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Dec. 23, 2013
AWAITING THE BIRTH
In his homily at Holy Mass on Monday, 23 December, Pope Francis commented on the simple yet profound prayer found on the Church's lips in ...
2013-12-23 L’Osservatore Romano
In his homily at Holy Mass on Monday, 23 December, Pope Francis commented on the simple yet profound prayer found on the Church's lips in these days leading up to Christmas: “Come, Lord!”. “In this final week before Christmas,” the Pope said, “the Church repeats the prayer, 'Come, Lord!,' and she calls out to the Lord with various and different names: O Wisdom, O Root of Jesse, O Dayspring, O King of the Nations, and today, O Emmanuel”.
The Church calls out to the Lord in this way, the Pope explained, because “she is awaiting a birth”. “This week the Church is like Mary: she is awaiting a birth”. The Virgin, he said, “sensed within herself, in body and in soul,” that the birth of her child was near. And he added: “surely in her heart she said to the baby she was carrying in her womb: 'Come, I want to see your face, for they have told me you will be great!'”.
This Church lives this spiritually, Pope Francis continued, for“we accompany Our Lady in this journey of waiting” and “we too wish to hasten the Lord's birth”. This, the Pontiff said, is the reason for the Church's prayer: “Come, O key of David, O Dayspring, O Wisdom, O Emmanuel”. This invocation, he said, recalls the final words in the Sacred Scripture; in the last lines of the Book of Revelation, the Church cries out: “Come, Lord Jesus”, Maranatha, which “may indicate a desire or a certainty: the Lord is coming”.
In fact, Pope Francis continued, “the Lord comes twice”. His first coming is “what we are about to commemorate, his physical birth”. Then, “he will come at the end of time, at the close of history”. However, the Pontiff added, “St Bernard tells us that there is a third coming of the Lord: his coming to us each day: each day, the Lord visits his Church. He visits each one of us. And our soul also enters into this likeness: our soul comes to resemble the Church; our soul comes to resemble Mary”. Here Pope Francis recalled that “the Desert Fathers say that Mary, the Church and the soul are all feminine”. Hence what is said of one may analogously be said of the others”.
Therefore, the Pope continued, “our souls are waiting in anticipation for the coming of the Lord, open souls calling out: Come, Lord!” Over the course of these days, he said, the Holy Spirit moves in the heart of each one of us, forming this prayer within us: “come, come!”. Throughout the Advent Season the Church keeps watch like Mary. And “watching is the virtue, the attitude, of pilgrims. We are pilgrims. Are we watching or are we closed? Are we vigilant or are we safe and secure in an inn and we no longer want to continue on? Are we pilgrims or are we wandering?”.
That is why the Church invites us to pray “come!” and to “open our souls in watchfulness”. We are invited to perceive and understand “what is happening within us”, to ask “if the Lord comes or does not come; if there is room for the Lord, or if there is room for celebration, for shopping, for making noise”. This examination of conscience, he said, should lead us to ask ourselves: “Are our souls open, as the soul of Holy Mother Church is open, and as Mary's soul was open? Or have we closed our souls and put a highly erudite note on the door saying: please do not disturb?”
“The world does not end with us” and “we are not more important than the world”. Therefore, “with Our Lady and the Church we would do well today to call out: “O Wisdom, O Key of David, O King of the Nations, Come, Come!” and, he added, “we would do well to repeat it many times”. It is a prayer, he said, that allows us to examine if our soul communicates to others that it does not wish to be disturbed, or if instead it is “an open soul, a great soul ready to receive the Lord”. A soul, the Pope concluded, “that already feels what the Church will tell us tomorrow in the Antiphon: Know that today the Lord comes and tomorrow you shall behold his glory”.
Dec. 23, 2013
AWAITING THE BIRTH
In his homily at Holy Mass on Monday, 23 December, Pope Francis commented on the simple yet profound prayer found on the Church's lips in ...
Dec. 23, 2013
POPE FRANCIS: DAILY MASS AT CASA SANTA MARTA
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. He focused his remarks ...
Vatican Radio) Pope Francis celebrated Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican. He focused his remarks after the readings of the day on the coming feast of the Nativity, and the threefold coming of Christ into history, at the end of time, and into our daily lives. Drawing on the lesson of St. Bernard, Pope Francis spoke of a “Third coming” of Christ – that which occurs every day in the life of the Church and of Christian faithful:
“There is a third coming of the Lord: that of every day. The Lord visits His Church every day! He visits each of us, and so our souls as well [experience something similar] : our soul resembles the Church , our soul resembles Mary. The desert fathers say that Mary, the Church and our souls are feminine, and that what is said about one can be said analogously of the others. Our soul is also in waiting, this waiting for the coming of the Lord – an open soul that calls out, ‘Come, Lord.’”
Pope Francis went on to say that the Holy Spirit moves each of us in these days to make this prayer his own, and recalled how all throughout the Advent season the Church has described herself as being in vigilant expectation – the attitude that is the hallmark of the pilgrim. “We are pilgrims,” he said:
“Are we expectant, or are we [indifferent]? Are we vigilant, or are we closed up ‘safely’ in an inn along the way, without desire to go forward. Are we are pilgrims, or are we vagabonds? For this reason, the Church invites us to pray, ‘Come! ‘, in order to open our soul and in order that that our soul be, these days, vigilant and expectant. Keep vigil! Be mindful of the difference the Lord’s coming (or not) makes in us. Is there a place for the Lord, or only for parties, for shopping , for revelry ... Is our soul open , as is Holy Mother Church and as was the Virgin Mary? Or is our soul rather closed, with a “Do Not Disturb!” sign hung on the door to it?”
“The world,” warned Pope Francis, “does not end with us,” but with the Lord, with Our Lady and with Mother Church. “So,” he said, “we do well to repeat [the invocation”: ‘O Wisdom , O Key of David, O King of the nations, come!”:
“Now, repeat [the call] many times, ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’ and look to see our soul be not one of those souls that say, “Do not disturb!” No! Let ours be great souls – souls open to receive the Lord in these days and that begin to feel that, which tomorrow the Church will speak to us in the antiphon: ‘Know that today the Lord will come, and in the morning you will see his glory!’
Dec. 20, 2013
MYSTERY DOESN'T SEEK PUBLICITY
In his homily at Holy Mass on Friday morning, 20 December, Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel from St Luke (1:26-38), which record the ...
2013-12-20 L’Osservatore Romano
In his homily at Holy Mass on Friday morning, 20 December, Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel from St Luke (1:26-38), which record the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary: “The power of the Most High will overshadow you. The Holy Spirit will come upon you”. The Pope noted that the angel's words harken back to the day's first Reading from the Book of Isaiah (7:10-14).
Throughout salvation history, the overshadowing of God has always guarded mystery,” the Pontiff said. “The overshadowing of God accompanied his people in the desert” and the whole of salvation history, he said, “demonstrates that the Lord has always guarded the mystery. He veiled the mystery, he did not publicize the mystery”. In fact, the Pope added, “a mystery that promotes itself is not Christian, it is not a mystery of God”. The day's Gospel clearly confirms this, he said, for when Mary received the angel's announcement, “the mystery of her motherhood” remained hidden.
