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HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER POPE FRANCIS Sistine Chapel Thursday, 14 March 2013. . . ..

Pope Francis pays homage to Our Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pope Francis: Mass on Saturday morning

2013-06-01  


Vatican Radio) “The Church is not a cultural organization,” but, “the family of Jesus.” This was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks to the faithful gathered for Mass on Saturday morning in the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence at the Vatican. The Pope said that Christians should not be ashamed to live with the scandal of the Cross, and urged them not to be "trapped by the spirit of the world." Listen:MP3 

Pope Francis took the question put to Jesus by the scribes and chief priests, “By what authority are you doing these things?” as his starting point. Once again, he said, they were looking to set a trap for the Lord, trying to paint Him into a corner, to force Him to make a mistake. The Holy Father went on to ask why the scribes and Pharisees wanted to embarrass Jesus. ”Tithe problem that these people had,” said the Holy Father, was not that Jesus had performed miracles. Rather, he explained, “They were shocked that the demons cried out to Jesus, ‘You are the Son of God, You are the Holy One.” This is the thing about Jesus that really scandalizes. “He is God who became incarnate.” For us, too, “do they set traps in life,” though, “[that characteristic] of the Church, which scandalizes, is the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, and, “this cannot be tolerated, this the devil will not suffer.”:

“How many times do you hear people say: ‘But you Christians, be a bit more normal, like other people: be reasonable!’ This is a speech by snake charmers, to be sure: ‘But, be normal, OK? A little more normal, do not be so strict.” But behind this is: ‘Please, do not come with [your] tales, [about] God who became man!’ The Incarnation of the Word: that is the scandal behind it! We can do all the social work we want, and they will say, ‘How nice, the Church, what good social work the Church does’. But if we say that we do this because those people [we help] are the flesh of Christ, there is scandal. And that is the truth, that is the revelation of Jesus: that presence of Jesus incarnate.”

And “this is the point,” said Pope Francis. “Always there will be the [temptation] to do good things without the scandal of the Incarnate Word, without the scandal of the Cross.” Instead, we must “be true to this scandal, to this reality that scandalizes.” It is, “better this way: the coherence of the faith.” The Pope then recalled how the Apostle John says: “Those who deny that the Word came in the flesh, are from the antichrist; they are the antichrist.” On the other hand, he continued, “Only those who say that the Word is come in the flesh are of the Holy Spirit.” Pope Francis then said, “It would do us all good to think about this: the Church is not a cultural organization that [includes] religion and social work.”:

“The Church is the family of Jesus. The Church confesses that Jesus is the Son of God come in the flesh: that is the scandal that is the reason why they persecuted Jesus. In the end, [the answer that] Jesus had not wanted to [give] to these, to the question, ‘With what authority are you doing this?’ He gives to the high priest. ‘But, at the end of: Thou art the Son of God? - Yes!’ [He was] sentenced to death for that. This is the core of the persecution. If we become “reasonable” Christians, “social” Christians, Christians who only do philanthropy, what will be the consequence? That we will never have martyrs: that will be the consequence.”

When, however, we Christians tell the truth, that “The Son of God is come, and was made flesh,” when we “preach the scandal of the Cross, persecutions will come, the Cross will come,” and that “will be fine,” for “such is our life”:

“We ask the Lord not to be ashamed to live with this scandal of the Cross. [We ask Him for] wisdom: the wisdom to ask not to be trapped by the spirit of the world, that will always make to us polite suggestions, civil proposals, good proposals – but behind those there is precisely the negation of the fact that the Word came in the flesh, of the Incarnation of the Word. That, in the end, is what scandalizes those who persecute Jesus that is what destroys the work of the devil. So be it.”

The Cardinal Archbishop of Havana, Jaime Ortega, concelebrated the Mass, with a group of the Holy Father’s lay attendants, the Gentlemen of His Holiness, in the congregation.

Vatican Radio  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pope Francis: war is the suicide of humanity

2013-06-02

“War is the suicide of humanity because it kills the heart and kills love,” Pope Francis said in his homily at Mass this morning at the Casa Santa Marta. In attendance at the Mass was a group of about 80 people, consisting of relatives of Italian soldiers killed in peacekeeping missions in the last 4-5 years, particularly in Afghanistan, along with a number of soldiers wounded during the same missions. listen to the report.. MP3 

June 2nd is “Republic Day” in Italy, which commemorates the foundation of the Italian republic in 1946. Archbishop Vincenzo Pelvi, the head of the Military Ordinary in Italy, who concelebrated Mass with the Holy Father, said it is a “significant day” in which the country expresses “a debt of love for military families.”

“The Lord hears the prayers of everyone!” – not only Solomon’s prayers on the day of the consecration of the Temple, but also the prayer of all of us. Pope Francis emphasised that fact, citing the Gospel story of the centurion who goes to Jesus to ask for the healing of his servant. He said our God is such that He hears the prayers of each one of us – not as an “anonymous” mass of prayers, but the prayers of each and every individual. "Our God is the God of the great and the God of small, our God is personal," He listens to everyone with His heart, and loves “from the heart”:

"Today we have come to pray for our dead, for our wounded, for the victims of the madness that is war! It is the suicide of humanity, because it kills the heart, it kills precisely that which is the message of the Lord: it kills love! Because war comes from hatred, from envy, from desire for power, and – we’ve seen it many times - it comes from that hunger for more power.”

So many times, the Pope noted, we’ve seen “the great ones of the earth want to solve” local problems, economic problems, economic crises “with a war.”

“Why? Because, for them, money is more important than people! And war is just that: it is an act of faith in money, in idols, in idols of hatred, in the idol that leads to killing one’s brother, which leads to killing love. It reminds me of the words of God our Father to Cain, who, out of envy, had killed his brother: ‘Cain, where is your brother?’ Today we can hear this voice: it is God our Father who weeps, crying for this madness of ours, who asks all of us, ‘Where is your brother?’ Who says to the powerful of the earth, ‘Where is your brother? What have you done!’”

From this exhortation, Pope Francis went on to pray to the Lord, that He might “take all evil far away from us,” repeating this prayer “even with tears, with the tears of the heart”:

“‘Turn to us, o Lord, and have mercy on us, because we are sad, we are distressed. See our misery, and our pain and forgive all sins,’ because behind a war there are always sins: there is the sin of idolatry, the sin of exploiting men on the altar of power, sacrificing them. ‘Turn to us, o Lord, and have mercy, because we are sad and distressed. See our misery and our pain.’ We are confident that the Lord will hear us and will do anything to give us the spirit of consolation. So be it.”

