Along the roads of existence, which can be tortuous from time to time, let us seek His face, that is full of mercy, fidelity, and hope. It is Prayer, listening to the Word and the Sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist, that help us to do this: Prayer, listening to the Word and the Sacraments help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

And this is a good Lenten resolution: cultivating a welcoming outlook, becoming "seekers of light," seekers of the light of Jesus, both in prayer and in people.

So let us ask ourselves: do I keep my eyes fixed on Christ who accompanies me? And in order to do so, do I make space for silence, prayer, adoration? Finally, do I seek out every little ray of Jesus' light, which is reflected in me and in every brother and sister I encounter? And do I remember to thank him for this?

May Mary, who shines with the light of God, help us to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus and to look at each other with trust and love.

25.02.24

Pope Francis Angelus 25.02.24

It is with sorrow that we remembered the second anniversary of the beginning of the large-scale war in Ukraine yesterday, February the 24th. How many victims and injured people, how much destruction, anguish and tears in a period that is becoming terribly long and the end of which cannot be seen yet! It is a war that is not only devastating that region of Europe but which is unleashing a global wave of fear and hatred. While renewing my heartfelt affection for the tormented Ukrainian people, I keep praying for everyone, especially for the countless innocent victims. I earnestly plead that the little humanity needed to create the conditions for a diplomatic solution in seeking for a just and lasting peace be sought. And, brothers and sisters, let us not forget to pray for Palestine, for Israel, and for the many peoples torn apart by war, and to concretely help those who suffer! Let us think of the huge amount of suffering, let us think of the wounded, innocent children.

It is with concern that I am following the increase in violence in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I join the bishops' call to pray for peace, hoping that the clashes may cease and that a sincere and constructive dialogue may be sought.

The increasingly frequent kidnappings in Nigeria are extremely concerning. I express my closeness in prayer to the Nigerian people, hoping that efforts will be made to contain the spread of these incidents as much as possible.

I am also close to the population of Mongolia, affected by a wave of intense cold, which is causing serious humanitarian consequences. This extreme phenomenon is also a sign of climate change and its effects. The climate crisis is a global social problem that deeply affects the lives of many brothers and sisters, especially the life of the most vulnerable: let us pray to be able to make wise and courageous choices to contribute to the care of creation.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch, and arrivederci.

25.02.24

Pope Francis       

Message for Lent 2024  

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

When our God reveals himself, his message is always one of freedom. 

The call to freedom is a demanding one. It is not answered straightaway; it has to mature as part of a journey. Just as Israel in the desert still clung to Egypt – often longing for the past and grumbling against the Lord and Moses – today too, God’s people can cling to an oppressive bondage that it is called to leave behind. We realize how true this is at those moments when we feel hopeless, wandering through life like a desert and lacking a promised land as our destination. Lent is the season of grace in which the desert can become once more. God shapes his people, he enables us to leave our slavery behind and experience a Passover from death to life. Like a bridegroom, the Lord draws us once more to himself, whispering words of love to our hearts.

01.02.24

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

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Pope Francis  Angelus  18.02.24

Jesus tempted in the desert

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

Today, first Sunday of Lent, the Gospel presents us with Jesus tempted in the desert (cf. Mk 1:12-15). The text says: “He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan”. We too, during Lent, are invited to “enter the wilderness”, that is, silence, the inner world, listening to the heart, in contact with the truth. In the desert, today’s Gospel adds, Christ “was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him” (v. 13). Wild beasts and angels were His company. But, in a symbolic sense, they are our company too: indeed, when we enter the inner wildness, we can encounter wild beasts and angels there.

Wild beasts. In what sense? In the spiritual life we can think of them as the disordered passions that divide the heart, trying to take possession of it. They entice us, they seem seductive, but if we are not careful, we risk being torn apart by them. We can give a name to these “beasts” of the soul: the various vices, the coveting of wealth, which imprisons us in connivance and dissatisfaction, the vanity of pleasure, which condemns us to restlessness and solitude, and the craving for fame, which gives rise to insecurity and a continuous need for confirmation and prominence – let us not forget these things that we can encounter within – covetousness, vanity and greed. They are like “wild” beasts, and as such they must be tamed and fought; otherwise, they will devour our freedom. And Lent helps us to enter the inner wilderness to correct these things.

And then, in the desert, there were the angels. These are God’s messengers, who help us, who do us good: indeed, their characteristic, according to the Gospel, is service (cf. v. 13): the exact opposite of possession, typical of the passions. Service against possession. The angelic spirits instead recall the good thoughts and sentiments suggested by the Holy Spirit. While temptations tear us apart, the good divine inspirations unify us and let us enter into harmony: they quench the heart, infuse the taste of Christ, “the flavour of Heaven”. And in order to grasp the inspiration of God, one must enter into silence and prayer. And Lent is the time to do this.

We can ask ourselves, first, what are the disordered passions, the “wild beasts” that agitate in my heart? Second question: to permit the voice of God to speak to my heart and to preserve it in goodness, am I thinking of retreating a little into the “wilderness”, am I trying to dedicate space in the day to this?

May the Holy Virgin, who kept the Word and did not let herself be touched by the temptations of the evil one, help us on our Lenten journey.

18.02.24

Pope Francis February 2024

For the terminally ill

Let us pray that the sick who are in the final stages of life, and their families, receive the necessary medical and human care and accompaniment.

When some people talk about terminal illnesses, there are two words they often confuse: incurable and un-carable. But they are not the same.

Even when little chance for a cure exists, every sick person has the right to medical, psychological, spiritual and human assistance.

Sometimes they can’t talk; sometimes we think they don’t recognize us. But if we take them by the hand, we know they are relating with us.

Healing is not always possible, but we can always care for the sick person, caress them.

Saint John Paul II used to say, “cure if it is possible; always take care.”

And this is where palliative care comes in. It guarantees the patient not only medical attention, but also human assistance and closeness.

Families should not be left alone in these difficult moments.

Their role is decisive. They need access to adequate means so as to provide appropriate physical, spiritual and social support.

Let us pray that the terminally ill and their families always receive the necessary medical and human care and assistance.

February 2024

Pope Francis Holy Mass 14.02.24  

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