“God's overshadowing of us in our lives,” the Pope continued, helps us to “discover our own mystery: our mystery of encounter with the Lord, the mystery of our life's journey with the Lord”. In fact, he said, “each of us knows how mysteriously the Lord works in his or her heart and soul. And this is the overshadowing, the power, the Holy Spirit's style, as it were, for veiling our mystery. This overshadowing in us, in our lives, is called silence. Silence is the cloud that veils the mystery of our relationship with the Lord, of our holiness and of our sins”.
“It is a mystery that we cannot explain. But when there is no silence in our lives, we lose the mystery, it goes away”. Hence the importance “of guarding the mystery with silence: this is the cloud, this is God's power in us, it is the strength of the Holy Spirit”.
The Pope turned again to the witness of the Blessed Virgin, who lived in this silence for the whole of her life. “I think about how many times she remained silent, how many times she did not say what she felt in order to guard the mystery of her relationship with her Son”. He then recalled how “in 1964, in Nazareth, Paul VI told us all that we need to renew and strengthen, to fortify silence,” precisely because “silence guards the mystery”.
The Pope then gave voice to “the silence of Our Lady at the foot of the Cross,” as Pope John Paul II had done before him. In reality, he said, the Gospel does not report any words from Our Lady. Mary “was silent, but within her heart how many things she said to the Lord” in that crucial moment in history. Likely, Mary would have thought back to the angel's words regarding her Son: “On that day you told me he would be great! You told me he would be given the throne of David his father and that he would reign for ever! But now look there” at the Cross. Mary, Pope Francis added, “veiled in silence the mystery which she did not understand. And through silence she allowed the mystery to grow and flourish,” thus bringing great hope to all.
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, the power of the Most High will overshadow you”. The angel's words to Mary assure us that “the Lord veils his mystery,” the Pope said. For “the mystery of our relationship with God, of our journey, of our salvation should not be aired or publicized. Silence should be its guard”.
Pope Francis concluded with a prayer that “the Lord might grant us all the grace to love silence, to seek it out, to have a heart guarded by the cloud of silence. Thus the mystery growing within us shall bear much fruit”.
Dec. 20, 2013
POPE: SILENCE GUARDS ONE'S RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
(Vatican Radio) Only silence guards the mystery of the journey that a person walks with God, said Pope Francis in his homily at Mass on ...
Vatican Radio) Only silence guards the mystery of the journey that a person walks with God, said Pope Francis in his homily at Mass on Friday morning at the Casa Santa Marta. May the Lord, the Pope added, give us “the grace to love the silence”, which needs to be guarded from all publicity.
In the history of salvation, neither in the clamour nor in the blatant, but the shadows and the silence are the places in which God chose to reveal himself to humankind.
The imperceptible reality from which his mystery, from time to time, took visible form, took flesh. The Pope’s reflections were inspired by the Annunciation, which was today’s Gospel reading, in particular the passage in which the angel tells Mary that the power of the Most High would “overshadow” her. The shadow, which has almost the same quality as the cloud, with which God protected the Jews in the desert, the Pope said.
“The Lord always took care of the mystery and hid the mystery. He did not publicize the mystery. A mystery that publicizes itself is not Christian; it is not the mystery of God: it is a fake mystery! And this is what happened to Our Lady, when she received her Son: the mystery of her virginal motherhood is hidden. It is hidden her whole life! And she knew it. This shadow of God in our lives helps us to discover our own mystery: the mystery of our encounter with the Lord, our mystery of our life’s journey with the Lord.”
“Each of us,” affirmed the Pope, “knows how mysteriously the Lord works in our hearts, in our souls.” And what is “the cloud, the power, the way the Holy Spirit covers our mystery?”
“This cloud in us, in our lives is called silence: the silence is exactly the cloud that covers the mystery of our relationship with the Lord, of our holiness and of our sins. This mystery that we cannot explain. But when there is no silence in our lives, the mystery is lost, it goes away. Guarding the mystery with silence! That is the cloud, that is the power of God for us, that is the strength of the Holy Spirit.”
The Mother of Jesus was the perfect icon of silence. From the proclamation of her exceptional maternity at Calvary. The Pope said he thinks about “how many times she remained quiet and how many times she did not say that which she felt in order to guard the mystery of her relationship with her Son,” up until the most raw silence “at the foot of the cross”.
“The Gospel does not tell us anything: if she spoke a word or not… She was silent, but in her heart, how many things told the Lord! ‘You, that day, this and the other that we read, you had told me that he would be great, you had told me that you would have given him the throne of David, his forefather, that he would have reigned forever and now I see him there!’ Our Lady was human! And perhaps she even had the desire to say: ‘Lies! I was deceived!’ John Paul II would say this, speaking about Our Lady in that moment. But she, with her silence, hid the mystery that she did not understand and with this silence allowed for this mystery to grow and blossom in hope.”
“Silence is that which guards the mystery,” for which the mystery “of our relationship with God, of our journey, of our salvation cannot be… publicized,” the Pope repeated.
“May the Lord give all of us the grace to love the silence, to seek him and to have a heart that is guarded by the cloud of silence,” he said.
Dec. 19, 2013
WHEN MAN TRIES TO SAVE HIMSELF
Man cannot save himself, and those who have had the pride to try, even Christians, have failed. For only God can grant life and salvation. ...
2013-12-19 L’Osservatore Romano
Man cannot save himself, and those who have had the pride to try, even Christians, have failed. For only God can grant life and salvation. This was the heart of Pope Francis' homily at Holy Mass on Thursday, 19 December at the Chapel of Santa Marta.
The Pope drew upon the Readings of the day to remind those present that “the capacity to bestow life and salvation come only from the Lord”. “Many times,” he said, “the Scriptures speak about barren women, about sterility, about the inability to conceive and give life”. And yet many times “a miracle of the Lord” occurs and “these barren women are given to have a child”.
Pope Francis pointed to the example of Samson's mother, whose story is recounted in the day's first Reading from the Book of Judges (13:2-7,24-25a). He then recalled what happened to Sarah, the wife of our father Abraham: “she could not believe” that she could have a son at her advanced age “and she laughed behind the door of the tent where she was listening to what her husband was saying; she laughed because she could not believe it, but she had a son”.
Today's Gospel (Lk 1:5-25), the Holy Father continued, reminds us of “what happened to Elizabeth”. These biblical stories about barren women show how “life is brought for the from the impossibility of giving life”. The Pope then noted that this also occurred with women who perhaps were not barren, but who no longer had any hope for their lives. “We think of Noemi, who ultimately had a grandchild”. Essentially, he said, “the Lord intervenes in the lives of these women to tell us: I am able to give life”.
