Pope Francis Homilies

Pope Francis General Audience 12.06.24  

I extend a cordial welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from the United Kingdom, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the United States of America. I invoke upon you and your families the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!

Lastly, my thoughts go to the young people, the sick, the elderly and the newlyweds. Tomorrow we will celebrate the liturgical memorial of St Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor of the Church. May the example of this eminent preacher, protector of the poor and suffering, inspire in each one the desire to continue on the path of faith and imitate his life, thus becoming credible witnesses to the Gospel.

And let's not forget the battered Ukraine, let's not forget Palestine, Israel. Let us not forget Myanmar and so many countries that are at war. Let us pray for peace, today we need peace. War always, from day one, is a defeat. Let us pray for peace. May the Lord give us strength to always fight for peace.

And my blessing to you all!

12.06.24

Pope Francis  General Audience  12.06.24  

The divine inspiration of the Bible

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

Let us continue the catechesis on the Holy Spirit who guides the Church towards Christ our hope. He is the guide. Last time we contemplated the work of the Spirit in creation; today we will see it in revelation, in which the Sacred Scripture is witness inspired by God and authoritative.

The Second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy contains this statement: “All Scripture is inspired by God” (3:16). And another passage in the New Testament says: “Men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pt 1:21). This is the doctrine of the divine inspiration of the Scripture, that which we proclaim as an article of faith in the Creed, when we say that the Holy Spirit “has spoken through the prophets”. The divine inspiration of the Bible.

The Holy Spirit, who inspired the Scriptures, is also He who explains and makes them perennially living and active. From inspired, He makes them inspiring. The Sacred Scriptures “as inspired by God”, says Vatican Council II, “and committed once and for all to writing … impart the word of God Himself without change, and make the voice of the Holy Spirit resound in the words of the prophets and Apostles” (21). In this way the Holy Spirit continues, in the Church, the action of the Risen Jesus who, after Easter, “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Lk 24:45).

Indeed, it can happen that in a certain passage of the Scripture, that we have read many times without particular emotion, one day we read it in an atmosphere of faith and prayer, and then that text is unexpectedly illuminated, it speaks to us, it sheds light on a problem we are living, it makes God's will for us clear in a certain situation. To what is this change due, if not to an enlightenment of the Holy Spirit? The words of the Scripture, under the action of the Spirit, become luminous; and in those cases, we touch with our own hands how true is the statement in the Letter to the Hebrews: “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (4:12).

Brothers and sisters, the Church is nourished by the spiritual reading of the Sacred Scripture, that is, by reading under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that inspired it. At its centre, like a beacon that illuminates everything, there is the event of the death and resurrection of Christ, which fulfils the plan of salvation, realizes all the figures and the prophecies, unveils all the hidden mysteries and offers the true key to reading the entire Bible. The death and resurrection of Christ is the beacon that illuminates all the Bible, and it also illuminates out life. Revelation describes all of this with the image of the Lamb that breaks the seals of the book “written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals” (cf. 5:1-9), that is, the Scripture of the Old Testament. The Church, Bride of Christ, is the authorized interpreter of the inspired text of the Scripture; the Church is the mediator of its authentic proclamation. Since the Church is gifted with the Holy Spirit – this is why she is the interpreter – she is the “pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tm 3:15). Why? Because she is inspired, held steady by the Holy Spirit. And the task of the Church is to help the faithful and those who seek the truth to interpret the biblical texts correctly.

One way of conducting spiritual reading of the word of God is that which is called the lectio divina, a word whose meaning we perhaps do not understand. It consists of dedicating a time of the day to the personal and meditative reading of a passage of the Scripture. And this is very important: every day, take the time to listen to, to contemplate, reading a passage from the Scripture. And therefore, I recommend you always to have a pocket edition of the Gospel and keep it in your bag, in your pocket… So, when you are travelling, or have a little free time, take it and read it. This is very important for life. Get a pocket Gospel and during the day read once, twice, when you have the chance. But the quintessential spiritual reading of the Scripture is the community reading in the Liturgy in the Mass. There, we see how an event or a teaching, given by the Old Testament, finds its full expression in the Gospel of Christ. And the homily, that comment by the celebrant, must help to transfer the Word of God from the book to life. But for this, the homily must be brief: an image, a thought and a sentiment. The homily must not go on for more than eight minutes, because after that, with time attention is lost and the people fall asleep, and they are right. A homily must be like that. And I want to say this to priests, who talk a lot, very often, and one does not understand what they are talking about. A brief homily: a thought, a sentiment and a cue for action, for what to do. No more than eight minutes. Because the homily must help transfer the Word of God from the book to life. And among the many words of God that we listen to every day in Mass or in the Liturgy of the Hours, there is always one that is meant specially for us. Something that touches the heart. Welcomed into the heart, it can illuminate our day and inspire our prayer. It is a question of not letting it fall on deaf ears!