At the end of the Mass, the “Prayer for Italy,” composed by Blessed John Paul II, was recited. Afterwards, the ecclesial community of the Military Ordinariate offered the Holy Father a hand-crafted terracotta sculpture from Naples, representing Saint Joseph the Worker showing Jesus a carpenter’s tools. The child Jesus is holding a basket with objects that call to mind the Crucifixion, including a hammer and nails.

 

Vatican Radio  

 

 


Pope Francis: the corrupt harm the Church; the saints are a light for all

2013-06-03 - Vatican Radio

Sinners, the corrupt, and saints: Pope Francis focused on these three groups in his homily for Mass Monday morning in at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope said the corrupt do great harm to the Church because they are worshipers of themselves; the saints, on the other hand, do great good, they are lights in the Church. 

What happens when we want to become the owners of the vineyard? The parable of the wicked tenants in Monday's Gospel reading provided the starting point for Pope Francis’ homily, which focused on “the three models of Christians in the Church: sinners, corrupt persons; and the saints.” The Pope noted that “there is no need to talk too much about sinners, because we are all sinners." "We recognize this from the inside,” he continued, “and we know what a sinner is. If any one of us does not feel that way, he should make a visit to a spiritual doctor” because “something is wrong.” The parable, however, presents us with another figure, the figure of those who want “to take possession of the vineyard, and who have lost the relationship with the Master of the vineyard,” a Master who, “has called us with love, who protects us, but who then gives us freedom.” Those who would take possession of the vineyard, “think they are strong, they think they are independent of God”:

“These, slowly, slipped on that autonomy, that independence in their relationship with God: ‘We don’t need that Master, who shouldn’t come and disturb us!’ And we go forward with this. These are the corrupt! These were sinners like all of us, but they have taken a step beyond that, as if they were confirmed in their sin: they don’t need God! But it only seems so, for in their genetic code there is this relationship with God. And since they can’t deny this, they make a special god: they themselves are god. They are corrupt.”

“This is a danger for us, too,” he added. In the “Christian communities,” he said, the corrupt think only of their own group: “Good, good. It’s about us - they think - but, in fact, ‘they are only out for themselves”:

“Judas [was the first]: from a greedy sinner, he ended in corruption. The road of autonomy is a dangerous road: the corrupt are very forgetful, have forgotten this love, with which the Lord made the vineyard, has made them! They severed the relationship with this love! And they become worshipers of themselves. How bad are the corrupt in the Christian community! May the Lord deliver us from sliding down this road of corruption.”

The Pope spoke also of the saints, remembering that today is the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Bd Pope John XXIII, “a model of holiness.” In the day's Gospel, he added, the saints are those who “go to collect the rent” on the vineyard. “They know what is expected of them, but they must do it, and they do their duty”:

“The saints are those who obey the Lord, those who worship the Lord, those who have not lost the memory of the love with which the Lord has made the vineyard: the saints in the Church. Just as the corrupt do so much harm to the Church, the saints do so much good. The apostle John says of the corrupt that they are the antichrist, that they are among us, but they are not of us. About the saints, the Word of God tells us they are like light, ‘that they will be before the throne of God in adoration.’ Today we ask the Lord for the grace to understand that we are sinners, but truly sinners, not sinners broadly, but sinners with regard to this, that, and the other thing, concrete sins, with the concreteness of sin. The grace to not become corrupt: sinners, yes; corrupt, no! And the grace to walk in the paths of holiness. So be it.”

Cardinal Angelo Amato, the head of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, concelebrated the Mass, which was attended by a group of priests and collaborators from the Congregation, as well as a group of Gentlemen of His Holiness.


Vatican Radio  

 

 

 


.Pope at Mass: Hypocrisy is the language of the corrupt

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_698225.JPG

(Vatican Radio) 2013-06-04

Hypocrites may say all the right things, but for the wrong reasons. A Christian should not use a "socially mannered language", prone to hypocrisy, but speak the truth of the Gospel with the transparency of a child. There is no truth without love; love is the first truth.This was the lesson drawn by Pope Francis at morning Mass Tuesday in Casa Santa Marta. Emer McCarthy reports:

From the corrupt to their language of choice: hypocrisy. Pope Francis continued his thread of thought from Monday’s homily in his reflections on the episode recounted in the Gospel of the day: The tribute due to Caesar, and the Pharisees and of the Herodians’ subtle questioning of Christ on the legitimacy of that tribute. 

Pope Francis noted that the intention with which they approach Jesus is to make him "fall into a trap." Their question whether it is lawful or not to pay taxes to Caesar is made "with soft words, with beautiful words, with overly sweet words . "They try to show themselves his friends." But it is all false. Pope Francis says this is because, "they do not love the truth" but only themselves, "and so they try to deceive, to involve others in their deceit, their lies. They have a lying heart, they cannot tell the truth ":

"Hypocrisy is the very language of corruption. And when Jesus speaks to his disciples, he says: 'let your language be,' Yes, yes! No, no '. Hypocrisy is not a language of truth, because the truth is never given alone. Never! It is always given with love! There is no truth without love. Love is the first truth. If there is no love, there is no truth. They want a true enslaved to their interests. There is a love, of sorts: it is love of self, love for oneself. That narcissist idolatry that leads them to betray others, that leads them to abuse of trust. "

Pope Francis continued, what looks like a "persuasive language," instead leads to "errors, to lies." Then with a hint of irony, he noted that those who now approached Jesus and "seem so amiable in their language, are the same people who will go to fetch him on Thursday evening in the Garden of Olives, and will bring him to Pilate on Friday." Instead, Jesus asks exactly the opposite of those who follow him, a language of "yes is yes, no is no," a "language of truth and love"

"And the meekness that Jesus wants us to have, has nothing, has nothing of this adulation, this sickly sweet way of going on. Nothing! Meekness is simple, it is like that of a child. And a child is not hypocritical, because it is not corrupt. When Jesus says to us: 'Let your speech be' Yes is yes! No, is no! 'with the soul of a child', he means the exact opposite to the speech of these [hypocrites –ed]".