Pope Francis then noted how the image of the desert is repeatedly used by the prophets. “The desert, arid land which is incapable of bringing forth a tree, fruit, or of making anything blossom”. And yet this very desert, he said, becomes a forest. “The prophets say: it shall be great, it will flourish!”. “The desert can flourish” and “the barren woman can give life” only through the Lord's promise: I can do it! I can bring forth life and salvation from your barrenness! I can make fruit to grow from your aridity! It is the intervention of God that makes us fruitful, that gives us the ability to give life, that helps us along the path of holiness”.
One thing is certain, the Pope said: “we cannot save ourselves by ourselves”. “Even many Christians” have tried it, but only God's intervention brings us salvation.
“What must we do for our part then?,” the Pope asked. First “we must recognize our own barrenness, our inability to bring forth life”. Then “we must ask,” saying to the Lord: “Lord, I want to be fruitful' I want my life to give life, I want my faith to be fruitful and to go forward and to give life to others. Lord, I am barren; I cannot do it, but you can. I am a desert; I cannot not do it, but you can”. This, he said, “should be our prayer in the days leading up to Christmas”.
Pope Francis then recalled how “ the proud, those who believe they can do everything by themselves, are struck down”. The Pope pointed to Michal, the daughter of Saul. “She was a woman”, he said, “who was not sterile, but she was proud, and was not able to understand what it was to praise God, and in fact laughed at the praise that David gave to the Lord. And she was punished with sterility. Humility is necessary for fruitfulness. How many people like here imagine that they are just, and in the end they are poor souls”.
Humility, Pope Francis said, is what is truly important, the ability to say to the Lord: “Lord, I am barren, I am a desert”. And he concluded: “how important are the beautiful O Antiphons that the Church has us pray over the course of these days: O Son of David, O Adonai, O Wisdom, O Root of Jesse, O Emmanuel, come and give us life, come and save us, for only You can, alone I cannot. It is with this humility, the humility of the desert, the humility of the barren soul, that we receive grace: the grace to blossom, to bear fruit and to give life”.
Dec. 19, 2013
POPE FRANCIS: HUMILITY NECESSARY FOR FRUITFULNESS
“Humility is necessary for fruitfulness,” Pope Francis said at Mass this morning in the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father said that the intervention of ...
“Humility is necessary for fruitfulness,” Pope Francis said at Mass this morning in the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father said that the intervention of God overcomes the sterility of our life and makes it fruitful. Then he put us on guard against the attitude of pride that makes us sterile.
Often in the Bible we find women who are sterile, to whom the Lord gives the gift of life. That was the starting point of Pope Francis’ homily on the day’s readings, particularly the Gospel, which tells the story of Elizabeth, who was sterile but who had a son – John. “From the impossibility of giving life,” the Pope said, “comes life.” And this, he continued, happened not only for sterile women but to those “who had no hope of life,” such as Naomi who eventually had a grandson:
“The Lord intervened in the life of this woman to tell us: ‘I am capable of giving life.’ In the Prophets too there is the image of the desert, the desert land that cannot grow a tree, a fruit, to bring forth anything. ‘But the desert will be like a forest,’ the Prophets say, “it will be huge, it will flower.” But can the desert flower? Yes. Can the sterile woman give life? Yes. The promise of the Lord: ‘I can!’ From dryness, from your dryness I can make life, salvation grow. From aridity I can make fruit grow!”
And that salvation, Pope Francis said, is this: “The intervention of God who makes us fruitful, who gives us the capacity to give life.” He warned that we cannot do it by ourselves. And yet, the Pope said, many people have tried to imagine that we are capable of saving ourselves:
“Even Christians, eh? We think of the Pelagians for example. All is grace. And it is the intervention of God that brings us salvation. It is the intervention of God that helps us along the path of sanctity. Only He can do it. But what are we to do on our part? First, recognize our dryness, our incapacity to give life. Recognize this. Second, ask: ‘Lord, I want to be fruitful.’ I desire that my life should give life, that my faith should be fruitful and go forward and be able to give it to others. Lord, I am sterile, I can’t do it. You can. I am a desert: I can’t do it. You can.”
And this, he added, could be our prayer during these days before Christmas. “We think about how the proud, those who think they can do it all by themselves, are struck.” The Pope turned his thoughts to Michal, the daughter of Saul. She was a woman, he said, “who was not sterile, but was proud, and was not able to understand what it was to praise God,” and in fact laughed at the praise that David gave to the Lord. And she was punished with sterility:
“Humility is necessary for fruitfulness. How many people imagine they are just, like Michal, but who are really [sorry souls (poveracce)]. The humility to say to the Lord: ‘Lord, I am sterile, I am a desert’ and to repeat in these days this beautiful antiphon that the Church makes us pray: O Son of David, O Adonai, O Wisdom – today! – O Root of Jesse, O Emmanuel, come and give us life, come and save us, because only You can, by myself I cannot!’ And with this humility, this humility of the desert, this humility of a sterile soul, receive grace, the grace to flourish, to give fruit, and to give life.”
Dec. 17, 2013
At Holy Mass on Tuesday, 17 December, Pope Francis commented on the readings from the day, taken from the Book of Genesis (49:2,8-10) and from ...
At Holy Mass on Tuesday, 17 December, Pope Francis commented on the readings from the day, taken from the Book of Genesis (49:2,8-10) and from the Gospel of St Matthew (1:1-17). On this, the Pontiff’s seventy seventh birthday, he presided at his customary morning Mass in the Chapel of Santa Marta. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, was present to concelebrate the Mass and expressed his best wishes to the Pope on behalf of the entire College.
The Pope centred his homily around the theme of God’s presence in the history of mankind. Within this context, the Pontiff identified two key themes - inheritance and genealogy. He said they are keys to interpreting the first Reading from Genesis regarding the prophecy of Jacob, who gathers together his sons and foretells a glorious line of descendants for Judah, and the Gospel passage which recounts the genealogy of Jesus. Reflecting especially on the latter, Pope Francis said that “we are not dealing with a list in a telephone book” but with “pure history”, for “God sent his Son among men. Jesus is consubtantial with God, the Father, but also consubstantial with his mother, a woman. And this is his consubtantiality with his mother: God entered history, God wanted to become history. He is with us. He has journeyed with us”.
It was a journey that began long ago, in Paradise, immediately after the original sin. God “had this idea: to make the journey with us”. Therefore, “he called Abraham, the first person indicated on this list, and he invited him to walk. Abraham began the journey: he begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah”. And so it went, over the course of history. “God journeys with his people”, the Pope said, because he did not want to come and save us apart from history; he wanted to make history with us”.
It is a history wrought of holiness and sin, the Pope said. The list of the genealogy of Jesus is filled with saints and sinners: from Abraham and David who converted after his sin to “high caliber sinners, who sinned gravely”. But God made history with them all. The latter were sinners who did not know how to respond to the design God had in mind for them. “Soloman, so great and intelligent, ended like a poor man who didn’t even know his name”. And yet God was also with him. “And this is beautiful: God makes history with us.