Let us conclude with a thought that can help us to fall in love with the Word of God. Like certain pieces of music, the Sacred Scripture too has a base note that accompanies it from the beginning to the end, and this note is the love of God. ‘The whole Bible”, observes Saint Augustine, “does nothing but tell of God’s love”. And Saint Gregory the Great defines the Scripture as “a letter from God Almighty to His creature”, like a letter from a bridegroom to his bride, and exhorts us to “learn and know the heart of God in the words of God”.

“Through this revelation”, says Vatican Council II again, “the invisible God, out of the abundance of His love, speaks to men as friends and lives among them, so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself” ( Dei Verbum, 2).

Dear brothers and sisters, keep reading the Bible! But do not forget the pocket Gospel: carry it in your bag, in your pocket, and at some moment during the day, read a passage. And this will make you very close to the Holy Spirit, who is in the Word of God. May the Holy Spirit, who inspired the Scriptures and now breathes from them, help us to grasp this love of God in the concrete situations of life. Thank you.

12.06.24

Pope Francis  Angelus   09.06.24

The freedom of Jesus

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

The Gospel of today’s liturgy (cf. Mk 3:20-35) tells us that Jesus, after beginning His public ministry, faced a twofold reaction: that of his relatives, who were worried and feared He had gone a little mad, and that of the religious authorities, who accused Him of acting under the influence of an evil spirit. In reality, Jesus preached and healed the sick by the power of the Holy Spirit. And it was precisely the Spirit that made him divinely free, that is, capable of loving and serving without measure or conditioning. Jesus, free. Let us pause a while to contemplate this freedom of Jesus.

Jesus was free in relation to wealth: therefore He left the security of His village, Nazareth, to embrace a poor life full of uncertainties (cf. Mt 6:25-34), freely taking care of the sick and whoever came to ask Him for help, without ever asking for anything in exchange (cf. Mt 10:8). The gratuitousness of Jesus’ ministry is this. And it is also the gratuitousness of every ministry.

He was free with regard to power: indeed, despite calling many to follow Him, He never obliged anyone to do so, nor did He ever seek out the support of the powerful, but always took the side of the last, teaching His disciples to do likewise, as He had done (cf. Lk 22:25-27).

Finally, Jesus was free of the quest for fame and approval, and for this reason He never gave up speaking the truth, even at the cost of not being understood (cf. Mk 3:21), of becoming unpopular, even to the point of dying on the cross, not allowing Himself to be intimidated, nor bought, nor corrupted by anything or anyone (cf. Mt 10:28).

Jesus was a free man. He was free in the face of wealth, free in the face of power, free in the face of the quest for fame. And this is important for us too. Indeed, if we let ourselves be conditioned by the quest for pleasure, power, money or consensus, we become slaves to these things. If instead we allow God’s freely-given love to fill us and expand our heart, and if we let it overflow spontaneously, by giving it back to others, with our whole selves, without fear, calculation or conditioning, then we grow in freedom, and spread its good fragrance around us too.

So we can ask ourselves: am I a free person? Or do I let myself be imprisoned by the myths of money, power and success, sacrificing my serenity and peace, and that of others, to these things? In the places where I live and work, do I spread the fresh air of freedom, sincerity and spontaneity?

May the Virgin Mary help us live and love like Jesus taught us, in the freedom of the children of God (cf. Rom 8:15,20-23).

09.06.24

Pope Francis Angelus 09.06.24  

The day after tomorrow, in Jordan, an international conference will be held on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, convened by the King of Jordan, the President of Egypt and the Secretary General of the United Nations. While I thank them for this important initiative, I encourage the international community to act urgently, by all means, to come to the aid of the people of Gaza, exhausted by the war. Humanitarian aid must be able to reach those in need, and no one can prevent it.

Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the invocation of peace in the Vatican, attended by the Israeli President, the late Shimon Peres, and the Palestinian President Abu Mazen. That meeting showed that joining hands is possible, and that it takes courage to make peace, far more courage than to wage war. Therefore I encourage the ongoing negotiations between the parties, even though they are not easy, and I hope that the proposals for peace, a ceasefire on all fronts and the freeing of hostages will be accepted immediately for the good of Palestinians and Israelis.

And let us not forget the tormented Ukrainian people who, the more they suffer, the more they long for peace. I greet this Ukrainian group with the flags who are over there. We are close to you! It is a desire, this desire for peace, so I encourage all efforts that are being made so that peace can be built as soon as possible, with international help. And let us not forget Myanmar.

I reiterate my greeting to the chorists who have come to Rome from all over the world to participate in the fourth International Meeting of Choirs. Dear friends, with your singing you will always be able to give glory to God and to transmit the joy of the Gospel!

