Pope Francis Homilies

Pope Francis Meeting with young people 06.12.21

Saint Dionysius School of the Ursuline Sisters in Maroussi, Athens, Greece

Pope Francis Holy Mass 05.12.21

Megaron Concert Hall, Athens

Pope Francis Holy Mass 05.12.21

Megaron Concert Hall, Athens, Greece

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

On this second Sunday of Advent, the word of God sets before us the figure of Saint John the Baptist. The Gospel highlights two important things: the place where John appears, which is the desert, and the content of his message, which is conversion.

God surprises us. His ways surprise us, for they differ from our human expectations; they do not reflect the power and grandeur that we associate with him. Indeed, the Lord likes best what is small and lowly. Redemption did not begin in Jerusalem, Athens or Rome, but in the desert. This paradoxical approach tells us something beautiful: that being powerful, well-educated or famous is no guarantee of pleasing God, for those things could actually lead to pride and to rejecting him. Instead, we need to be interiorly poor, even as the desert is poor.

Usually, those who wish to make an important announcement go to impressive places, where they can be readily seen and address great crowds. John, on the other hand, preaches in the desert. Precisely there, in an arid, empty waste, stretching as far as the eye can see, the glory of the Lord was revealed.

God changes the desert into a sea, parched ground into springs of water. Here is yet another heartening message: then as now, God turns his gaze to wherever sadness and loneliness abound. We can experience this in our own lives: as long as we bask in success or think only of ourselves, the Lord is often unable to reach us; but especially in times of trial, he does. He comes to us in difficult situations; he fills our inner emptiness that makes room for him; he visits our existential deserts.

In our lives as individuals or nations, there will always be times when we feel that we are in the midst of a desert. Yet it is precisely there that the Lord makes his presence felt. There is no place that God will not visit.

Just as the desert is not the first place we would consider going to, so the summons to conversion is certainly not the first word we would like to hear. Talk of conversion can depress us; it can seem hard to reconcile with the Gospel of joy. Yet that is only the case if we think of conversion simply in terms of our own striving for moral perfection, as if that were something we could achieve as the result of our own effort. Therein lies the problem: we think everything is up to us. This is not good, for it leads to spiritual sadness and frustration. For we want to be converted, to become better, to overcome our faults and to change, but we realize that we are not fully capable of this, and, for all our good intentions, we constantly stumble and fall.

The reality is that God is greater. To be converted, then, means not listening to the things that stifle hope, to those who keep telling us that nothing ever changes in life, the pessimists of all time. It means refusing to believe that we are destined to sink into the mire of mediocrity. It means not surrendering to our inner fears, which surface especially at times of trial in order to discourage us and tell us that we will not make it, that everything has gone wrong and that becoming saints is not for us. That is not the case, because God is always present. We have to trust him, for he is our beyond, our strength. We need only open the door and let him enter in and work his wonders.

Let us ask for the grace to believe that with God things really do change, that he will banish our fears, heal our wounds, turn our arid places into springs of water. Let us ask for the grace of hope, since hope revives our faith and rekindles our charity. It is for this hope that the deserts of today’s world are thirsting.

Let us now ask Holy Mary our Mother to help us become, like her, witnesses of hope and sowers of joy all around us, for hope, dear brothers and sisters, never disappoints. In whatever deserts we may dwell, for it is there, by God’s grace, that our life is called to be converted. There, in the multiplicity of existential or environmental deserts, there life is called to flourish. May the Lord give us the grace and courage to accept this truth.

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Pope Francis Visit to the Refugees "Reception and Identification Centre" 05.12.21

Mytilene, Greece


Pope Francis Visit to the Refugees

"Reception and Identification Centre" 05.12.21

Mytilene, Greece

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

Sisters and brothers, I am here once again, to meet you and to assure you of my closeness. I say it from the heart. I am here to see your faces and look into your eyes. Eyes full of fear and expectancy, eyes that have seen violence and poverty, eyes streaked by too many tears. Five years ago on this island, the Ecumenical Patriarch, my dear brother Bartholomew, said something that struck me: “Those who are afraid of you have not looked you in the eye. Those who are afraid of you have not seen your faces. Those who fear you have not seen your children. They have forgotten that dignity and freedom transcend fear and division. They have forgotten that migration is not an issue for the Middle East and Northern Africa, for Europe and Greece. It is an issue for the world” .