The Pope continued: “when God wants to say who he is, he says: I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob”. “What is God’s surname?” the Pope asked. “We are, each one of us. He takes the name of each of us and makes it his surname: “I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Pedro, of Marietta, of Armony, of Marisa, of Simon, of everyone. He takes his surname from us. God’s surname is each one of us”.
The Pope then said, “as Christmas approaches, “it is natural to think: if he made history with us, if he took his surname from us, if he has left it to us to write his history, then we for our part should allow God to write our history”.
Pope Francis concluded by extending to all those present an invitation to an open heart, and a Christmas wish: “May the Lord write your history, and my you allow him to write it”.
Dec. 16, 2013
POPE FRANCIS: WITHOUT PROPHECY, ONLY CLERICALISM
(Vatican Radio) A church without prophets falls into the trap of clericalism. These were the words of Pope Francis during his homily at Mass on ...
Vatican Radio) A church without prophets falls into the trap of clericalism. These were the words of Pope Francis during his homily at Mass on Monday morning in the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta.
Commenting on the day’s readings, Pope Francis said a prophet is someone who listens to the words of God, who reads the spirit of the times, and who knows how to move forward towards the future. True prophets, the Pope said, hold within themselves three different moments: past, present, and future. They keep the promise of God alive, they see the suffering of their people, and they bring us the strength to look ahead.
God looks after his people, the Pope continued, by giving them prophets in the hardest times, in the midst of their worst suffering. But when there is no spirit of prophecy amongst the people of God, we fall into the trap of clericalism.
In the Gospel, for example, the priests ask Jesus: “With what authority do you do these things? We are the masters of the Temple!” They didn’t understand the prophecy, Pope Francis said, they had forgotten the promise. They didn’t know how to read the spirit of the times, they didn’t listen to the words of God, they had only their authority.
When there is no prophecy amongst the people of God, the emptiness that is created gets filled by clericalism. All memory of the past and hope for the future are reduced only to the present: no past promise, no future hope. But when clericalism reigns supreme, Pope Francis said, the words of God are sorely missed, and true believers weep because they cannot find the Lord.
As we prepare for the birth of the Lord, Pope Francis concluded, let us pray: “Lord, let us not lack prophets amongst your people!” All those who are baptised are prophets: let us not forget God’s promise, let us not tire of moving forward.
Dec. 16, 2013
At the Holy Mass he celebrated on Monday morning, 16 December in the Chapel of Santa Marta, Pope Francis reminded those present that all baptized ...
At the Holy Mass he celebrated on Monday morning, 16 December in the Chapel of Santa Marta, Pope Francis reminded those present that all baptized are called to be prophets. Recalling the words of the day’s reading from the Book of Numbers (24:2-7,15-17b), which depicts the figure of the prophet, the Pope said: “The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is opened, the oracle of him who hears the words of God”. “This the the prophet,” Pope Francis said: “a man whose eye is opened, and who hears and speaks the words of God, who knows how to see into the moment and to go forward into the future. But first he has listened, he has heard the word of God”.
The prophet holds “these three moments within himself,” the Pope said: past, present and future. He explained: “The past: the prophet is aware of the promise and he holds God’s promise in his heart, he keeps it alive, he remembers it, he repeats is. He then looks into the present, he looks at his people and he experiences the power of the spirit to speak a word to them that will lift them up, to continue their journey toward the future”.
Therefore, the Pope said, “the prophet is a man of three times: the promise of the past, the contemplation of the present, the courage to point out the path toward the future”. Pope Francis then reminded those present that “the Lord always protected his people through the prophets in difficult moments, when the people were discouraged and had reached the end; when there was no temple, when Jerusalem was under the power of enemy forces, when the people asked themselves: ‘Lord, you have given us your promise, what will happen now?’”. And he added: “Perhaps the same thing happened to Our Lady, as she stood at the foot of the Cross: ‘Lord, you told me that he would liberate Israel, that he would be its Head, the One who would bring redemption; and now?’”.
The Pontiff continued: “The prophets were needed in those times in Israel’s history. And the prophets were not always well received. Many times they were rejected. Jesus himself told the Pharisees that their fathers had killed the prophets because they were saying uncomfortable things, they were speaking the truth, they were recalling the promises. When prophecy is absent in Israel’s life, something is missing: the Lord’s life is missing”.
The Pope turned to the life of young Samuel as an example. “As he was sleeping, he heard the call of the Lord, but he did not know what it was. And the Bible says: “the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision” (1 Samuel 3:1). It was a time when “Israel had no prophets”. However, he added: “the same thing happens when a prophet comes and the people do not receive him, as we read in the Gospel of Matthew (21:33-27). When there is no prophecy, the emphasis falls on legality; these priests went to Jesus to ask him for his legal card: ‘By what authority are you doing these things?’ they asked him”. Pope Francis continued: “It is as if they’d said to him: ‘We are in charge of the masters of the temple; as for you, by what authority do you do these things?’ They did not understand the prophecies, they had forgotten the promise. They did not know how to read the signs of the present moment, they did not have eyes opened nor did they hear the word of God. They only had authority”.
“It was the same in Samuel’s day,” he added, “when the word of the Lord was rare and there was no frequent vision. Legality and authority. When there is no prophecy among the people, clericalism fills the void. It is precisely this clericalism that asks Jesus: ‘by what authority do you do these things, by what legal authorization?’ The memory of the promise and hope to go forward are reduced only to the present: neither the past, nor a future and hope”.
The Pope then said: “Perhaps the people of God who believed, who went to the temple to pray, in their hearts were mourning the fact that they didn’t find the Lord. Prophecy was missing. They mourned in their hearts as had Anna, the mother of Samuel, asking that the people might be made fruitful with that fruitfulness that comes from the power of God, when he reawakens in us the memory of his promise and moves us toward the future with hope. This is the prophet. This is the man whose eye is opened, and who hears the words of God”.
Pope Francis concluded his homily recommending “a prayer over the course of these days, as we prepare for the celebration of the Lord’s birth”. He prayed to the Lord that prophets not be lacking among his people: “All of us who are baptized are prophets. Lord, may we not forget your promise; may we never grow weary of going forward; may we never close ourselves in through a legality that closes doors. Lord, free your people from the spirit of clericalism and come to their aid through your spirit of prophecy”.
Dec. 13, 2013
In his homily during Holy Mass on Friday morning, 13 December, Pope Francis commented on the Gospel for the day taken from St Matthew (11:16-19), ...
In his homily during Holy Mass on Friday morning, 13 December, Pope Francis commented on the Gospel for the day taken from St Matthew (11:16-19), in which Jesus compares the generation of his contemporaries to “children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates: 'We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn'”.
The Pope recalled that in the Gospels Jesus “always speaks fondly of children”, he offers them as “models of Christian life”and he invites us “to be like them in order to enter into the Kingdom of God”. Today's Gospel passage “is the only instance in which he does not speak well of them”. The Pope called the image “a bit particular”; the children are “ill-mannered, malcontent, even course, ever refusing the invitations of the others: nothing suits them”. Jesus uses this image to describe “the leaders of the people,” whom the Holy Father called “people who were not open to the God's word”.