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

09.06.24

Pope Francis June 2024

For those fleeing their own countries

Let us pray that migrants fleeing from war or hunger, forced to undertake journeys fraught with danger and violence, may find welcome and new living opportunities in their host countries.

Dear brothers and sisters, this month I would like us to pray for people fleeing their own countries.

The feeling of uprootedness or not knowing where they belong often accompanies the trauma experienced by people who are forced to flee their homeland because of war or poverty.

What is more, in some destination countries, migrants are viewed as threats, with fear.

Then the spectre of walls appears – walls on the earth separating families, and walls in hearts.

Christians cannot share this vision. Whoever welcomes a migrant welcomes Christ.

We must promote a social and political culture that protects the rights and dignity of migrants, a culture that promotes the possibility that they can achieve their full potential, and integrates them.

A migrant needs to be accompanied, promoted, and integrated.

Let us pray that migrants fleeing from war or hunger, forced to undertake journeys fraught with danger and violence, may find welcome and new living opportunities.

June 2024

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  05.06.24  

Free to serve in love and joy

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

In today's catechesis, I would like to reflect with you on the name by which the Holy Spirit is called in the Bible.

The first thing we know of a person is the name. It is by his name that we address him, that we distinguish him, and remember him. The third Person of the Trinity also has a name: He is called the Holy Spirit. But “Spirit” is the Latinised version. The name of the Spirit, the one by which the first recipients of revelation knew Him, by which the prophets, the psalmists, Mary, Jesus, and the Apostles invoked Him, is Ruach, which means breath, wind, a puff of air.

In the Bible, the name is so important that it is almost identified with the person himself. To sanctify the name of God is to sanctify and honour God Himself. It is never a merely conventional designation: it always says something about the person, his origin, or his mission. This is also the case with the name Ruach. It contains the first fundamental revelation about the Person and function of the Holy Spirit.

It was by observing the wind and its manifestations that the biblical writers were led by God to discover a “wind” of a different nature. It is not by accident that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles accompanied by the ‘roar of a rushing wind’ (cf. Acts 2:2). It was as if the Holy Spirit wanted to put his signature on what was happening.

What, then, does His name, Ruach, tell us about the Holy Spirit? The image of the wind serves first of all to express the power of the Holy Spirit. “Spirit and power” or “power of the Spirit” is a recurring combination throughout the Bible. For the wind is an overwhelming force, an indomitable force, capable even of moving oceans.

Again, however, to discover the full meaning of the realities of the Bible, one must not stop at the Old Testament, but come to Jesus. Alongside power, Jesus will highlight another characteristic of the wind: its freedom. To Nicodemus, who visits Him at night, Jesus say solemnly: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:8).

The wind is the only thing that absolutely cannot be bridled, cannot be “bottled up” or put in a box. We seek to “bottle up” the wind or put it in a box: it’s not possible. It is free. To pretend to enclose the Holy Spirit in concepts, definitions, theses or treatises, as modern rationalism has sometimes attempted to do, is to lose it, nullify it, or reduce it to the purely human spirit, to a simple spirit. There is, however, a similar temptation in the ecclesiastical field, and it is that of wanting to enclose the Holy Spirit in canons, institutions, definitions. The Spirit creates and animates institutions, but He himself cannot be “institutionalised,” “objectified”. The wind blows “where it wills,” so the Spirit distributes its gifts “as it wills” (1 Cor 12:11).

St Paul will make this the fundamental law of Christian action. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor 3:17), he says. A free person, a free Christion, is the one who has the Spirit of the Lord. This is a very special freedom, quite different from what is commonly understood. It is not freedom to do what one wants, but the freedom to freely do what God wants! Not freedom to do good or evil, but freedom to do good and do it freely, that is, by attraction, not compulsion. In other words, the freedom of children, not slaves.

Saint Paul is well aware of the abuse or misunderstanding that can be made of this freedom. To the Galatians he writes, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as a pretext for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal 5:13). This is a freedom that expresses itself in what appears to be its opposite, it is expressed in service, and in service is true freedom.

We know well when this freedom becomes a “pretext for the flesh.” Paul gives an ever relevant list: “exual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Gal 5:19-21). But so too is the freedom that allows the rich to exploit the poor, an ugly freedom that allows the strong to exploit the weak, and everyone to exploit the environment with impunity. And this is an ugly freedom, it is not the freedom of the Spirit.

Brothers and sisters, where do we draw this freedom of the Spirit, so contrary to the freedom of selfishness? The answer is in the words Jesus addressed one day to His listeners: “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). The freedom that Jesus gives us. Let us ask Jesus to make us, through His Holy Spirit, truly free men and women. Free to serve, in love and joy. Thank you.

05.06.24

Pope Francis Holy Mass 02.06.24 

Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Subject Index