It is an issue for the whole world: a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone. The pandemic has had a global impact; it has made us realize that we are all on the same boat; it has made us experience what it means to have identical fears. We have come to understand that the great issues must be faced together, since in today’s world piecemeal solutions are inadequate. Yet while we are working to vaccinate people worldwide and, despite many delays and hesitations, progress is being made in the fight against climate change, all this seems to be terribly absent when it comes to migration. Yet human lives, real people, are at stake! The future of us all is at stake, and that future will be peaceful only if it is integrated. Only if it is reconciled with the most vulnerable will the future be prosperous. When we reject the poor, we reject peace.

History teaches us that narrow self-interest and nationalism lead to disastrous consequences. It is an illusion to think it is enough to keep ourselves safe, to defend ourselves from those in greater need who knock at our door. What is needed are not unilateral actions but wide-ranging policies. Let us stop ignoring reality, stop constantly shifting responsibility, stop passing off the issue of migration to others, as if it mattered to no one and was only a pointless burden to be shouldered by somebody else!

Sisters and brothers, your faces and your eyes beg us not to look the other way, not to deny our common humanity, but make your experiences our own and to be mindful of your dramatic plight.

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Pope Francis Ecumenical Prayer with Migrants 03.12.21

Parish Church of the Holy Cross, Nicosia, Cyprus

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

It is easy to look the other way. And in this world we have grown accustomed to a culture of indifference, a culture of looking the other way and thus sleeping peacefully. God calls us not to be content with a divided world, but to dream of a humanity freed of walls of division, freed of hostility, where there are no longer strangers, but only fellow citizens. Fellow citizens who are diverse, but always reconciled, always brothers and sisters.

When people ask “Who are you?”, you can readily respond, “Look, I am your brother, your sister. Don’t you recognize me?”

You arrived here, but how many of your brothers and sisters are still making the journey? How many desperate people have set out in difficult and precarious conditions, but did not arrive? We can think about this sea, which has become a great cemetery. Looking at you, I see the suffering caused by your journey; I see all those people who were kidnapped, sold, exploited… and who are still on the journey, we know not where. We are speaking of slavery, of universal enslavement. We see what is happening, and the worst thing is that we are becoming used to it.

Looking at you, I think too of all those people who had to return because they were turned away and ended up in concentration camps, real concentration camps, where the women have been sold, and men tortured and enslaved. Brothers and sisters, it is happening today, on nearby coasts! Places of enslavement. . Forced migration is not a kind of “tourism”! This is today’s war: the suffering of our brothers and sisters, which we cannot pass over in silence. Brothers and sisters who left everything behind to get on a boat, in the dark of night, and then… without knowing if they would ever arrive.

Such is the story of this developed civilization that we call the West. Barbed wire is set up to prevent the entrance of refugees, those who come in search of freedom, food, assistance, fraternity, joy, those fleeing from hatred but then find themselves facing a form of hatred called barbed wire. May the Lord awaken the conscience of us all before these realities.

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Pope Francis Holy Mass 03.12.21

GSP Stadium Nicosia, Cyprus

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

As Jesus was passing by, two blind men cried out in misery and hope: “Have mercy on us, Son of David” (Mt 9:27). “Son of David” was a title attributed to the Messiah, who the prophecies predicted would come from the line of David. The two men in today’s Gospel are blind, yet they see the most important thing: they realize that Jesus is the Messiah who has come into the world. Let us reflect on three steps in this encounter. They can help us in turn, during this Advent season, to welcome the Lord when he comes, when he passes by us.

First: They went to Jesus for healing. The two men in the Gospel trusted in Jesus. They followed him in search of light for their eyes.