A point of interest for the Holy Father: they did not refuse “the message, but the messenger”. As we read further on in the same passage: “John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say 'Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'”. In practice, men have always found reason to de-legitimize the preacher. Just think of the people of that time, Pope Francis said, who preferred "to escape into a more elaborate religion: in moral precepts like the Pharisees, in political compromise like the Sadducees, in social revolution like the zealots, in gnostic spirituality like the Essenes”. "All of them,” he added, "had their well cleaned, well ordered system," but they did not accept "the preacher”. That is why Jesus refreshes their memory by recalling the prophets who were persecuted and killed.
To accept “the truth of Revelation” and not “the preacher” reveals a mentality that comes from “a life caged in precepts, compromises, revolutionary plans, in a disincarnate spirituality”. Pope Francis referred particularly to those Christians “who do not allow themselves to dance when the preacher gives them good news of joy, who do not allow themselves to cry when the preacher gives them sad news”; i.e., to those Christians “who are closed, caged, who are not free for fear of the freedom of the Holy Spirit that comes through preaching”.
The Pope continued: “This is the scandal of preaching of which St Paul spoke; the scandal of preaching that ends in the scandal of the Cross”. In fact, he added, “it is scandalous that God should speak to us through limited, sinful men; and it is even more scandalous that God should speak to us and save us through a man who says he is the Son of God, but ends like a criminal”. “These sad Christians do not believe in the Holy Spirit; they do not believe in that freedom that comes through preaching, that admonishes you, that teaches you, that even smacks you around a bit, but it is freedom which makes the Church grow”.
Therefore, the Gospel image of the “children who are afraid to dance and cry” and who “are afraid of everything, who ask to be assured about everything” reminds us of “those sad Christians, who are always criticizing preachers of truth because they are afraid to open the door to the Holy Spirit”. Pope Francis concluded his homily by exhorting all those present to pray for them and everyone, so that “we do not become sad Christians”, who rob “the Holy Spirit of the freedom of coming among us through the scandal of preaching”.
Dec. 13, 2013
In his homily during Holy Mass on 12 December 2013, Pope Francis commented on the first Reading of the day taken from the Book of ...
Dec. 12, 2013
In his homily during Holy Mass on 12 December 2013, Pope Francis commented on the first Reading of the day taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (41:13-20). The Pope said he wished to reflect “not so much on what the Lord says” but rather “on how the Lord says it” as one looks “more at the music than at the letter”.
How does the Lord speak to us, the Pontiff asked. Perhaps, he said, it might seem strange to hear the great God say: “I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, 'Fear not, I will help you' (v.13). He is just like a father who runs to his child's side at night when he has had a bad dream and says to him: “Don't be afraid! I'm here right beside you”.
Jesus speaks to us in the same way, the Pontiff continued. He “draws near” to us. “When we look at a father or mother draw close to their children, we see that they make themselves small, they speak with a child's voice and communicate with a child's gestures”. Whoever sees them from the outside might think they look ridiculous. However, the Pope added, “the love of a father and mother needs to draw close, to bend down to the child's world”. And even if they father or mother were to speak to their child in the normal way, the child would understand, “but they want to take on the child's way of speaking; they draw near. They make themselves children, as it were. And so it is with the Lord”.
“The Greek philosophers, in speaking about this, used a very difficult word: 'sincatabasis', the divine condescension whereby God accepts becoming one of us”. The Lord speaks to us in this way, Pope Francis said. He acts as parents do with their children. In fact, he continued, the Lord says: “worm of Jacob, you are like a little worm to me, you are little... but I love you very much”. This, he said, “is the language of the Lord: a language of love, of a father, of a mother”.
Of course, the Holy Father continued, we must listen to the Lord's word, what he tells us; but we must also listen to “how he tells us”. And we must do as he does, i.e. “doing what he says, but doing it in the way he says it: with love, with tenderness, with condescension toward our brothers and sisters”.
The Pope continued: “I have always been struck by the Lord's encounter with Elijah, when the Lord speaks with Elijah”. He was on the mountain when he saw the Lord pass by, “not in the hail, in the rain, in the storm, in the wind... The Lord was in the still soft breeze” (cf. 1 Kings 19:11-13).
“In the original text, a most beautiful word is used which cannot be precisely translated: he was in a sonorous thread of silence. A sonorous thread of silence: this is how the Lord draws near, with that sound of silence that belongs to love”. And to every man he says: “You are small and a weak sinner; 'but I will make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff; you shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them'” (Is 41:15-16). Thus, Pope Francis said, “he makes himself small to make me strong. He goes to death, as a sign of that 'condescension' that I may live”.
“This is the music of the Lord's language,” Pope Francis said. “As we prepare for Christmas, we should listen to it. It will do us great, great good. Normally Christmas is a loud feast, so it will do us good to be silent a little, in order to listen to these words of love, of great closeness, these words of tenderness”. The Pope concluded: “We need to be silent during this season so that, as the preface says, we might vigilantly keep watch”.
(Vatican Radio) Preparing for Christmas, we would do well to take a moment of silence to listed to God who speaks to us with the ...
Dec. 12, 2013
Vatican Radio) Preparing for Christmas, we would do well to take a moment of silence to listed to God who speaks to us with the tenderness of a father and of a mother. That was the message of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, on the second Thursday of Advent.
Beginning with the reading from the Prophet Isaiah, the Pope emphasized not only “what the Lord says” but “how He says it.” God speaks to as a father or a mother speaks to their children:
“When the child has a bad dream, he wakes up, cries . . . the father goes and says, ‘Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, I’m here.’ That’s how the Lord speaks to us. ‘Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you maggot Israel’ (Isaiah 41,13). The Lord has this way of speaking to us: He is near . . . When we look at a father or a mother who speaks to their little child, we see that they become little and speak with a voice of a child and with the manners of children. Someone looking in from the outside think, ‘This is ridiculous!’ They become smaller, right there, no? Because the love of a father and a mother needs to be close. I say this word: to lower themselves to the world of the child. . . . If the father and mother spoke to them normally, the child would still understand; but they want to take up the manner of speaking of the child. They come close, they become children. And so it is with the Lord.”
The Greek theologians, Pope Francis recalled, explained this attitude of God with a somewhat difficult word: “synkatábasi” or “the humble and accommodating disposition [condiscendenza] of God who lowers Himself to make Himself one of us.”
“And so, the father and the mother also say ridiculous things to the child: ‘Ah, my love, my toy . . .’ and all these things. And the Lord says this too, ‘you worm Jacob,’ ‘you are like a worm to me, a tiny little thing, but I love you so much.’ This is the language of the Lord, the language of the love of a father, of a mother. The word of the Lord? Yes, we understand what He tells us. But we also see how He says it. And we must do what the Lord does, do what He says and do it as He says it: with love, with tenderness, with that condescension towards the brethren.”