The Pope’s final consideration regarded "certain inner weakness", stimulated by "vanity", that means "we like people to say good things about us." The "corrupt know this well" and " are trying to weaken us with this language".

"Let us think closely today: What is our language? Do we speak in truth, with love, or do we speak with that social language to be polite, even say nice things, which we do not feel? Let our language be evangelical brothers and sisters! Then these hypocrites that start out with flattery, adulation and all of that, end up, through false witnesses, with accusing the very ones they had flattered. Let us ask the Lord today that our language be the language of the simple, the language of a child, the language of the children of God, the language of truth in love. "

Mass was concelebrated by the Armenian Catholic Patriarch, Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, Msgr. Vianney Fernando, Bishop of Kandy in Sri Lanka, and Msgr. Jean Luis Brugues the of the Vatican Library, accompanied by a group of employees.

Vatican Radio  

 

 

 

 Pope Francis at Mass: crying out to God for succour

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_698600.JPG(Vatican Radio 2013-06-05) Lamenting one’s suffering to God is not a sin, but a prayer of the heart that reaches the Lord: this was Pope Francis’ reflection at Mass Wednesday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence at the Vatican, with the presence of some members of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and of the Vatican Apostolic Library. Among others, the Prefect of the Congregation, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera; Archbishop Joseph DiNoia, secretary of the same Congregation; and Monsignor Cesare Pasini, Prefect of the Library. Listen : MP3 


The story of Tobit and Sarah, reported in the first reading of the day, was the focus of the Pope’s homily: Two just people who live dramatic situations. The first is blinded despite his performing good works, even risking his life, and the second marries seven men in turn, each of whom dies before their wedding night. Both, in their great sorrow, pray to God to let them die. “They are people in extreme situations,” explained Pope Francis, “and they seek a way out.” He said, “They complain,” but, “they do not blaspheme.”:

“To lament before God is not a sin. A priest I know once said to a woman who lamented to God about her misfortune: ‘But, madam, that is a form of prayer. Go ahead [with it].’ The Lord hears, He listens to our complaints. Think of the greats, of Job, when in chapter III (he says): ‘Cursed be the day I came into the world,’ and Jeremiah, in the twentieth chapter: ‘Cursed be the day’ – they complain even cursing, not the Lord, but the situation, right? It is only human.”

The Holy Father also reflected on the many people who live borderline cases: malnourished children, refugees, the terminally ill. He went on to observe that, in the Gospel of the day, there are the Sadducees who present to Jesus the difficult case of a woman, who is the widow of seven men. Their question, however, was not posed with sincerity:

“The Sadducees were talking about this woman as if she were a laboratory, all aseptic - hers was an [abstract] moral [problem]. When we think of the people who suffer so much, do we think of them as though they were an [abstract moral conundrum], pure ideas, ‘but in this case ... this case ...’, or do we think about them with our hearts, with our flesh, too? I do not like it when people speak about tough situations in an academic and not a human manner, sometimes with statistics ... and that’s it. In the Church there are many people in this situation.”

The Pope said that in these cases, we must do what Jesus says, pray:

“Pray for them. They must come into my heart, they must be a [cause of] restlessness for me: my brother is suffering, my sister suffers. Here [is] the mystery of the communion of saints: pray to the Lord, ‘But, Lord, look at that person: he cries, he is suffering. Pray, let me say, with the flesh: that our flesh pray. Not with ideas. Praying with the heart.”

And the prayers of Tobit and Sarah, which they offer up to the Lord even despite their asking to die, give us hope, because they are accepted by God in His own way, who does not let them die, but heals Tobit and finally gives a husband to Sara. Prayer, he explained, always reaches God, [so long as] it is prayer from the heart.” Instead, “when it is [an abstract exercise], such as that the Sadducees were discussing, never reaches him, because it never goes out of ourselves: we do not care. It is an intellectual game.” In conclusion, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray for those who live dramatic situations and who suffer as much as Jesus on the cross, who cry, “Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?” Let us pray - he concluded – “so that our prayer reaches [heaven] and let it be [a source of] hope for all of us.”

Vatican Radio

 

 

 

Pope at Mass: The subtle danger of idolatry

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_694445.JPGVatican Radio 2013-06-06

Everyone has "small or not so small" idolatries in their lives, but the road that leads to God is one of exclusive love for Him, as Jesus taught us. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta Friday. Emer McCarthy reports: MP3

As is custom the Pope reflected on the daily readings and the Gospel episode that recounts the scribe who approached Jesus to ask which, in his opinion, "is the first of all the commandments". Pope Francis noted that the scribe’s intentions were probably “far from innocent”, that he gives the impression of wanting to "test" Christ, if not to "make him fall into a trap". The scribe approves of Jesus’ answer – where he quotes from the bible: " Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone!"- and Christ responds with the comment: “You are not far from the kingdom of God". Pope Francis said that, in essence, with that "you are not far" Jesus wanted to say to the scribe: "You know the theory very well," but "you are still some distance from the Kingdom of God", that is, you have to walk to “transform this commandment into reality”, because we “profess God through our way of life":

"It’s not enough to say: 'But I believe in God, God is the only God.' That’s fine, but how do you live this out in your life’s journey? Because we can say, 'The Lord is the only God, there is no other', but then live as if He was not the only God and have other deities at our disposal ... There is a danger of ' idolatry: idolatry, which is brought to us through the spirit of the world. And in this Jesus was clear: the spirit of the world, no. At the Last Supper he asks the Father to defend us from the spirit of the world, because the spirit of the world leads us to idolatry. "

Pope Francis continued: "Idolatry is subtle…we all have our hidden idols" and "the path of life to follow, to not be far from the kingdom of God" involves "discovering our hidden idols." The Pope pointed out that this attitude is already present in the Bible, in the episode in which Rachel, Jacob's wife, pretends she is not carrying idols which instead she took from her father's house and hid in her saddle. Pope Francis said that we too “have hid them in our saddle ... But we have to look for them and we have to destroy them," because to follow God the only path is that of a love based on "loyalty":

"And loyalty demands we drive out our idols, that we uncover them: they are hidden in our personality, in our way of life. But these are hidden idols mean that we are not faithful in love. The Apostle James, when he says, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God, begins by saying: 'Adulterers!'. He gives out to us, but with that adjective: adulterers. Why? Because whoever is 'friend' of the world is an idolater, is not faithful to the love of God! The path that is not distant, that advances, moves forward in the Kingdom of God, is a path of loyalty which resembles that of married love. "