Why, brothers and sisters, did they trust in Jesus? Because they realized that, within the darkness of history, he is the light that brightens the “nights” of the heart and the world. The light that overcomes the darkness and triumphs over the blindness. We too have a kind of “blindness” in our hearts. Like those two blind men, we are often like wayfarers, immersed in the darkness of life. The first thing to do in response is go to Jesus. Is there any one of us who is not, in some way, tired or heavy laden? All of us are. Yet, we resist coming to Jesus. Often we would rather remain closed in on ourselves, alone in the darkness, feeling sorry for ourselves and content to have sadness as our companion. Jesus is the divine physician: he alone is the true light that illuminates every man and woman (cf. Jn 1:9), the one who gives us an abundance of light, warmth and love. Jesus alone frees the heart from evil. So let us ask ourselves: do I remain wrapped in the darkness of despondency and joylessness, or do I go to Jesus and give my life to him? That is the first step; but interior healing requires two further steps.

The next step: They shared their pain. Here there are two blind men. They are together on the roadside. They share their pain, their unhappiness at being blind, and their desire for a light to glow in the heart of their “night”. Significantly, they say to Christ: Have mercy on us. On “us”, not on “me”. They ask for help together. This is an eloquent sign of the Christian life and the distinctive trait of the ecclesial spirit: to think, to speak and to act as “we”, renouncing the individualism and the sense of self-sufficiency that infect the heart.

In the sharing of their suffering and their fraternal friendship, these two blind men have much to teach us. Each of us is blind in some way as a result of sin, which prevents us from “seeing” God as our Father and one another as brothers and sisters. For that is what sin does; it distorts reality: it makes us see God as a tyrant and each other as problems. It is the work of the tempter, who distorts things, putting them in a negative light, in order to make us fall into despair and bitterness. And then we become prey to a terrible sadness, which is dangerous and not from God. We must not face the darkness alone. If we bear our inner blindness alone, we can become overwhelmed. We need to stand beside one another, to share our pain and to face the road ahead together.

Dear brothers and sisters, faced with our own inner darkness and the challenges before us in the Church and in society, we are called to renew our sense of fraternity. If we remain divided, if each person thinks only of himself or herself, or his or her group, if we refuse to stick together, if we do not dialogue and walk together, we will never be completely healed of our blindness. This is what I ask for you: that you always remain together, always united; that you go forward together with joy as Christian brothers and sisters, children of the one Father. And I ask it for myself as well.

And now, the third step: They joyfully proclaimed the Good News. After Jesus healed them, the two men in Gospel, in whom we can see a reflection of ourselves, began to spread the good news to the entire region, the talk about it everywhere. Jesus had told them to tell no one what had happened, yet they do exactly the opposite. From what we are told, it is clear that their intention was not to disobey the Lord; they were simply unable to contain their excitement at their healing and the joy of their encounter with Jesus. This is another distinctive sign of the Christian: the irrepressible joy of the Gospel, which “fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus” (Evangelii Gaudium, 1); the joy of the Gospel naturally leads to witness and frees us from the risk of a private, gloomy and querulous faith.

Dear brothers and sisters, it is good to see you living with joy the liberating message of the Gospel. I thank you for this. It is not proselytism – please, never engage in proselytism! – but witness; not a moralism that judges but a mercy that embraces; not superficial piety but love lived out. I encourage you to keep advancing on this path. We need enlightened Christians, but above all those who are light-filled, those who can touch the blindness of our brothers and sisters with tender love and with gestures and words of consolation that kindle the light of hope amid the darkness. Christians who can sow the seeds of the Gospel in the parched fields of everyday life, and bring warmth to the wastelands of suffering and poverty.

Brothers and sisters, the Lord Jesus is also passing through the streets of Cyprus, our streets, hearing the cries of our blindness. He wants to touch our eyes, to touch our hearts, and to lead us to the light, to give us spiritual rebirth and new strength. Let us renew our faith in him. Let us say to him: Jesus, we believe that your light is greater than our darkness; we believe that you can heal us, that you can renew our fellowship, that you can increase our joy. With the entire Church, let us pray: Come, Lord Jesus!