Pope Francis referred to Elijah’s encounter with God, when the Lord came to him as “a sweet breeze” (cf. 1 Kings 19,11ff), or, as it says in the original text, “a sound of silence”. That is how the Lord draws near, with that resonance of silence that is proper to love. Without making a spectacle.” And “He becomes small in order to make me strong; He goes to death, with that condescendence, so that I might live”:
“This is the music of the language of the Lord, and we, in the preparation for Christmas, ought to hear it: it would do us so much good. Normally, Christmas seems to be a very noisy holiday: it would do us good to have a little silence and to hear these words of love, these words of such nearness, these words of tenderness . . . ‘You are a worm, but I love you so much.’ [Let us pray] for this, and to be silent in this time in which, as it says in the preface, we are watchful in waiting.”
(Vatican Radio) When Jesus approaches us, He always opens the doors and gives us hope. That was the message of Pope Francis this morning during ...
Dec. 10, 2013
Vatican Radio) When Jesus approaches us, He always opens the doors and gives us hope. That was the message of Pope Francis this morning during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope said we must never fear the consolation of the Lord, but rather must ask for and seek that consolation that makes us feel the tenderness of God.
“Comfort, give comfort to my people.” Pope Francis began his homily by reflecting on the reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah, the book of the consolation of Israel. The Lord, he noted, approaches His people to comfort them, “to give them peace.” And this “work of consolation” is so strong that it “draws all things.” The Lord accomplishes a true re-creation:
“He re-creates things. And the Church never tires of saying that this re-creation is more wonderful than the creation. The Lord re-creates more wonderfully. And so He visits His people: re-creating, with that power. And the people of God always had this idea, this thought, that the Lord will come to visit them. We remember the last word of Joseph to his brothers: “When the Lord will visit you, you must take my bones with you.” The Lord will visit His people. It is the hope of Israel. But He will visit them with this consolation.”
“And the consolation,” he continued, “is this drawing all things, not once, but many times, with the universe and also with us.” This “drawing of the Lord,” the Pope said, has two dimensions that it is important to emphasize. “When the Lord approaches,” he said, “He gives us hope; the Lord draws us with hope. He always opens a door. Always.” When the Lord approaches, the Pope repeated, “he doesn’t close doors, He opens [them].” The Lord “in His nearness gives us hope, this hope that is a true strength in the Christian life. It is a grace, it is a gift”:
“When a Christian forgets hope — or worse, loses hope — his life is senseless. It’s as if his life hit a wall: there’s nothing. But the Lord comforts us and draws us forward with hope. And He does it with a special closeness to each one, because the Lord comforts His people and comforts each one of us. It’s beautiful how today’s reading ends: ‘Like a shepherd He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers the lambs, carrying them in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care.’ That image of carrying the lambs in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care: that is tenderness. The Lord comforts us with tenderness.”
He continued, “God who is powerful “is not afraid of tenderness.” “He becomes tender, becomes a child, becomes small.” In the Gospel, he noted, Jesus says the same: “In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” In the eyes of the Lord, he added, “each one of us is very, very important. And He gives with tenderness.” And so He makes us “go forward, giving us hope.” This, he said again, “was the principle work of Jesus” in the forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension: to comfort the disciples, to be close to them and give them consolation”:
“He was close to them and gave hope, He approached with tenderness. But we think of the tenderness He had with the Apostles, with Mary Magdalene, with those of Emmaus. He approached with tenderness: “Give me something to eat.” With Thomas: “Put your finger here.” The Lord is always this way. This is the consolation of the Lord. May the Lord give to all of us the grace to not be afraid of the consolation of the Lord, to be open: ask for it, seek it, because it is a consolation that will give us hope, and make us feel the tenderness of God the Father.”
On Monday, 9 December, the Holy Father celebrated Mass with the Patriarch of Alexandria for the Copts, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, on the occasion of the ...
Dec. 9, 2013
On Monday, 9 December, the Holy Father celebrated Mass with the Patriarch of Alexandria for the Copts, Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, on the occasion of the public manifestation of the Ecclesiastica Communio between the Patriarch and the Successor of Peter.Following his acceptance of canonical election, the Patriarch asked and obtained from Benedict XVI Ecclesiastica Communio with the Bishop and the Church of Rome. This morning at Holy Mass, through the simple yet evocative Exchange of the Sacred Species between the Pope and the Patriarch, the public signification of their communion was fulfilled. The act affirmed that the bond of communion between all of the Churches and the Successor of Peter is rooted in the Holy Eucharist. In his homily, the Pope expressed his joy in the occasion, and he wished to emphasize the importance of their making the journey which leads to an encounter with the Lord together, of their “finding and creating paths of encounter, paths of brotherhood, paths of peace” that bring division and enmity to an end, for a future of peace in the Holy Land and in the entire Middle East. The Pontiff also turned his thoughts to the “beloved land Egyptian” whose people are experiencing insecurity and violence, sometimes on account of their Christian faith, and he made an appeal that “the religious liberty” of all people be guaranteed, in order that Christians might live peacefully in the land where they were born.
(Vatican Radio) At his daily Mass on Monday, Pope Francis appealed for an end to division and hatred in the Holy Land and the Middle ...
Dec. 9, 2013
atican Radio) At his daily Mass on Monday, Pope Francis appealed for an end to division and hatred in the Holy Land and the Middle East. The Holy Father concelebrated the Mass with the Coptic Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria (Egypt), Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, on the occasion of the public manifestation of “ecclesiastical communion” between the Patriarch and the Successor of Peter. The Pope spoke about his closeness to Egyptian Christians who are experiencing insecurity and violence, then renewed his appeal for religious liberty throughout the whole of the Middle East.
In his homily at the Mass, Pope Francis turned his thoughts immediately to the Coptic faithful, recalling the words of the Prophet Isaiah in the first Reading, which speak of a re-awakening of the heart in expectation of the Lord:
“We feel that the encouragement for ‘the faint of heart’ is directed to so many in your beloved land of Egypt who are experiencing insecurity and violence, sometimes because of their Christian faith. ‘Be strong, do not fear!’ Here are the consoling words that find their confirmation in fraternal solidarity. I am thankful to God for this encounter that gives me a way to reinforce your hope and our hope, because they are the same.”
The Gospel, he continued, presents “Christ who conquers the paralysis of humanity.” But, he noted, “the paralysis of consciences is contagious.” “With the complicity of the poverties of history and of our sin,” he said, “it can expand and enter into social structures and into communities to block entire peoples.” But, he said, “the command of Christ: ‘Arise, walk!’ can reverse the situation”:
“Let us pray with confidence that in the Holy Land and all the Middle East peace might be able to rise from the often recurring and sometimes dramatic breaks [in the peace process]. Rather, let hatred and divisions be ended forever! Let the peace agreements, often paralyzed by conflicting and obscure interests, be quickly resumed. Let real guarantees of religious liberty be given to all, together with the rights of Christians to live peacefully in the places where they were born, in the native country they love as citizens of more than two thousand years, in order that they might contribute as always to the good of all.”
