Pope Francis Homilies

Pope Francis Regina Caeli 22.05.22

Pope Francis General Audience 18.05.22

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Israel and the Middle East, Canada and the United States of America. In the joy of the Risen Christ, I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father. May the Lord bless you!

Finally, as usual, my thoughts go to the elderly, the sick, the young and the newlyweds. Dear young people, do not be afraid to put your energies at the service of the Gospel, with the enthusiasm characteristic of your age; and you, dear elderly and sick people, be aware that you are making a valuable contribution to society, thanks to your wisdom; and you, dear newlyweds, ensure that your families grow as places where you learn to love God and neighbour in serenity and joy.


Pope Francis General Audience 18.05.22

Job. The trial of faith, the blessing of waiting

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

The biblical passage we have just heard concludes the Book of Job, a universal literary classic. On our catechetical itinerary, we meet Job when he was an old man. We encounter him as a witness of a faith that does not accept a “caricature” of God, but protests loudly in the face of evil until God responds and reveals his face. And in the end, God responds, as always, in a surprising way – He shows Job His glory without crushing him, or better still, with sovereign tenderness, tenderly, just like God always does. The pages of this book need to be read well, without prejudices, without stereotypes, to understand the power of Job’s cry. It would be good for us to put ourselves in his school to overcome the temptation of moralism due to the exasperation and bitterness of the pain of having lost everything.

Job loses everything in his life, he loses his wealth, he loses his family, he loses his son and he even loses his health, and that’s where he is, plagued, in dialogue with three friends, then a fourth, who come to greet him: this is the story – and in this passage today, the concluding passage of the book, when God finally takes the floor (and this dialogue between Job and his friends is like the path leading to the moment in which God speaks his word), Job is praised because he understood the mystery of God’s tenderness hidden behind his silence. God rebukes Job’s friends who presumed they knew everything, to know about God and about suffering, and, having come to comfort Job, ended up judging him with their preconceived paradigms. God preserve us from this hypocritical and presumptuous religiosity! God preserve us from this moralistic religiosity and that religiosity of precepts that gives us a certain presumption and leads you to phariseeism and hypocrisy.

This is how the Lord expresses himself in their regard. Thus says the Lord: “My wrath is kindled against you […] for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has”, this is what the Lord says to Job’s friends. “My servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has” (42:7-8). God’s declaration surprises us because we have read pages on fire with Job’s protest which have left us dismayed. And yet, the Lord says Job spoke well, even when he was angry, and even angry at God, but he spoke well because he refused to accept that God was a “Persecutor”. God is something else. And what is that? Job was seeking that. And as a reward, God gives back to Job double of all his possessions, after asking him to pray for those bad friends of his.

The turning point in the conversation of faith comes right at the height of Job’s venting, where he says, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (19:25-27). This passage is really beautiful. We could interpret it like this: “My God, I know You are not a Persecutor. My God will come and do me justice”. It is the simple faith in the resurrection of God, the simple faith in Jesus Christ, the simple faith that the Lord is always waiting for us and will come.

The parable of the Book of Job dramatically represents in an exemplary way what truly happens in life – that really heavy trials fall on a person, on a family, on a people, disproportionate trials in comparison to human lowliness and frailty. It often happens in life that “when it rains it pours”, as the saying goes. And some people are overcome by an accumulation of evil that truly seems excessive and unjust. It is like this with many people.

We have all known people like this. We have been impressed by their cry, but we have also stood in admiration at the firmness of their faith and love in their silence. I am thinking of parents of children with serious disabilities, have you thought of the parents of children with serious disabilities? Their entire life.… I am thinking also of those who live with a permanent illness, or those who assist a member of their family…. These situations are often aggravated by the scarcity of economic resources. At certain junctures in history, the accumulation of burdens gives the impression that they were given a group appointment. This is what has happened in these years with the Covid-19 pandemic, and is happening now with the war in Ukraine.

Can we justify these “excesses” to the higher intelligence of nature and history? Can we religiously bless them as justified responses to the sins of the victims, as if they deserve it? No, we cannot. There is kind of right that victims have to protest vis-à-vis the mystery of iniquity, a right that God grants to everyone, that indeed, He himself, inspires, after all. Sometimes I meet people who approach me and say: “But, Father, I protested against God because I have this and that problem….” But, you know, friend, that protesting is a way to pray when it is done like that. When children, when young people object against their parents, it is a way of attracting their attention and of asking that they take care of them. If you have some wound in your heart, some pain, and you want to object, object even to God. God will listen to you. God is a Father. God is not afraid of our prayer of protest, no! God understands. But be free, be free in your prayer. Don’t imprison your prayer within preconceived paradigms! No! Prayer should be like this: spontaneous, like that of a child with his father, who say everything that comes out of his mouth because he knows his faither understands him. In the first moment of the drama, God’s “silence” signifies this. God does not shy away from the confrontation, but, from the beginning, allows Job to give vent to his protest, and God listens. At times, perhaps we need to learn this respect and tenderness from God. And God does not like that encyclopaedia – let’s call it this – of explanations, of reflections that Job’s friends do. These are things that come off the tip of their tongues which are not right – that type of religiosity that explains everything, but the heart remains cold. God does not like this. He likes Job’s protest and silence more.

Job’s profession of faith – which emerges precisely from his incessant appeal to God, to a supreme justice – concludes in the end with an almost mystical experience that makes him say, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (42:5). How many people, how many of us after an experience that is a bit ugly, a bit dark, take a step and know God better than before! And we can say like Job: “I knew you because I had heard about you, but now I have seen you because I have encountered you”. This testimony is particularly believable if it is picked up in old age, in its progressive frailty and loss. Those who are old have witnessed so many of these experiences in life! And they have also seen the inconsistency of human promises. Lawyers, scientists, even men of religion, who confuse the persecutor with the victim, insinuating that they are fully responsible for their own suffering. They are mistaken!

The elderly who find the path of this testimony, who turn their resentment for their loss into a tenacity for awaiting God’s promises – there is a change from resentment because of the loss toward the tenacity of seeking God’s promises – these older people are an irreplaceable garrison for the community regarding the excesses of evil. The believer whose gaze is turned toward the Crucifix learns just that. May we learn this as well, from the many grandfathers and grandmothers, who like Mary, unite their sometimes heartbreaking prayers, to that of the Son of God who abandons himself to the Father on the cross. Let us look at old people, let us watch elderly men and women, the elderly. Let us watch them with love. Let us see their personal experiences. They have suffered so much in life, they have learned so much in life, they have gone through so much, but in the end they have this peace, a peace, I would say, that is almost mystical, that is, the peace from an encounter with God to the point they can say, "I knew you because I had heard about you, but now I have seen you with my own eyes." These elderly people resemble the peace of the Son of God on the cross who is abandoned to the Father.

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Pope Francis Holy Mass and Canonization 15.05.22

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

We have heard what Jesus told his disciples before leaving this world and returning to the Father. He told us what it means to be a Christian: “Even as I have loved you, so you must love one another” (Jn 13:34). This is the legacy that Christ bequeathed to us, the ultimate criterion for discerning whether or not we are truly his disciples. It is the commandment of love. Let us stop to consider two essential elements of this commandment: Jesus’ love for us – “as I have loved you” – and the love he asks us to show to others – “so you must love one another”.

First, the words “as I have loved you”. How did Jesus love us? To the very end, to the total gift of himself. It is striking to think that he spoke these words on that night of darkness, when the atmosphere in the Upper Room was one of deep emotion and anxiety: deep emotion, because the Master was about to bid farewell to his disciples; anxiety because he had said that one of them would betray him. We can imagine the sorrow that filled the heart of Jesus, the dark clouds that were gathering in the hearts of the apostles, and their bitterness at seeing Judas who, after receiving the morsel dipped for him by the Master, left the room to enter into the night of betrayal. Yet at the very hour of his betrayal, Jesus reaffirmed his love for his own. For amid the darkness and tempests of life, that is the most important thing of all: God loves us.

Brothers and sisters, may this message be the core of our own faith and all the ways in which we express it: “…not that we loved God but that he loved us” (1 Jn 4:10). Let us never forget this. Our abilities and our merits are not the central thing, but rather the unconditional, free and unmerited love of God. Our Christian lives begin not with doctrine and good works, but with the amazement born of realizing that we are loved, prior to any response on our part. While the world frequently tries to convince us that we are valued only for what we can produce, the Gospel reminds us of the real truth of life: we are loved. He loved us first; he waits for us; he keeps loving us. This is our identity: we are God’s loved ones. This is our strength: we are loved by God.

Acknowledging this truth requires a conversion in the way we often think of holiness. At times, by over-emphasizing our efforts to do good works, we have created an ideal of holiness excessively based on ourselves, our personal heroics, our capacity for renunciation, our readiness for self-sacrifice to achieve a reward. We have turned holiness into an unattainable goal. We have separated it from everyday life, instead of looking for it and embracing it in our daily routines, in the dust of the streets, in the trials of real life and, in the words of Teresa of Avila to her Sisters, “among the pots and pans”. Being disciples of Jesus and advancing on the path of holiness means first and foremost letting ourselves be transfigured by the power of God’s love. Let us never forget the primacy of God over self, of the Spirit over the flesh, of grace over works. For we at times give more importance to self, flesh and works. No, the primacy is that of God over self, of the Spirit over the flesh, of grace over works.

The love that we receive from the Lord is the force that transforms our lives. It opens our hearts and enables us to love. For this reason, Jesus says – here is the second element – “as I have loved you, so must you love one another”. That word “as” is not simply an invitation to imitate Jesus’ love; it tells us that we are able to love only because he has loved us, because he pours into our hearts his own Spirit, the Spirit of holiness, love that heals and transforms. As a result, we can make decisions and perform works of love in every situation and for every brother and sister whom we meet, because we ourselves are loved and we have the power to love. As I myself am loved, so I can love others. The love I give is united to Jesus’ love for me. “As” he loved me, so I can love others. The Christian life is just that simple. Let’s not make it more complicated with so many things. It is just that simple.

In practice, what does it mean to live this love? Before giving us this commandment, Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet; then, after giving it, he gave himself up to the wood of the cross. To love means this: to serve and to give one’s life. To serve, that is, not to put our own interests first: to clear our systems of the poison of greed and competitiveness; to fight the cancer of indifference and the worm of self-referentiality; to share the charisms and gifts that God has given us. Specifically, we should ask ourselves, “What do I do for others?” That is what it means to love, to go about our daily lives in a spirit of service, with unassuming love and without seeking any recompense.

Then, to give one’s life. This is about more than simply offering something of ours to others; it is about giving them our very selves. I like to ask people who seek my counsel whether they give alms. And if they do, whether they touch the hand of the recipient or simply, antiseptically, throw down the alms. Those people usually blush and say no. And I ask whether, in giving alms, they look the person in the eye, or look the other way. They say no. Touching and looking, touching and looking at the flesh of Christ who suffers in our brothers and sisters. This is very important; it is what it means to give one’s life.

Holiness does not consist of a few heroic gestures, but of many small acts of daily love. “Are you called to the consecrated life? So many of you are here today! Then be holy by living out your commitment with joy. Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by labouring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters, by fighting for justice for your comrades, so that they do not remain without work, so that they always receive a just wage. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. Tell me, are you in a position of authority? So many people in authority are here today! Then be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 14). This is the path of holiness, and it is so simple! To see Jesus always in others.

To serve the Gospel and our brothers and sisters, to offer our lives without expecting anything in return, any worldly glory: this is a secret and it is our calling. That was how our fellow travellers canonized today lived their holiness. By embracing with enthusiasm their vocation – as a priest, as a consecrated women, as a lay person – they devoted their lives to the Gospel. They discovered an incomparable joy and they became brilliant reflections of the Lord of history. For that is what a saint is: a luminous reflection of the Lord of history. May we strive to do the same. The path of holiness is not barred; it is universal and it starts with Baptism. Let us strive to follow it, for each of us is called to holiness, to a form of holiness all our own. Holiness is always “original”, as Blessed Carlo Cutis used to say: it is not a photocopy, but an “original”, mine, yours, all of ours. It is uniquely our own. Truly, the Lord has a plan of love for everyone. He has a dream for your life, for my life, for the life of each of us. What else can I say? Pursue that dream with joy.

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Pope Francis May 2022

For Faith-Filled Young People

We pray for all young people, called to live life to the fullest; may they see in Mary’s life the way to listen, the depth of discernment, the courage that faith generates, and the dedication to service.

Speaking about the family, I would like to begin by addressing the young people first.

When I think of a model with whom young people can identify with, our Mother, Mary, always comes to mind: her courage, the way she knew how to listen, and her dedication to service.

She was courageous and determined to say “yes” to the Lord.

You young people, who want to build something new, a better world, follow her example, take risks!

Don’t forget that in order to follow Mary you need to discern and discover what Jesus wants from you, not what you might think you can do.

And in this discernment, it’s a great help to listen to the words of grandparents.

In those words of grandparents, you will find a wisdom that will take you beyond the issues of the moment.

They will provide an overview of your concerns.

Let us pray, brothers and sisters, so that all young people, called to live life to the fullest, may discover in Mary’s life the way to listen, the depth of discernment, the courage of faith, and dedication to service.

May 2022

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 11.05.22

Judith, a biblical heroine

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

Today we will talk about Judith, a biblical heroine. The conclusion of the book that bears her name summarizes the final part of the life of this woman, who defended Israel from its enemies. Judith is a young and virtuous Jewish widow who, thanks to her faith, beauty and cunning, saved the city of Bethulia and the people of Judah from the siege of Holofernes, general of Nebuchadnezzar king of Assyria, an overbearing and contemptuous enemy of God. And so, with her astute way of acting, she was able to behead the dictator who came against the country. She was brave, this woman, but she had faith…

After her great adventure, Judith returned to live in her town, Bethulia, where she lived beautifully her old age, until she was one hundred and five. As it arrives for many people: sometimes after an intense life of work, sometimes after an adventurous existence, or one of great dedication. Heroism does not consist only of the great events that fall under the spotlight, such as that of Judith, who killed the dictator; it is often found, this heroism, in the tenacity of love poured out in a difficult family and on behalf of a threatened community.

Judith lived more than a hundred years, a particular blessing. But it is not uncommon today to live many years after retirement. How do we interpret, how do we make the most of this time we have? I will retire today, and will have many years ahead of me, and what can I do, in these years? How can I grow – in age, that takes care of itself; but how can I grow in authority, in holiness, in wisdom?

The prospect of retirement coincides for many people with that of a deserved and long-awaited rest from demanding and wearisome activities. But it also happens that the end of work can be a source for worry, and is accompanied with some trepidation. “What will I do, now that my life will be emptied of what filled it for so long?”: this is the question. Daily work also means a set of relationships, the satisfaction of earning a living, the experience of having a role, well-deserved recognition, a full-time job that goes beyond working hours alone.

Certainly, there is the task, joyful and tiring, of looking after grandchildren, and today grandparents have a very important role in the family in helping to raise grandchildren; but we know that ever fewer children are born nowadays, and parents are often farther away, more subject to displacement, with unfavourable work and housing conditions. At times they are also more reluctant to leave space to grandparents for education, granting only what is strictly linked to the need for assistance. But someone said to me, with an ironic smile, “Nowadays, in this socio-economic situation, grandparents have become more important because they have a pension”. They think in this way. There are new demands, also within the area of educational and family relations, that require us to reshape the traditional connection between the generations.

But, let us ask ourselves: are we making this effort to “reshape”? Or do we simply suffer the inertia of material and economic conditions? The co-presence of generations is, in fact, lengthening. Are we all trying together to make these conditions more human, more loving, more just, according to the new conditions of modern societies? For grandparents, an important part of their vocation is to support their sons and daughters in the upbringing of their children. The little ones learn the power of tenderness and respect for frailty: irreplaceable lessons that, are easier to impart and receive with grandparents. For their part, grandparents learn that tenderness and frailty are not solely signs of decline: for young people, they are conditions that humanize the future.

Judith was soon widowed and had no children, but, as an old woman, she was able to live a season of fullness and serenity, in the knowledge that she had lived to the fullest the mission the Lord had entrusted to her. It was time for her to leave the good legacy of wisdom, tenderness, and gifts for her family and her community: a legacy of goodness and not only of goods. When we think of a legacy, at times we think of goods, and not of the goodness that is done in old age, and that has been sown, that goodness that is the best legacy we can leave.

It was precisely in her old age that Judith “granted freedom to her favourite handmaid.” This is a sign of an attentive and humane approach to those who had been close to her. This maid had accompanied her at the moment of that adventure, to win over the dictator and to cut his throat. When we are old, we lose some of our sight, but our inner gaze becomes more penetrating – one sees with the heart. We become capable of seeing things that previously escaped us. The elderly know how to look, and they know how to see… It is true: the Lord does not entrust his talents only to the young and the strong. He has talents for everyone, made to fit each person, the elderly too. The life of our communities must know how to benefit from the talents and charisms of so many elderly people who are already retired, but who are a wealth to be treasured. On the part of the elderly themselves, this requires a creative attention, a new attention, a generous availability. The previous skills of active life lose their constraint and become resources to be given away: teaching, advising, building, caring, listening...preferably in favour of the most disadvantaged who cannot afford any learning or who are abandoned in their loneliness.

Judith freed her maid and showered everyone with attention. As a young woman, she had won the esteem of the community with her courage. As an old woman, she garnered esteem because of the tenderness with which she enriched their freedom and affections. Judith is not a pensioner who lives the emptiness it brings melancholically: she is a passionate mature woman who fills the time God gives her with gifts. Remember: one of these days, take the Bible and look at the Book of Judith: it is very short, you can read it … it is ten pages long, no more. Read this story of a courageous woman who ends up this way, with tenderness, generosity, a worthy woman. And this is how I would like all our grandmothers to be: courageous, wise, and who bequeath to us not money, but the legacy of wisdom, sown in their grandchildren. Thank you.

11.05.22 e

Pope Francis Holy Mass and Canonization 15.05.22

Pope Francis Message for the 55th World Peace Day

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