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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 Message for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 03.12.21

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

As we celebrate your International Day, I would like to speak directly to all of you who live with any condition of disability, to tell you that the Church loves you and needs each of you for the fulfilment of her mission at the service of the Gospel.

Having Jesus as a friend is an immense consolation. It can turn each of us into a grateful and joyful disciple, one capable of showing that our frailties are no obstacle to living and proclaiming the Gospel.

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Pope Francis General Audience 01.12.21

Saint Joseph: just man and husband of Mary

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

Let us continue our journey of reflection on the person of Saint Joseph. Today, I would like to deepen his being “just” and “Mary’s betrothed spouse”, and thus provide a message to all engaged couples, and newlyweds as well.

The fact that “before they came to live together, Mary was found to be with child” exposed the Virgin to the accusation of adultery. And, according to the ancient Law, her guilt was punishable with stoning. Nevertheless, a more moderate interpretation had taken hold after this in later Jewish practice that imposed only an act of repudiation along with civil and criminal consequences for the woman, but not stoning.

Joseph decided to repudiate her in secret, without making noise, without subjecting her to public humiliation. But as he considered this an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’. How important it is for each one of us to cultivate a just life and, at the same time, to always feel the need for God’s help to broaden our horizons and to consider the circumstances of life from an always different, larger perspective. Many times, we feel imprisoned by what has happened to us. But particularly in front of some circumstances in life that initially appear dramatic, a Providence is hidden that takes shape over time and illuminates the meaning even of the pain that has touched us. The temptation is to close in on that pain, in that thought that good things never happen to us. And this is not good for us. This leads you to sadness and bitterness.

Mary and Joseph were engaged to each other. They had probably cultivated dreams and expectations regarding their life and their future. Out of the blue, God seems to have inserted himself into their lives and, even if at first it was difficult for them, both of them opened their hearts wide to the reality that was placed before them.

Our lives are very often not what we imagine them to be. Especially in loving and affectionate relationships, it is difficult to move from the logic of falling in love to the logic of a mature love. We need to move from infatuation to mature love. You newlyweds, think about this. The first phase is always marked by a certain enchantment that makes us live immersed in the imaginary that is often not based on reality and facts – the falling in love phase. But precisely when falling in love with its expectations seems to come to an end, that is where true love begins or true love enters in there. In fact, to love is not the pretension that the other person, or life, should correspond to our imagination. Rather, it means to choose in full freedom to take responsibility for one’s life as it comes. This is why Joseph gives us an important lesson. He chooses Mary with “his eyes open”. A couple’s love progresses in life and matures each day. The love during engagement is a bit – allow me to use the word – a bit romantic. But then mature love begins, love lived every day, from work, from the children that come… And sometimes that romanticism disappears a bit, right? But is that not love? Yes, but mature love. “But you know, Father, sometimes we fight...” This has been happening since the time of Adam and Eve until today. That spouses fight is our daily bread. But what can be done so that this does not damage the life of the marriage? Never finish the day end without making peace. Because the cold war the next day is very dangerous. Don’t let war begin the next day. For this reason, make peace before going to bed. And this will help you in your married life. To them and to all the married couples who are here. This movement from falling in love to mature love is a demanding choice, but we must choose that path.

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Pope Francis December 2021

Catechists

Catechists have an invaluable mission for the transmission and growth of the faith.

The lay ministry of catechist is a vocation; it’s a mission. Being a catechist means that you ‘are a catechist,’ not that you ‘work as a catechist.’ It’s an entire way of being, and we need good catechists who are both companions and teachers.

We need creative people who proclaim the Gospel, but who proclaim it neither with a mute nor with a loudspeaker, but rather with their life, with gentleness, with a new language, and opening new ways.

In many dioceses, on many continents, evangelization is fundamentally in the hands of a catechist.

Let us thank catechists for the interior enthusiasm with which they live this mission at the service of the Church.

Let us pray for the catechists, summoned to announce the Word of God: may they be its witnesses, with courage and creativity and in the power of the Holy Spirit, with joy and much peace.

December 2021

Pope Francis Holy Mass in Nicosia 03.12.21