Pope Francis then recalled that Jesus experienced the flight into Egypt with the Holy Family, and was welcomed into that “generous land.” And so he invoked the Lord, praying that He might “watch over the Egyptians, that along the paths of the world they might seek dignity and security”:
“And let us always go forward, seeking the Lord, seeking new paths, new ways to come closer to the Lord. And if it necessary to open a hole in the roof in order for us to bring everyone closer to the Lord, may our creative imagination of charity bring us to do this: to find and to make new paths of encounter, paths of brotherhood, paths of peace.”
For his part, Patriarch Sidrak expressed his joy at the opportunity to celebrate the divine liturgy with the Pope. He emphasized that at this delicate moment in history, the Church in Egypt needs the “paternal support” of the Successor of Peter. And, like Pope Francis, he too prayed for the gift of peace: “That the light of the Holy Nativity might be the star that reveals the path of love, of unity, of reconciliation, and of peace, gifts of which my Land has such great need. Asking for your blessing, Holy Father, we eagerly await it in Egypt.”
In his homily during Holy Mass on Friday, 6 December, in the Chapel of Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the nature of prayer. The ...
Dec. 7, 2013
In his homily during Holy Mass on Friday, 6 December, in the Chapel of Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the nature of prayer. The Pope commented on the day's Gospel from St Matthew (9:27-31), which begins: “And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, 'Have mercy on us, Son of David'”. The Pope noted the Gospel's use of the phrase “to cry aloud” and observed: “Even the blind man who entered Jericho cried aloud, and the Lord's friends wanted him to be silent”. Yet the blind man “asks the Lord for a grace, and he asks for it crying aloud,” as though he were saying to Jesus: “But do it! It's my right that you do this!”
“Here crying aloud is a sign of prayer,” the Pontiff explained. Jesus himself, when he taught his disciples how to pray, told them to pray like the bothersome friend who went at midnight to ask for bread and a little pasta for his guests”. Or again, he told them “to do as the widow with the corrupt judge”. Pope Francis continued: “To do so – I would say – by being bothersome. I don't know, perhaps this sounds rather bad, but praying is a little like bothering God so that he listens to us”. Prayer, he said, is a matter of “drawing God's eyes and heart to us”. This is precisely what the lepers in the Gospel did; who drew near to Jesus and said: “If you will it, you can heal us!”. And, Pope Francis added, “they did so with a certain assuredness”.
“This is how Jesus teaches us to pray,” he explained. We generally bring our requests to the Lord “one, two or three times, but without great strength, and then I tire of asking and I forget to ask”. Yet, he said, the blind men whom Matthew describes “cry aloud and do not cease crying out”. In fact, the Pope added, “Jesus tell us: 'Ask!' and he also says: 'Knock at the door!' and whoever knocks at the door makes noise, he disturbs, he bothers”.
“These are the words Jesus uses to tell us how we should pray,” he said. And yet, he explained, “this is also the way the needy pray in the Gospel … the blind feel confident in asking the Lord to make them well. So much so that the Lord asks them: 'Do you believe that I am able to do this?', to which they respond, 'Yes, Lord. We believe! We are sure!'”.
These, then, are prayer's two attitudes: prayer is “needy and confident”. “When we ask for something, our prayer is needy: I need this, hear me Lord!” And, “when it is true, it is also confident: listen to me, I believe you can do it, for you have promised it!”. In fact, Pope Francis explained, “true Christian prayer is founded on God's promise”.
The Pope then turned to the first Reading from Isaiah (29:17-21), which contains God's promise of salvation to his people: “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see”. This passage, the Pope affirmed, is a promise. “It is all a promise, the promise of salvation: I will be with you, I will give you salvation!”. And it is “with this assuredness” that “we tell the Lord what we need, confident that he can do it”.
When we pray, the Lord asks us, as he asked the blind men in the day's Gospel: “Do you believe that I can do this?” This question, the Pope said, is the source of the question we must all ask ourselves: “Am I sure he can do it? Or do I pray a little but without really being sure if he can really do it?” “He can do it,” the Pope said, “even if we do not know when or how he will do it”. “This,” he said, “is the confidence of prayer”.
As concerns our need, it is best, Pope Francis said, to present them “truthfully to the Lord: I am blind, Lord, I am in need, I have this illness, I struggle with this sin, I am in pain”. “In this way,” he said, “he hears our need, but he also hears us confidently asking him for help”.
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis spoke on the theme of prayer on Thursday, saying when we pray it’s a bit like annoying God so that he ...
Dec. 6, 2013
atican Radio) Pope Francis spoke on the theme of prayer on Thursday, saying when we pray it’s a bit like annoying God so that he listens to us. His remarks came during his homily at the morning mass in the Santa Marta guesthouse.
Speaking at Mass, Pope Francis said "prayer has two attitudes: it’s needy and at the same time it’s certain of the fact that God, in his own way and his own time, will answer our need." A person who prays, he continued, "doesn’t fear disturbing God and nourishes a blind faith in His love." The Pope recalled how Jesus himself taught us to pray like the annoying friend who begs for food at midnight or like the widow with the corrupt judge. Another example he quoted was the gospel account of how the lepers approached Jesus, saying to him, “if you want, you can cure us.”
“Maybe this sounds strange,” the Pope said, “but praying is a bit like annoying God so that he listens to us. He stressed the importance of praying with insistence and not giving up after the first few attempts. “Jesus said “ask” but he also said to us, “Knock at the door” and he or she who knocks at the door makes a noise, disturbs or annoys.”
Therefore, Pope Francis continued, “prayer is insisting to the point of annoyance but also with an unshakeable certainty.” Just like the blind people in the Gospel who asked Jesus to be healed and when he asked them if they believed he could cure them, they assured him they did. The Pope concluding by saying that Jesus feels our need when we pray and also feels that we are certain of his help and that we’re speaking the truth about ourselves.
(Vatican Radio) Anyone who utters Christian words without putting them into practice hurts oneself and others, because they are based on pride and cause division ...
Dec. 5, 2013
Vatican Radio) Anyone who utters Christian words without putting them into practice hurts oneself and others, because they are based on pride and cause division in the Church. Those were the Pope’s words during his homily at Mass this Thursday morning at the Casa Santa Martha.
Taking his cue from Thursday’s liturgy, Pope Francis explained that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for knowing the commandments, but not implementing them in their lives.They are " good words," he said, but if they are not put into practice "not only do they not serve us, but they hurt : they deceive us , they make us believe that we have a beautiful home, but without a foundation” .
The Holy Father went on to say that the Lord is our foundation. Our rock is Jesus Christ.Continuing on this theme Pope Francis underlined that “a Christian word without Christ at its centre leads to vanity, to pride, power for the sake of power.” The Lord, said the Pope, breaks down these people who believe themselves to be the Rock.