Pope Francis then asked, even "with our small or not so small idolatries" how is it possible not to be faithful "to a love so great?". To do this, you need to trust in Christ, who is "total loyalty" and who "loves us so much"


"We can now ask Jesus: 'Lord, you who are so good, teach me to be this path so that every day I may be less distant from the kingdom of God, this path to drive out all of my idols'. It is difficult, but we must begin ... The idols hidden in the many saddles, which we have in our personalities, in the way we live: drive out the idol of worldliness, which leads us to become enemies of God. We ask this grace of Jesus, today. "

Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop José Vitti of Curitiba in Brazil, Archbishop Juan Segura of Ibiza, Spain and Archbishop Chirayath Anthony of Sagar in India. Staff from the Vatican Library were present, accompanied by vice-prefect Ambrose Paizzoni, and a group of lay personnel of the Lateran University, accompanied by Vice Rector, Msgr. Patrick Valdrini. 

Vatican Radio


 Pope at Mass: The science of tenderness

Vatican Radio 2013-06-07

It’s harder to open our hearts and let God love us than to love God in return. But the only way to really love Him is to love others, especially the poor. God is an expert in the science of tenderness and we should allow ourselves to be loved by Him. This was Pope Francis’ message at morning Mass Friday on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Emer McCarthy reports: MP3

Pope Francis referred to the solemnity as “the feast of love” of a “heart that loved so much” and repeated several times during his homily that Jesus loved us not with His words but with His deeds and his life. A love which, St. Ignatius said, "manifests itself more in deeds than in words" and that is especially "more giving than receiving." Pope Francis said "these two criteria are like the pillars of true love" and the Good Shepherd above all else represents the love of God. He knows His sheep by name, "because His is not an abstract or general love: it is love towards everyone ".

"A God who draws near out of love, walks with His people, and this walk comes to an unimaginable point. We could never have imagined that the same Lord would become one of us and walk with us, be present with us, present in His Church, present in the Eucharist, present in His Word, present in the poor, He is present, walking with us. And this is closeness: the shepherd close to his flock, close to his sheep, whom he knows, one by one. "

Reflecting on a passage from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, the Pope highlighted another aspect of God's love: caring for the lost, the wounded and the sick sheep:

"Tenderness! But the Lord loves us tenderly. The Lord knows that beautiful science of caresses, the tenderness of God. He does not love us with words. He comes close - closeness - and gives us His love with tenderness. Closeness and tenderness! The Lord loves us in these two ways, He draws near and gives all His love even in the smallest things: with tenderness. And this is a powerful love, because closeness and tenderness reveal the strength of God’s love”.

"But do you love each other as I have loved you?" Pope Francis asked this question of those present, emphasizing how love is "being close to others”, is "like that of the Good Samaritan" and in particular , in the sign of "closeness and tenderness". He also asked: How can we return all this love to the Lord? By "loving", by being "closer to Him," by being "tender with Him”, but this alone, he said, “is not enough”:

"This may sound like heresy, but it is the greatest truth! It is more difficult to let God love us, than to love Him! The best way to love Him in return is to open our hearts and let Him love us. Let Him draw close to us and feel Him close to us. This is really very difficult: letting ourselves be loved by Him. And that is perhaps what we need to ask today in the Mass: 'Lord, I want to love You, but teach me the difficult science, the difficult habit of let ting myself be loved by You, to feel You close and feel Your tenderness ! May the Lord give us this grace. "

Friday’s Mass was concelebrated by the Archivist and Librarian of the Holy Roman Church, Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, and Prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives, Msgr. Sergio Pagano. It was attended by employees of the Vatican Secret Archives.

Vatican Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Pope at Mass: Pope at Mass: Learning from Mary to keep the Word of God

Vatican Radio 2013-06-08

Like Mary, we must learn to receive and keep the Word of God safe in our hearts. Marking the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary at morning Mass Saturday, Pope Francis pointed out that Mary assimilated the Word of God into her life, by meditating it and pondering what message the Lord had for her through His Word. This, he said is what safekeeping means. ListenMP3

Pope Francis developed his homily around the two themes of astonishment and safekeeping, starting from the Gospel of the day Luke chapter 2. It recounts the astonishment of the teachers in the Temple listening to Jesus and Mary’s keeping the Word of God safe in her heart. Astonishment, the Pope observed, "is more than joy: it is a moment in which the Word of God comes, is sown in our hearts. " But, he warned, "we cannot always live in wonder", this should be “kept in our hearts” throughout our lives. And this is precisely what Mary does, when she is "astonished" and keeps the "Word of God" in her heart:

"Keeping the Word of God: what does this mean? Do I receive the Word, and then take a bottle and put the word into the bottle and keep it there? No. Keeping the Word of God means that our heart opens, it is open to that Word just like the earth opens to receive the seed. The Word of God is a seed and is sown. And Jesus told us what happens with the seeds: some fall along the path, and the birds come and eat them; this Word is not kept, these hearts do not know how to receive it”.

Others, he said, fall into a stony soil and the seed dies. Jesus says that they "do not know how to keep the Word of God because they are not constant: When a tribulation comes they forget." The Pope said that the Word of God can often fall into a soil that is unprepared, unkept, full of thorns. And he asked, what are the thorns? Jesus pointed them out when He spoke of '"attachment to riches, vices”. Pope Francis said “keeping the Word of God means constantly meditating on what this Word says to us and what happens in our life." And this “is what Mary did”, she “pondered and assimilated it". This, said Pope Francis, "is a truly great spiritual work":

“John Paul II said that, because of this work, Mary had a particular heaviness in her heart, she had a fatigued heart. But this is not the same as tired, it is fatigue, this comes from effort. This is the effort of keeping the Word of God : the work of trying to find out what this means at this moment, what the Lord wants to say to me at this time, this situation of questioning the [meaning of ]the Word of God is how we understand. This is reading our life with the Word of God and this is what it means to keep it in our hearts".

Pope Francis added that memory also safeguards God's Word. “It helps us to preserve it, to remember everything the Lord has done in my life". He continued : “it reminds us of all the wonders of salvation in His people and in my heart. Memory safeguards the Word of God. " The Pope concluded his homily urging everyone to think "about how to keep the Word of God in our hearts, how to safeguard this astonishment, so that it is not eaten by the birds, suffocated by vices":

"We would do well to ask ourselves: 'With the things that happen in life, I ask myself the question: what is the Lord saying to me with His Word, right now?'. This is called keeping the Word of God, because the Word of God is precisely the message that the Lord gives us in every moment. Let us safeguard it with this: safeguard it with our memory. And safeguard it with our hope. We ask the Lord for the grace to receive the Word of God and keep it, and also the grace to have a heart that is fatigued in this effort. So be it. "

Saturday morning Mass was attended by staff from Caritas Internationalis, accompanied by the secretary general, Michel Roy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pope at Mass: The science of tenderness

Vatican Radio 2013-06-09

 

On the Mercy of Christ

VATICAN CITY, June 09, 2013

Here is the translation of the Holy Father's address before and after the recitiation of the Angelus today in St. Peter's Square.
* * *
Dear brothers and sisters, hello!
The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the greatest human expression of divine love. It was just on Friday, in fact, that we celebrated the solemnity of the Heart of Christ, and this feast sets the tone for the whole month. Popular piety greatly values symbols and the Heart of Jesus is the symbol par excellence of God’s mercy; but it is not an imaginary symbol, it is a real symbol, which represents the center, the source from which flows the salvation of all humanity.


In the Gospels we find various references to the Heart of Jesus, for example, in the passage in which Christ himself says: “Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened; I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon yourselves, and learn from me; I am gentle and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:28-29). Then there is John’s account of Christ’s death, which is fundamental for this theme. St. John, in fact, bears witness to to what he saw on Calvary, that is, that a soldier, when Jesus was already dead, pierced his side with a lance and from that wound blood and water poured out (cf. John 19:33-34). John recognized in that apparently fortuitous sign the fulfillment of the prophecies: from the Heart of Jesus, the Lamb immolated on the cross, forgiveness and life flows forth for all men.


But Jesus' mercy is not only a sentiment, it is a force that gives life, that revives man! Today’s Gospel says this too in the episode of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17). Jesus, with his disciples, is entering Nain, a Galilean village, at the same time that a funeral is taking place: a young man is being carried on the bier, the only son of a widow. Jesus’ gaze immediately comes to rest upon the weeping mother. The evangelist Luke says: “Seeing her the Lord immediately felt great compassion for her” (7:13). This “compassion” is God’s love for man, it is mercy, that is, God’s attitude in the encounter with human misery, with our indigence, our suffering, our anxiety. The biblical term “compassion” recalls the maternal viscera: mothers, in fact, experience a singular reaction in the face of suffering children. This is how God loves us Scripture says.


And what is the fruit of this love, this mercy? It is life! Jesus says to the widow of Nain: “Do not weep!” and then he calls the dead man and he awakens as from sleep (7:13-15). Let us think about this, it is beautiful: God’s mercy gives man life, it brings him back from death. The Lord always looks upon us with mercy; let us not forget it, he always looks upon us with, he awaits us with mercy. Let us not be afraid to approach him! He has a merciful heart! If we show him our inner wounds, our sins, he will always forgive us. He is pure mercy! Let us go to Jesus!
Let us turn to the Virgin Mary: her immaculate heart, the heart of a mother, shared in God’s “compassion” as far as possible, especially in the hour of the passion and death of Jesus. Help us, Mary, to be meek, humble and merciful with our brothers.


[Following the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father made these remarks:]


Dear brothers and sisters,
Today in Krakow 2 Polish religious sisters are being beatified: Zofia Czeska Maciejowska, who in the early part of the 17th century founded the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and Malgorzata Lucja Szewczyk, who in the 19th  century founded the Congregation of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sorrowful Mother of God. With the Church that is in Krakow we offer thanks to God!
I greet with affection all the pilgrims present today: the parish groups, families, school children, associations, movements. Greetings to all of you!
I greet the faithful who have come from Mumbai, India.
I greet the Movement of Family Love of Rome; the confraternities and the volunteers of the Shrine of Mongiovino near Perugia; the Franciscan Youth of Umbria; the “House of Charity” from Lecce; the faithful of the province of Modena, whom I encourage in reconstruction; and the faithful of Ceprano. I greet the pilgrims from Ortona, where the remains of the Apostle Thomas are venerated. They have made a journey “from Thomas to Peter”: thank you!
Today let us not forget God’s love, Jesus’ love: he looks upon us, he loves us and awaits us. He is all heart and mercy. Let us go to Jesus with confidence, he will always forgive us.
Have a good Sunday and a good lunch!
[Translation by Joseph Trabbic] (Zenit.org)

 

 

 

 

 Pope at Mass: Pope at Mass: Christian consolation and the law of the truly free

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_694445.JPGVatican Radio 2013-06-10

The Beatitudes are 'new commandments', but they are not just a simple do gooders list. They cannot be understood with the mind, only with the heart, so if our hearts are closed to God we will never know true freedom. Christian consolation is the presence of God in our hearts which teaches us to understand the Beatitudes as the law of the truly free. This was the main focus of Pope Francis’ homily Monday morning at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta residence. Emer McCarthy reports ListenMP3

Reflecting on the daily readings the Pope began by noting that, at the beginning of the Second Letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul uses the word consolation several times. The Apostle to the Gentiles, he added, "speaks to Christians who are young in the faith," people who "have recently begun to follow the path of Jesus", he insists on this, even if "they were not all persecuted." They were normal people, "but they had found Jesus." The Pope said this "was such a life-changing experience that a special strength from God was needed" and this strength is consolation. Consolation, he said again, "is the presence of God in our hearts." But, Pope Francis warned, in order for the Lord "to be present in our hearts, we must open the door”. His presence requires our "conversion":

"This is salvation: to live in the consolation of the Holy Spirit, not the consolation of the spirit of this world. No, that is not salvation, that is sin. Salvation is moving forward and opening our hearts so they can receive the Holy Spirit’s consolation, which is salvation. This is non-negotiable, you can’t take a bit from here and a bit from there? We cannot pick and mix, no? A bit of the Holy Spirit, a bit of the spirit of this world ... No! It’s one thing or the other. "

Pope Francis continued, the Lord clearly states: "You cannot serve two masters: or you serve teh Lord or you serve the spirit of this world." You cannot ‘mix them up’. It is precisely when we are open to the Spirit of the Lord, that we are able to understand the "new law that the Lord brings us": the Beatitudes, of which the Gospel speaks today. The Pope added that we can only understand these Beatitudes " if we have an open heart, from the consolation of the Holy Spirit". They "cannot be understood with human intelligence alone":

"They are the new commandments. But if we do not have a heart open to the Holy Spirit, they will seem silly. ‘Just look, being poor, being meek, being merciful will hardly lead us to success'. If we do not have an open heart and if we have not experienced the consolation of the Holy Spirit, which is salvation, we cannot understand this. This is the law for those who have been saved and have opened their hearts to salvation. This is the law of the free, with the freedom of the Holy Spirit. "

Pope Francis continued, "we can regulate ourlife, according to a list of commands or procedures," but it is a "merely human” list. In the end this “does not lead us to salvation”. The Pope recalled that many were interested in "examining", "this new doctrine and then arguing with Jesus." And this was because they "their hearts were closed in on their own concerns", "concerns that God wanted to change." Pope Francis asked; Why do people "have their hearts closed to salvation?". The Pope said it is because “we are afraid of salvation. We need it, but we are afraid" because when the Lord comes "to save us we have to give everything. He is in charge! And we are afraid of this" because "we want control of ourselves". He added that in order to understand "these new commandments," we need the freedom that "is born of the Holy Spirit, who saves us, who comforts us" and is "the giver of life":

"Today we can now ask the Lord for the grace to follow Him, but with this freedom. Because if we want to follow him with our human freedom alone, in the end we become hypocrites like the Pharisees and Sadducees, those who quarreled with him. This is hypocrisy: not allowing the Spirit to change our hearts with His salvation. The freedom of the Spirit, which the Spirit gives us, is also a kind of slavery, of being ‘enslaved’ to the Lord which makes us free, it is another freedom. Instead, our freedom is only slavery, but not to the Lord, but to the spirit of the world. Let us ask for the grace to open our hearts to the consolation of the Holy Spirit, so that this consolation, which is salvation, allows us to understand these commandments. So be it! "

Mass was concelebrated by the President and undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko and Bishops Josef Clemens and Indian Archbishop George Valiamattam, of Tellicherry. It was attended by a group of priests and collaborators of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Pope at Mass: Poverty and praise of God

Vatican Radio 2013-06-11

Vatican Radio) The Gospel should be generously and simply proclaimed said Pope Francis during morning Mass Tuesday in the Casa Santa Marta chapel. Poverty and praise of God, he said are the two key signs of an evangelical and missionary Church. Instead a rich Church becomes an old, lifeless Church, it becomes an NGO that neglects the true treasure of God's free grace. Emer McCarthy reports:  MP3

Pope Francis began his homily quoting Jesus exhortation to the Apostles, sent to proclaim the Kingdom of God: "Provide yourselves with no gold or silver, not even with coppers for your purses" (M 10:9). He said the Lord wants us to proclaim the Gospel with simplicity, a simplicity "that gives way to the power of the Word of God," because if the Apostles had not had "confidence in the Word of God," "they would probably have done something else”. Pope Francis went on to identify the "key word" in the mandate given by Jesus: "Freely you have received, freely give." He said everything is grace and when we leave grace “a little to one side” in our proclamation, the Gospel “is not effective". 

"Evangelical preaching flows from gratuitousness, from the wonder of the salvation that comes and that which I have freely received I must freely give. This is what they were like at the beginning. St. Peter did not have a bank account, and when he had to pay taxes, the Lord sent him to the sea to catch fish and find the money in the fish, to pay. Philip, when he met Queen Candace’s finance minister, did not think, 'Ah, good, let’s set up an organization to support the Gospel ...' No! He did not strike a ‘deal’ with him: he preached, baptized and left".

Pope Francis said the Kingdom of God, "is a free gift”, but he also added that from the beginning of the Christian community, this attitude has been subjected to temptation. "There is the temptation to seek strength", he said, “ elsewhere than in gratuity”. This temptation creates "a little 'confusion," he warned, where “proclamation becomes proselytizing”. Instead "our strength is the gratuitousness of the Gospel." The Lord, "has invited us to preach, not to proselytize." Citing Benedict XVI, Pope Francis stated that "the Church does not grow through proselytizing but by drawing people to her". And this attraction, he said, comes from the testimony of "those who freely proclaim the gratuity of salvation".

"Everything is grace. Everything. And what are the signs of when an apostle lives this gratuity? There are so many, but I will underline only two: First, poverty. The proclamation of the Gospel must follow the path of poverty. The testimony of this poverty: I have no wealth, my wealth is the gift I received, God: this gratuity is our wealth! And this poverty saves us from becoming managers, entrepreneurs ... The works of the Church must be brought forward, and some are a little complex, but with a heart of poverty, not with the heart of an investment broker or an entrepreneur…"

Pope Francis continued, "The Church is not an NGO: it is something else, something more important, and this is the result of gratuity. Received and proclaimed". Poverty "is one of the signs of this gratuity." The other sign "is the ability of praise: when an apostle does not live this gratuity, he or she loses the ability to praise the Lord." Praising the Lord, in fact, "is essentially gratuitous, it is a gratuitous prayer: we do not ask, we only praise"

"These two are the signs of an apostle who lives this gratuity: poverty and the ability to praise the Lord. And when we find the apostles who want to build a rich Church and a Church without the gratuitousness of praise, the Church becomes old, the Church becomes an NGO, the Church becomes lifeless. Today we ask the Lord for the grace to acknowledge this generosity: 'Freely you have received, freely give'. Recognizing this gratuity, this gift of God . Let us move forward in preaching of Gospel".

Tuesday morning Mass was concelebrated by Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and was attended by Congregation Staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Pope at Mass: True progress is in trusting the Spirit

Vatican Radio 2013-06-12

IPope Francis addressed the two extremes that threaten the progress of the Church at mass Wednesday morning: Fear of any change to the status quo which stops the Church moving forward and a tendency to follow every change dictated by today’s culture, which he described as an ‘adolescent progressivism’ that risks ‘de-railing’ believers. 

Instead, the way forward for the Church, as indicated by the Holy Spirit, is that of "freedom," in continuously discerning God’s will and, he added, rules which kill charisms should not be imposed. The problem and temptation, said Pope Francis, is that we cannot control the Holy Spirit.. Emer McCarthy reports: MP3

The Pope’s homily centered around Jesus’ words in the Gospel of the day, (MT 5:17) " Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets." He said this Gospel passage which follows the Beatitudes is "an expression of the new law" which is more demanding than that of Moses. This law, the Pope added, is "the fruit of the Covenant" and cannot be understood without it. "This Alliance, this law is sacred because it brought the people to God." Pope Francis likened the "maturity of this law" to a " bursting bud that reveals a flower." Jesus "is the expression of the maturity of the law". The Pope noted that Paul speaks of two times "without breaking continuity" between the law of history and the law of the Spirit:

"The hour of the law’s fulfillment, is when the law reaches its maturity when it becomes the law of the Spirit. Moving forward on this road is somewhat risky, but it is the only road to maturity, to leave behind the times in which we are not mature. Part of the law’s journey to maturity, which comes with preaching Jesus, always involves fear; fear of the freedom that the Spirit gives us. The law of the Spirit makes us free! This freedom frightens us a little, because we are afraid we will confuse the freedom of the Spirit with human freedom. "

Pope Francis continued, the law of the Spirit, "takes us on a path of continuous discernment to do the will of God” and this can frighten us. The Pope warned that this fear "brings two temptations with it." The first, is to "go backwards" to say that "it’s possible up to this point, but impossible beyond this point" which ends up becoming "let’s stay here". This, he warned, "is the temptation of fear of freedom, fear of the Holy Spirit." A fear that "it is better to play it safe." Pope Francis then told a story about a superior general who, in the 1930’s, went around compiling a list of regulations for his religious, "a work that took years." Then he travelled to Rome to meet a Benedictine abbot, who, upon hearing all he had done, replied that in doing so he "had killed his Congregation’s charism", "he had killed its freedom" since "this charism bears fruit in freedom and he had stopped the charism”.

"This is the temptation to go backwards, because we are 'safer' going back: but total security is in the Holy Spirit that brings you forward, which gives us this trust - as Paul says - which is more demanding because Jesus tells us: “Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law”. It is more demanding! But it does not give us that human security. We cannot control the Holy Spirit: that is the problem! This is a temptation. "


Pope Francis noted that there is another temptation: that of “adolescent progressivism”, that de-rails us. This temptation lies in seeing a culture and “not detaching ourselves from it”. 

"We take the values of this culture a little bit from here, a little bit from there , ... They want to make this law? Alright let’s go ahead and make this law. Let’s broaden the boundaries here a little. In the end, let me tell you, this is not true progress. It is adolescent progressivism: just like teenagers who in their enthusiasm want to have everything and in the end? You slip up ... It’s like when the road is covered in ice and the car slips and go off track... This is the other temptation at the moment! We, at this moment in the history of the Church, we cannot go backwards or go off the track! "

Pope Francis concluded : the track "is that of freedom in the Holy Spirit that makes us free, in continuous discernment of God's will to move forward on this path, without going back and without going off-track". Let us ask the Lord for "the grace that the Holy Spirit gives us to go forward."

Mass was concelebrated by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, accompanied by priests, religious and lay staff of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Pope at Mass: The grace not to speak ill of others

Vatican Radio 2013-06-13

May the Lord grant us the grace to watch our tongues and be careful of what we say of others, because through our weakness and sin, we often find it easier to insult and denigrate than say or do good. This was the lesson at the heart of Pope Francis’ homily Thursday morning at Mass, which he celebrated in his native Spanish. Greeting the men and women who work at Argentina’s embassies and consulates to Italy and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome, Pope Francis noted “It’s the first time I have celebrated Mass in Spanish since February 26th!, adding “it feels good!”. Emer McCarthy reports : MP3

As is tradition, Pope Francis’ homily was inspired by the Gospel of the day, in particular Christ’s words to his disciples "unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven." 

The Pope noted how this Gospel follows the Gospel of the Beatitudes and Jesus promise that He had not come to dissolve the law but to fulfill it. Pope Francis said that Christ wants “reform in continuity: from the [planting of the ] seed up to the fruit”.

Pope Francis warned that anyone who "enters Christian life" will have “greater demands made of them than others" and not “greater advantages". He said Jesus mentions some of these demands, in particular the problem of “bad relations among brethren". If our heart harbors “bad feelings” towards our brothers, the Pope said, "something is not working and we must convert, we must change." Pope Francis noted that "anger towards a brother is an insult, it’s something almost deathly ", "it kills him." He then observed that, especially in the Latin tradition, there is a "wonderful creativity" in inventing epithets. But, he cautioned, "when this epithet is friendly this is fine, the problem is when there is another kind of epithet”, when the "mechanism of insult" comes into play, which is "a form of denigration of others." 

“Y no hace falta ir al psicologo...”

Pope Francis continued: “There is no need to go to a psychologist to know that when we denigrates another person it is because we are unable to grow up and need to belittle others, to feel more important." This, he said, is "an ugly mechanism". Jesus, "with all the simplicity says: "Do not speak ill of one another. Do not denigrate one another. Do not belittle one another”. The Pope noted, "in the end we are all travelling on the same road", "we are all travelling on that road that will take us to the very end." Therefore "if we do not choose a fraternal path, it will end badly, for the person who insults and the insulted". The Pope noted that "if we are not able to keep our tongues in check, we lose”. “Natural aggression, that of Cain toward Abel, repeats itself throughout history." Pope Francis observed that it is not that we are bad, rather "we are weak and sinners." That's why it is "much easier", to "resolve a situation with an insult, with slander, defamation instead of resolving it with good means".

“Yo quisiera pedir al Señor que...”

Pope Francis concluded: “I would ask the Lord to give us all the grace to watch our tongues, to watch what we say about others." “It is a small penance - he added - but it bears a lot of fruit." "Sometimes, we go hungry and think, ‘What a pity I didn’t taste the fruit of a tasty comment against another person." But, he said, "that hunger bears fruit in the long run is good for us." That's why we ask the Lord for this grace: to adapt our lives "to this new law, which is the law of meekness, the law of love, the law of peace, and at least 'prune' our tongues a little, ‘prune’ the comments that we make of others and outbursts that lead us to an easy anger or insult. May the Lord grant us all this grace".

 

Vatican Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Pope at Mass: The science of tenderness

http://media01.radiovaticana.va/imm/1_0_696517.JPGVatican Radio 2013-06-14

The only way truly to receive the gift of salvation in Christ is with sincerity to recognize oneself as weak and sinful, and to avoid any form of self-justification. This was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks at Mass Friday morning in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence in the Vatican. ListenMP3

Aware of being a weak vessel of clay, yet the guardian of a great treasure that was given to him in a totally free way: this is the follower of Christ before the Lord. Pope Francis took the point of reflection from the day’s readings, specifically from the 2nd Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians, which explains that the "extraordinary power" of faith is God's work, that it has been poured out into sinful men, into "earthen vessels", in fact. Nevertheless, explained Pope Francis, it is precisely from the relationship "between the grace and power of Jesus Christ" and ourselves, poor sinners as we are, that "the dialogue of salvation" springs. This dialogue, moreover, must avoid any "self-justification", and be between God and “ourselves as we are.”:

“Paul has spoken many times - it's like a refrain, no? - of his sins. 'But I tell you this: I've been a persecutor of the Church, I pursued ...' it always comes back to his memory of sin. He feels sinful. – but even then he does not say: 'I was [a sinner], but now I am holy', no. Even now, a thorn of Satan in my flesh. He shows us his own weakness, his own sin. He is a sinner who accepts Jesus Christ, who dialogues with Jesus Christ.”

The key, says Pope Francis, is therefore humility. Paul himself proves it. He publicly acknowledges "his track record of service," i.e. all he had done as an Apostle of Jesus, but he does not hide or gloss over what the Pope calls "his handbook", i.e. his sins:

"This is the model of humility for us priests – for us priests, too. If we only pride ourselves on our [service record] and nothing more, we end up [going] wrong. We cannot proclaim Jesus Christ the Saviour because we do not feel Him [present and at work] deep down. We have to be humble, but with real humility, [from head to toe]: 'I am a sinner for this, for this, for this', as Paul did: 'I persecuted the Church, " - as he did, [recognizing ourselves] concrete sinners: not sinners with that [kind of ] humility, which seems more a put-on face, no? Oh no, strong humility. "

"The humility of the priest, the humility of a Christian is concrete," said Pope Francis, for which, therefore, if a Christian fails, "to make this confession to himself and to the Church, then something is wrong," and the first thing to fail will be our ability "understand the beauty of salvation that Jesus brings us."

"Brothers, we have a treasure: that of Jesus Christ the Saviour. The Cross of Jesus Christ, this treasure of which we pride ourselves - but we have it in a clay vessel. Let us vaunt also our ‘handbook’ of our sins. Thus is the dialogue Christian and Catholic: concrete, because the salvation of Jesus Christ is concrete. Jesus Christ has not saved us with an idea, an intellectual program, no. He saved with His flesh, with the concreteness of flesh. He is lowered, made man, made flesh until the end. This is a gift that we can only understand, only receive, in earthen vessels. "

The Samaritan woman, as well, who met Jesus and after speaking to him told her countrymen first of her sin and then about having met the Lord, behaved in a similar way to Paul. "I believe,” said Pope Francis, “that this woman is in heaven, sure," because, as [the Italian author Alessandro] Manzoni once said, 'I have never found that the Lord began a miracle without finishing it well' and this miracle that He began definitely ended well in heaven." The Pope concluded saying, let us ask her, "to help us to be vessels of clay in order to carry and understand the glorious mystery of Jesus Christ."

The prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza concelebrated the Mass, accompanied by priests and staff of the dicastery.

Vatican Radio

 

 

 

 

 

 Pope at Mass: Pope: The Christian life proclaims the road to reconciliation with God

Vatican Radio 2013-06-15

 Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report MP3

Christian life is not a spa therapy "to be at peace until Heaven," but it calls us to go out into the world to proclaim that Jesus "became the sinner" to reconcile men with the Father. These were Pope Francis’ words during his homily at Mass Saturday at the Casa Santa Martha.

The Christian life is not staying in a corner to carve a road which takes you into heaven, but it's a dynamic that encourages one to stay "on the road" to proclaim that Christ has reconciled us to God, by becoming sin for us. In his usual profound and direct way, Pope Francis focuses on a passage from the Letter to the Corinthians, from today's liturgy, in which St. Paul very insistent, almost "in a hurry", uses the term "reconciliation “five times.

"What is reconciliation? Taking one from this side, taking another one for that side and uniting them: no, that’s part of it but it's not it ... True reconciliation means that God in Christ took on our sins and He became the sinner for us. When we go to confession, for example, it isn’t that we say our sin and God forgives us. No, not that! We look for Jesus Christ and say: 'This is your sin, and I will sin again'. And Jesus likes that, because it was his mission: to become the sinner for us, to liberate us. "

It is the beauty and the "scandal" of the redemption brought by Jesus and it is also the "mystery, says Pope Francis, from which Paul draws" zeal "that spurs him to" move forward " telling everyone" something so wonderful "the love of a God" who gave up his Son to death for me. " Yet, explains Pope Francis, there is a risk of "never arriving at this truth" in the moment when "we 'devalue a little the Christian life", reducing it to a list of things to observe and thus losing the ardor, the force of the '"love that is inside" of it:

"But philosophers say that peace is a certain ordered tranquility: everything is tidy and quiet ... That is not the Christian peace! Christian peace is an uneasy peace, not a quiet peace: it is an uneasy peace, which goes on to carry this message of reconciliation. The Christian Peace pushes us to move forward. This is the beginning, the root of apostolic zeal. Apostolic zeal is not to go forward to persuade and make statistics: this year Christians in this country have grown, in this movement ... Statistics are good, they help, but that is not what God wants from us ,is to persuade... What the Lord wants from us is to announce this reconciliation, which is his own core message . "

Concluding his homily the Pope recalls the inner anxiety of Paul. Pope Francis underlines that which defines the "pillar" of Christian life, namely, that "Christ became sin for me! And my sins are there in his body, in his soul! This - says the Pope - it's crazy, but it's beautiful, it's true! This is the scandal of the Cross! "

"We ask the Lord to give us this concern to proclaim Jesus, to give us a bit of 'that Christian wisdom that was born from His pierced side of love. Just a little to convince us that the Christian life is not a spa therapy: to be at peace until Heaven ... No, the Christian life is the road in life with this concern of Paul. The love of Christ urges us on, it pushes us on, with this emotion that one feels when one sees that God loves us. We ask this grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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