The Holy Father affirmed during his Homily that we would " do well to examine our own consciences” to see whether our Christian words are indeed Christ centred because when they are not, he said, they divide us from ourselves and divide the Church. Pope Francis concluded his Homily by saying “let us ask the Lord to help in this humility, to speak words rooted in Jesus Christ.
In his homily at Mass on Tuesday, 3 December, Pope Francis spoke about peace and joy. “The word of God,” he began, “speaks to us ...
Dec. 4, 2013
In his homily at Mass on Tuesday, 3 December, Pope Francis spoke about peace and joy. “The word of God,” he began, “speaks to us today of peace and joy. Isaiah in his prophecy (11:1-10) tells us what the day of the Messiah will be like. They will be days of peace, and in the Gospel of Luke (10:21-24), we are able to glimpse a little of Jesus' soul, of Jesus' heart. His is a joyful heart”.
Pope Francis then observed that, while we accustomed to think of Jesus preaching, healing, walking through the streets speaking to people, or even being raised upon the Cross, “we are not accustomed to think of Jesus smiling, or joyful”. However, he said, “Jesus was full of joy”.
Jesus' joy finds its source in intimacy with the Father, Pope Francis said. “His inner joy comes precisely from this relationship with the Father in the Holy Spirit. And this is the joy he gives to us, and this joy is true peace. It is not a static, quiet, tranquil peace: Christian peace is a joyful peace for Jesus is joyful, God is joyful”.
“In the Collect at the beginning of Mass,” he continued, “we asked for the grace of a missionary fervour in order that the Church might rejoice in new children”. “A Church without joy is unthinkable”, the Pope said, since “Jesus has desired that his bride, the Church, be joyful”. “The joy of the Church is to announce the name of Jesus, and to proclaim: My spouse is the Lord, he is God who saves us and accompanies us”.
In this joy of a bride, Pope Francis added, the Church becomes a mother. “Pope Paul VI would say: the joy of the Church is to evangelize” and to communicate this joy “to her children”.
“Thus we understand that the peace of which Isaiah speaks is a peace full of joy, a peace of praise, a peace – we might say – that is loud with praise, a peace that bears fruit in becoming a mother of new children, a peace that comes precisely from the joy of praising the Trinity, and from evangelization, of going out to people to tell them who Jesus is”.
Peace and joy, Pope Francis repeated. This joy, he said, is contained in “Jesus' dogmatic declaration: you have decided to reveal yourself not to the wise may to little ones”. Even in so many serious things, Jesus is joyful, the Church is joyful. She must be joyful. Even in her widowhood the Church is joyful in hope”. “Let us pray” Pope Francis concluded, “that the Lord might give us all this joy”.
(Vatican Radio) The Church must always be joyful like Christ. That was the message of Pope Francis at Mass this morning at the Casa Santa ...
Dec. 3, 2013
Vatican Radio) The Church must always be joyful like Christ. That was the message of Pope Francis at Mass this morning at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope emphasized that the Church is called to transmit the joy of the Lord to her children—a joy that gives true peace.
Peace and joy. Pope Francis’ homily dwelt on these two themes. In the reading from the book of Isaiah, he noted, we see the desire for peace that we all have. It is the peace, says Isaiah, that the Messiah brings to us. In the Gospel, on the other hand, “we are able to see a little into the soul of Jesus, the heart of Jesus: a joyful heart”:
“We always think of Jesus when He preaches, when He heals, when He travels, walks along the street, even during the Last Supper. . . But we aren’t used to thinking about Jesus smiling, joyful. Jesus was full of joy, full of joy. In that intimacy with His Father: ‘I rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and I praised the Father.’ It is precisely the internal mystery of Jesus, that relationship with the Father in the Spirit. It is His internal joy, the interior joy that He gives to us.”
“And this joy,” he said, “is true peace: not a static peace, quiet, tranquil” no, “Christian peace is a joyful peace, because our Lord is joyful.” And, too, He is joyful “when He speaks about the Father: He loves the Father so much that He can’t talk about Him without joy.” Our God, the Pope said, “is joyful.” And Jesus has willed that His spouse, the Church, should also be joyful”:
“You can’t imagine a Church without joy; and the joy of the Church lies precisely in this: to proclaim the name of Jesus. To say: ‘He is the Lord. My spouse is the Lord. He is God. He saves us, He walks with us.’ And that is the joy of the Church, that in this joy of being a bride becomes a mother. Paul VI said: the joy of the Church is precisely to evangelize, to go forth and to speak about her Spouse. And also to transmit that joy to the children that she bears, that she raises.”
And so, he said, let us consider that the peace of which Isaiah speaks “is a peace that is so moving, it is a peace of joy, a peace of praise,” it is a peace that we could say is “noisy, in praise, a peace that bears fruit in becoming a mother of new children.” It is a peace, Pope Francis said, “that comes precisely in the joy of praise for the Trinity, and of evangelization, of going to the people to tell them who Jesus is.” Peace and joy, he repeated. And he pointed to the words of Jesus, “a dogmatic declaration,” when He affirms, “You decided to reveal Yourself not to the wise, but to the little ones”:
“Even in so many serious things, such as this, Jesus is joyful, the Church is joyful. She must be joyful. Even in her widowhood—because the Church has something of the widow who waits for her spouse to come back—even in her widowhood, the Church is joyful in hope. The Lord gives this joy to all of us, this joy of Jesus, praising the Father in the Spirit. This joy of our mother Church in evangelizing, in announcing her Spouse.
Dec. 2, 2013
Vatican Radio) Preparing for Christmas through prayer, charity and exhaltation. With this hope, Pope Francis called on the faithful Monday to open their hearts and allow themselves to encounter the Lord who renews all.
In his homily at the Santa Marta guesthouse on this, the first Monday of Advent, Pope Francis recalled that as we proceed towards Christmas, we embark on a journey of faith and prayer in preparation for our encounter with the Lord. “Because Christmas,” he said, isn’t just a temporal celebration or the memory of a beautiful (event).”
“Christmas is something more,” he said, “Christmas is an encounter” with the Lord. And as we make our way towards Him, we must go with open heart and faith, even though this is not always easy.
Speaking of today’s reading about the Roman centurion, who with great faith begs the Lord to heal his slave, the Pope said we are like this centurion on a pilgrimage of faith “to encounter the Lord and most of all, to allow ourselves to be encountered by Him.”
We must allow ourselves to be encountered by Him, the Pope repeated, to allow Him to enter us. “It is He who makes all new….Christ renews the heart, the soul , life, hope…”
The Lord does not always say to us what we want to hear, noted the Pope, but: He will tell me what is meant for me “because the Lord does not look at us all together, en masse.” “He looks each one of us in the face , in the eyes.” His is not an abstract love; "it is concrete," the Pope said. The Lord looks at me in a personal way. And "letting ourselves be encountered by God means just this: letting ourselves be loved by God!”
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Listen to Christopher Wells' report: