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Monday, June 29, 2015

0413: Reflections on the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis



Entry 0413: Reflections on the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

by Pope Francis (Updated)



On two occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 7 July 2013 and 6 July 2014. Here are the texts of the two brief addresses prior the recitation of the Angelus and a homily delivered on these occasions.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 7 July 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters! Good morning!

First of all I would like to share with you the joy of having met, yesterday and today, a special pilgrimage for the Year of Faith of seminarians and novices. I ask you to pray for them, that love of Christ may always grow in their lives and that they may become true missionaries of the Kingdom of God.

The Gospel this Sunday (Lk 10:1-12, 17-20) speaks to us about this: the fact that Jesus is not a lone missionary, he does not want to fulfill his mission alone, but involves his disciples. And today we see that in addition to the twelve Apostles he calls another 72, and sends them to the villages, two by two, to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. This is very beautiful! Jesus does not want to act alone, he came to bring the love of God into the world and he wants to spread it in the style of communion, in the style of brotherhood. That is why he immediately forms a community of disciples, which is a missionary community. He trains them straight away for the mission, to go forth.

But pay attention: their purpose is not to socialize, to spend time together, no, their purpose is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and this is urgent! And it is still urgent today! There is no time to be lost in gossip, there is no need to wait for everyone’s consensus, what is necessary is to go out and proclaim. To all people you bring the peace of Christ, and if they do not welcome it, you go ahead just the same. To the sick you bring healing, because God wants to heal man of every evil. How many missionaries do this, they sow life, health, comfort to the outskirts of the world. How beautiful it is! Do not live for yourselves, do not live for yourselves, but live to go forth and do good! There are many young people today in the Square: think of this, ask yourselves this: is Jesus calling me to go forth, to come out of myself to do good? To you, young people, to you boys and girls I ask: you, are you brave enough for this, do you have the courage to hear the voice of Jesus? It is beautiful to be missionaries! Ah, you are good! I like this!

These 72 disciples, whom Jesus sent out ahead of him, who were they? Who do they represent? If the Twelve were the Apostles, and also thus represent the Bishops, their successors, these 72 could represent the other ordained ministries, priests and deacons; but more broadly we can think of the other ministries in the Church, of catechists, of the lay faithful who engage in parish missions, of those who work with the sick, with different kinds of disadvantaged and marginalized people; but always as missionaries of the Gospel, with the urgency of the Kingdom that is close at hand. Everyone must be a missionary, everyone can hear that call of Jesus and go forth and proclaim the Kingdom!

The Gospel says that those 72 came back from their mission full of joy, because they had experienced the power of Christ’s Name over evil. Jesus says it: to these disciples He gives the power to defeat the evil one. But he adds: “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Lk 10:20). We should not boast as if we were the protagonists: there is only one protagonist, it is the Lord! The Lord’s grace is the protagonist! He is the one hero! And our joy is just this: to be his disciples, his friends. May Our Lady help us to be good agents of the Gospel.

Dear friends, be glad! Do not be afraid of being joyful! Don’t be afraid of joy! That joy which the Lord gives us when we allow him to enter our life. Let us allow him to enter our lives and invite us to go out to the margins of life and proclaim the Gospel. Don’t be afraid of joy. Have joy and courage!


HOLY MASS WITH SEMINARIANS, NOVICES AND THOSE DISCERNING THEIR VOCATION

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Vatican Basilica, Sunday, 7 July 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting you, and today our joy is even greater, because we have gathered for the Eucharist on the Lord’s Day. You are seminarians, novices, young people on a vocational journey, from every part of the world. You represent the Church’s youth! If the Church is the Bride of Christ, you in a certain sense represent the moment of betrothal, the Spring of vocation, the season of discovery, assessment, formation. And it is a very beautiful season, in which foundations are laid for the future. Thank you for coming!

Today the word of God speaks to us of mission. Where does mission originate? The answer is simple: it originates from a call, the Lord’s call, and when he calls people, he does so with a view to sending them out. How is the one sent out meant to live? What are the reference points of Christian mission? The readings we have heard suggest three: the joy of consolation, the Cross and prayer.

1. The first element: the joy of consolation. The prophet Isaiah is addressing a people that has been through a dark period of exile, a very difficult trial. But now the time of consolation has come for Jerusalem; sadness and fear must give way to joy: “Rejoice ... be glad ... rejoice with her in joy,” says the prophet (66:10). It is a great invitation to joy. Why? What is the reason for this invitation to joy? Because the Lord is going to pour out over the Holy City and its inhabitants a “cascade” of consolation, a veritable overflow of consolation—such that it will be overcome—a cascade of maternal tenderness: “You shall be carried upon her hip and dandled upon her knees” (vv. 12). As when a mother takes her child upon her knee and caresses him or her: so the Lord will do and does with us. This is the cascade of tenderness which gives us much consolation. “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you” (v. 13). Every Christian, and especially you and I, is called to be a bearer of this message of hope that gives serenity and joy: God’s consolation, his tenderness towards all. But if we first experience the joy of being consoled by him, of being loved by him, then we can bring that joy to others. This is important if our mission is to be fruitful: to feel God’s consolation and to pass it on to others! I have occasionally met consecrated persons who are afraid of the consolations of God, and the poor things, they were tormented, because they are of this divine tenderness. But be not afraid. Do not be afraid, because the Lord is the Lord of consolation, he is the Lord of tenderness. The Lord is a Father and he says that he will be for us like a mother with her baby, with a mother’s tenderness. Do not be afraid of the consolations of the Lord. Isaiah’s invitation must resound in our hearts: “Comfort, comfort my people” (40:1) and this must lead to mission. We must find the Lord who consoles us and go to console the people of God. This is the mission. People today certainly need words, but most of all they need us to bear witness to the mercy and tenderness of the Lord, which warms the heart, rekindles hope, and attracts people towards the good. What a joy it is to bring God’s consolation to others!

2. The second reference point of mission is the Cross of Christ. Saint Paul, writing to the Galatians, says: “Far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (6:14). And he speaks of the “marks of Jesus,” that is, the wounds of the crucified Lord, as a countersign, as the distinctive mark of his life as an Apostle of the Gospel. In his ministry Paul experienced suffering, weakness and defeat, but also joy and consolation. This is the Paschal mystery of Jesus: the mystery of death and resurrection. And it was precisely by letting himself be conformed to the death of Jesus that Saint Paul became a sharer in his resurrection, in his victory. In the hour of darkness, in the hour of trial, the dawn of light and salvation is already present and operative. The Paschal mystery is the beating heart of the Church’s mission! And if we remain within this mystery, we are sheltered both from a worldly and triumphalistic view of mission and from the discouragement that can result from trials and failures. Pastoral fruitfulness, the fruitfulness of the Gospel proclamation is measured neither by success nor by failure according to the criteria of human evaluation, but by becoming conformed to the logic of the Cross of Jesus, which is the logic of stepping outside oneself and spending oneself, the logic of love. It is the Cross—always the Cross that is present with Christ, because at times we are offered the Cross without Christ: this has not purpose!—it is the Cross, and always the Cross with Christ, which guarantees the fruitfulness of our mission. And it is from the Cross, the supreme act of mercy and love, that we are reborn as a “new creation” (Gal 6:15).

3. Finally the third element: prayer. In the Gospel we heard: “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, to send out laborers into his harvest” (Lk 10:2). The laborers for the harvest are not chosen through advertising campaigns or appeals of service and generosity, but they are “chosen” and “sent” by God. It is he who chooses, it is he who sends, it is Lord who sends, it is he who gives the mission. For this, prayer is important. The Church, as Benedict XVI has often reiterated, is not ours, but God’s; and how many times do we, consecrated men and women, think that the Church is ours! We make of it something that we invent in our minds. But it is not ours! it is God’s. The field to be cultivated is his. The mission is grace. And if the Apostle is born of prayer, he finds in prayer the light and strength of his action. Our mission ceases to bear fruit, indeed, it is extinguished the moment the link with its source, with the Lord, is interrupted.

Dear seminarians, dear novices, dear young people discerning your vocations. One of you, one of your formators, said to me the other days, “evangelizer, on le fait à genoux” “evangelization is done on one’s knees.” Listen well: “evangelization is done on one’s knees.” Without a constant relationship with God, the mission becomes a job. But for what do you work? As a tailor, a cook a priest, is your job being a priest, being a sister? No. It is not a job, but rather something else. The risk of activism, of relying too much on structures, is an ever-present danger. If we look towards Jesus, we see that prior to any important decision or event he recollected himself in intense and prolonged prayer. Let us cultivate the contemplative dimension, even amid the whirlwind of more urgent and heavy duties. And the more the mission calls you to go out to the margins of existence, let your heart be the more closely united to Christ’s heart, full of mercy and love. Herein lies the secret of pastoral fruitfulness, of the fruitfulness of a disciple of the Lord!

Jesus sends his followers out with no “purse, no bag, no sandals” (Lk 10:4). The spread of the Gospel is not guaranteed either by the number of persons, or by the prestige of the institution, or by the quantity of available resources. What counts is to be permeated by the love of Christ, to let oneself be led by the Holy Spirit and to graft one’s own life onto the tree of life, which is the Lord’s Cross.

Dear friends, with great confidence I entrust you to the intercession of Mary Most Holy. She is the Mother who helps us to take life decisions freely and without fear. May she help you to bear witness to the joy of God’s consolation, without being afraid of joy, she will help you to conform yourselves to the logic of love of the Cross, to grow in ever deeper union with the Lord in prayer. Then your lives will be rich and fruitful! Amen.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St. Peter’s Square, Sunday, 6 July 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

In this Sunday’s Gospel, we find Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). When Jesus says this, he has before him the people he meets every day on the streets of Galilee: very many simple people, the poor, the sick, sinners, those who are marginalized. These people always followed him to hear his word—a word that gave hope! Jesus’ words always give hope!—and even just to touch a hem of his garment. Jesus himself sought out these tired, worn out crowds like sheep without a shepherd (see Mt 9:35-36), and he sought them out to proclaim to them the Kingdom of God and to heal many of them in body and spirit. Now he calls them all to himself: “Come to me,” and he promises them relief and rest.

This invitation of Jesus reaches to our day, and extends to the many brothers and sisters oppressed by life’s precarious conditions, by existential and difficult situations and at times lacking valid points of reference. In the poorest countries, but also on the outskirts of the richest countries, there are so many weary people, worn out under the unbearable weight of neglect and indifference. Indifference: human indifference causes the needy so much pain! And worse, the indifference of Christians! On the fringes of society so many men and women are tried by indigence, but also by dissatisfaction with life and by frustration. So many are forced to emigrate from their homeland, risking their lives. Many more, every day, carry the weight of an economic system that exploits human beings, imposing on them an unbearable “yoke,” which the few privileged do not want to bear. To each of these children of the Father in heaven, Jesus repeats: “Come to me, all of you.” But he also says it to those who have everything, but whose heart is empty and without God. Even to them, Jesus addresses this invitation: “Come to me.” Jesus’ invitation is for everyone. But especially for those who suffer the most.

Jesus promises to give rest to everyone, but he also gives us an invitation, which is like a commandment: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:29). The “yoke” of the Lord consists in taking on the burden of others with fraternal love. Once Christ’s comfort and rest is received, we are called in turn to become rest and comfort for our brothers and sisters, with a docile and humble attitude, in imitation of the Teacher. Docility and humility of heart help us not only to take on the burden of others, but also to keep our personal views, our judgments, our criticism or our indifference from weighing on them.

Let us invoke Mary Most Holy, who welcomes under her mantle all the tired and worn out people, so that through an enlightened faith, witnessed in life, we can offer relief for so many in need of help, of tenderness, of hope

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana



* * * * *


For reflections on the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.




* * * * *

Monday, June 22, 2015

0412: Reflections on the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis



Entry 0412: Reflections on the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

by Pope Francis (Updated)



On two occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 30 June 2013 and 28 June 2015. Here are the texts of the two brief addresses delivered prior the recitation of the Angelus.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 30 June 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

This Sunday’s Gospel Reading (Lk 9:51-62) shows a very important step in Christ’s life: the moment when, as St Luke writes: “He [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem” (9:51). Jerusalem is the final destination where Jesus, at his last Passover, must die and rise again and thus bring his mission of salvation to fulfilment.

From that moment, after that “firm decision” Jesus aimed straight for his goal and in addition said clearly to the people he met and who asked to follow him what the conditions were: to have no permanent dwelling place; to know how to be detached from human affections and not to give in to nostalgia for the past.

Jesus, however, also told his disciples to precede him on the way to Jerusalem and to announce his arrival, but not to impose anything: if the disciples did not find a readiness to welcome him, they should go ahead, they should move on. Jesus never imposes, Jesus is humble, Jesus invites. If you want to, come. The humility of Jesus is like this: he is always inviting but never imposing.

All of this gives us food for thought. It tells us, for example, of the importance which the conscience had for Jesus too: listening in his heart to the Father’s voice and following it. Jesus, in his earthly existence, was not, as it were “remote-controlled:” he was the incarnate Word, the Son of God made man, and at a certain point he made the firm decision to go up to Jerusalem for the last time; it was a decision taken in his conscience, but not alone: together with the Father, in full union with him! He decided out of obedience to the Father and in profound and intimate listening to his will. For this reason, moreover, his decision was firm, because it was made together with the Father. In the Father Jesus found the strength and light for his journey. And Jesus was free, he took that decision freely. Jesus wants us to be Christians, freely as he was, with the freedom which comes from this dialogue with the Father, from this dialogue with God. Jesus does not want selfish Christians who follow their own ego, who do not talk to God. Nor does he want weak Christians, Christians who have no will of their own, “remote-controlled” Christians incapable of creativity, who always seek to connect with the will of someone else and are not free. Jesus wants us free. And where is this freedom created? It is created in dialogue with God in the person’s own conscience. If a Christian is unable to speak with God, if he cannot hear God in his own conscience, he is not free, he is not free.

This is why we must learn to listen to our conscience more. But be careful! This does not mean following my own ego, doing what interests me, what suits me, what I like. It is not this! The conscience is the interior place for listening to the truth, to goodness, for listening to God; it is the inner place of my relationship with him, the One who speaks to my heart and helps me to discern, to understand the way I must take and, once the decision is made, to go forward, to stay faithful.

We have had a marvelous example of what this relationship with God is like, a recent and marvelous example. Pope Benedict XVI gave us this great example when the Lord made him understand, in prayer, what the step was that he had to take. With a great sense of discernment and courage, he followed his conscience, that is, the will of God speaking in his heart. And this example of our Father does such great good to us all, as an example to follow.

Our Lady, in her inmost depths with great simplicity was listening to and meditating on the Word of God and on what was happening to Jesus. She followed her Son with deep conviction and with steadfast hope. May Mary help us to become increasingly men and women of conscience, free in our conscience, because it is in the conscience that dialogue with God takes place; men and women, who can hear God’s voice and follow it with determination, who can listen to God’s voice, and follow it with decision.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 28 June 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today’s Gospel presents the account of the resurrection of a young, 12-year-old girl, the daughter of a one of the leaders of the synagogue, who falls at Jesus’ feet and beseeches him: “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live” (Mk 5:23). In this prayer we hear the concern of every father for the life and well-being of his child. We also hear the great faith which that man has in Jesus. And when news arrives that the little girl is dead, Jesus tells him: “Do not fear, only believe” (v. 36). These words from Jesus give us courage! And He frequently also says them to us: “Do not fear, only believe.” Entering the house, the Lord sends away all those who are weeping and wailing and turns to the dead girl, saying: “Little girl, I say to you, arise” (v. 41). And immediately the little girl rose and began to walk. Here we see Jesus’ absolute power over death, which for Him is like a dream from which one can awaken.

The Evangelist inserts another episode in this account: the healing of a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. Because of this ailment, which, according to the culture of the time, rendered her “impure,” she was forced to avoid all human contact. The poor woman was condemned to a civic death. In the midst of the crowd following Jesus, this unknown woman says to herself: “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well” (v. 28). And thus it happened. The need to be freed urges her to dare and her faith “snatches,” so to speak, healing from the Lord. She who believes “touches” Jesus and draws from Him a saving grace. This is faith: to touch Jesus is to draw from Him the grace that saves. It saves us, it saves our spiritual life, it saves us from so many problems. Jesus notices and, in the midst of the people, looks for the woman’s face. She steps forward trembling and He says to her: “Daughter, your faith has made you well” (v. 34). It is the voice of the heavenly Father who speaks in Jesus: “Daughter, you are not cursed, you are not excluded, you are my child!” And every time Jesus approaches us, when we go forth from Him with faith, we feel this from the Father: “Child, you are my son, you are my daughter! You are healed. I forgive everyone for everything. I heal all people and all things.

These two episodes—a healing and a resurrection—share one core: faith. The message is clear, and it can be summed up in one question: do we believe that Jesus can heal us and can raise us from the dead? The entire Gospel is written in the light of this faith: Jesus is risen, He has conquered death, and by his victory we too will rise again. This faith, which for the first Christians was sure, can tarnish and become uncertain, to the point that some may confuse resurrection with reincarnation. The Word of God this Sunday invites us to live in the certainty of the Resurrection: Jesus is the Lord, Jesus has power over evil and over death, and He wants to lead us to house of the Father, where life reigns. And there we will all meet again, all of us here in this square today, we will meet again in the house of the Father, in the life that Jesus will give us.

The Resurrection of Christ acts in history as the principle of renewal and hope. Anyone who is desperate and tired to death, if he entrusts himself to Jesus and to his love, can begin to live again. And to begin a new life, to change life is a way of rising again, of resurrecting. Faith is a force of life, it gives fullness to our humanity; and those who believe in Christ must acknowledge this in order to promote life in every situation, in order to let everyone, especially the weakest, experience the love of God who frees and saves.

Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, for the gift of a strong and courageous faith, that might urge us to be diffusers of hope and life among our brothers and sisters

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana



* * * * *


For reflections on the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.




* * * * *

Monday, June 15, 2015

0411: Reflections on the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis



Entry 0411: Reflections on the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis (Updated)




On two occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 23 June 2013 and 21 June 2015. Here are the texts of two brief addresses prior the recitation of the Angelus and a homily delivered on these occasions.

POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 23 June 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

In this Sunday’s Gospel resound some of Jesus’ most incisive words: “Whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it” (Lk 9:24).

This is a synthesis of Christ’s message, and it is expressed very effectively in a paradox, which shows us his way of speaking, almost lets us hear his voice. But what does it mean “to lose one’s life for the sake of Jesus”? This can happen in two ways: explicitly by confessing the faith, or implicitly by defending the truth. Martyrs are the greatest example of losing one’s life for Christ. In 2,000 years, a vast host of men and women have sacrificed their lives to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and his Gospel. And today, in many parts of the world, there are many, many—more than in the first centuries—so many martyrs, who give up their lives for Christ, who are brought to death because they do not deny Jesus Christ. This is our Church. Today we have more martyrs than in the first centuries! However, there is also daily martyrdom, which may not entail death but is still a “loss of life” for Christ, by doing one’s duty with love, according to the logic of Jesus, the logic of gift, of sacrifice. Let us think: how many dads and moms every day put their faith into practice by offering up their own lives in a concrete way for the good of the family! Think about this! How many priests, brothers and sisters carry out their service generously for the Kingdom of God! How many young people renounce their own interests in order to dedicate themselves to children, the disabled, the elderly. They are martyrs too! Daily martyrs, martyrs of everyday life!

And then there are many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, who “lose their lives” for truth. And Christ said “I am the truth,” therefore whoever serves the truth serves Christ. One of those who gave his life for the truth is John the Baptist: tomorrow, 24 June, is his great feast, the Solemnity of his birth. John was chosen by God to prepare the way for Jesus, and he revealed him to the people of Israel as the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (see Jn 1:29). John consecrated himself entirely to God and to his envoy, Jesus. But, in the end, what happened? He died for the sake of the truth, when he denounced the adultery of King Herod and Herodias. How many people pay dearly for their commitment to truth! Upright people who are not afraid to go against the current! How many just men prefer to go against the current, so as not to deny the voice of conscience, the voice of truth! And we, we must not be afraid! Among you are many young people. To you young people I say: Do not be afraid to go against the current, when they want to rob us of hope, when they propose rotten values, values like food gone bad—and when food has gone bad, it harms us; these values harm us. We must go against the current! And you young people, are the first: Go against the tide and have the daring to move precisely against the current. Forward, be brave and go against the tide! And be proud of doing so.

Dear friends, let us welcome Jesus’s words with joy. They are a rule of life proposed to everyone. And may St John the Baptist help us put that rule into practice. On this path, as always, our Mother, Mary Most Holy, precedes us: she lost her life for Jesus, at the Cross, and received it in fullness, with all the light and the beauty of the Resurrection. May Mary help us to make ever more our own the logic of the Gospel.


PASTORAL VISIT OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
TO TURIN

ANGELUS

Piazza Vittorio, Sunday, 21 June 2015

At the end of this celebration, our thoughts go to the Virgin Mary, a loving, caring mother towards all her children, whom Jesus entrusted to her as he offered Himself on the Cross in the greatest act of love. An icon of this love is the Shroud, which has again drawn so many people to Turin. The Shroud attracts people to the face and tortured body of Jesus and, at the same time, urges us on toward every person who is suffering and unjustly persecuted. It urges us on in the same direction as Jesus’ gift of love. “The love us Christ urges us on:” these words of St Paul were the motto of Joseph Benedict Cottolengo.

Recalling the apostolic fervor of so many holy priests of this region, starting with Don Bosco, the bicentennial of whose birth we commemorate, with gratitude I greet you, priests and religious. You dedicate yourselves with commitment to pastoral work, and you are close to the people and their problems. I encourage you to carry forward your ministry with joy, always focusing on what is essential to the proclamation of the Gospel. And as I thank you for your presence, Brother Bishops of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, I urge you to stay close to your priests with paternal affection and warm closeness.

To the Holy Virgin, I entrust this city and the surrounding area and those who live therein, that they may be enabled to live in justice, peace and fraternity. In particular, I entrust to her the families, young people, elderly, inmates and all those who suffer, with a special thought for leukaemia patients on today’s National Day Against Leukaemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma. May Mary the Consolatrix, Queen of Turin and Piedmont, make firm your faith, make sure your hope, and make fruitful your charity, that you may be the “salt and light” of this blessed land, of which I am a grandson.


PASTORAL VISIT OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
 TO TURIN

HOMILY 

Piazza Vittorio, Sunday, 21 June 2015

In the Opening Prayer, we prayed: “Give your people, Father, the gift of living always in veneration and love for your Holy Name, so that Your grace may not be deprived from those whom you have established on the rock of your love.” The readings that we have heard show us how God’s love for us is: it is a faithful love, a love that re-creates everything, a stable and secure love.

The Psalm invites us to give thanks to the Lord for “his love is everlasting.” Thus, a faithful love, fidelity: it is a love that does not disappoint, it never fails. Jesus embodies this love, He is the Witness. He never tires of loving us, of supporting us, of forgiving us, and thus He accompanies us on the path of life, according to the promise He made to the disciples: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). Out of love He became man, out of love He died and rose again, and out of love He is always at our side, in the beautiful moments and in the difficult ones. Jesus loves us always, until the end, without limits and without measure. And He loves us all, to the point that each one of us can say: “He gave his life for me.” For me! Jesus’ faithfulness does not fail, even in front of our infidelity. St Paul reminds us of this: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim 2:13).

Jesus remains faithful, even when we have done wrong, and He waits to forgive us: He is the face of the Merciful Father. This is a faithful love.

The second aspect: the love of God re-creates everything, that is He makes all things new, as we are reminded in the Second Reading. To recognize our limits, our weaknesses, is the door that opens the forgiveness of Jesus, to his love that can deeply renew us, that can re-create us. Salvation can enter in the heart when we open ourselves to the truth and recognize our mistakes, our sins; now let us make an experience, that beautiful experience of He who has come not for the healthy, but for the sick, not for the just ones, but the sinners (see Mt 9:12-13); let us experience his patience, his tenderness, his will to save all. And what is the sign? The sign that we have become “new” and that we have been transformed by the love of God is to strip off the worn out and old clothes of grudges and enmities to wear the clean robes of meekness, goodness, service to others, of peace in the heart, of children of God. The spirit of the world is always looking for something new, but it is only the faithfulness of Jesus that is capable of true innovation, of making us new men, of re-creating us.

Finally, the love of God is stable and secure, as the rocky shores that provide shelter from the violence of the waves. Jesus manifests this in the miracle recounted in the Gospel, when He calms the storm, commanding the wind and the sea (see Mk 4:41). The disciples are afraid because they realize that they will not make it, but He opens their hearts to the courage of faith. In front of the man who shouts: “I can’t do it anymore,” the Lord meets him, offers the rock of his love, to which everyone can cling, assured of not falling. How many times we feel that we can’t do it anymore! But He is near us, with his outstretched hand and open heart.

Dear brothers and sisters of Turin and Piedmont, our ancestors knew well what it means to be a “rock,” what “solidarity” means.

Our famous poet gives a beautiful witness: “Straight and true, they are as they appear: square of head, steady of hand and healthy of liver, they speak little but know of what they speak, although they walk slowly, they go far. People who spare not time nor sweat—Our free and headstrong local race—The whole world knows who they are and, when they pass ... the whole world watches them.”

We may ask ourselves if today we are firm on this rock that is the love of God. How do we live God’s faithful love toward us. There is always the risk of forgetting that great love that the Lord has shown us. Even we Christians run the risk of letting ourselves be paralyzed by fears of the future and looking for security in things that pass, or in a model of a closed society that tends to exclude more than include. Many Saints and Blesseds who grew up in this land received the love of God and spread it around the world, free and headstrong Saints. In the footsteps of these witnesses, we too can also live the joy of the Gospel by practicing mercy; we can share the difficulties of so many people, of families, especially those who are weakest and marked by the economic crisis. Families are in need of feeling the Church’s motherly caress to go forward in married life, in the upbringing of children, in the care of the elderly and also in the transmission of the faith to the younger generations.

Do we believe that the Lord is faithful? How do we live the newness of God that transforms us everyday? How do we live the steady love of the Lord, that is placed as a secure barrier against the wakes of pride and false innovation? May the Holy Spirit help us to always be aware of this “rocky” love that makes us stable and strong in the small and great sufferings, may we not close ourselves in front of difficulties, to confront life with courage and look to the future with hope. As in the Sea of Galilee, also today in the sea of our existence, Jesus overcomes the forces of evil and the threats of desperation. The peace that He gives us is for all; also for so many brothers and sisters who flee from war and persecution in search of peace and freedom.

My dear ones, yesterday you celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Consolation, la Consolà, “who is there: low and solid, without pomp: like a good Mother.”

Let us entrust to our Mother the civil and ecclesial path of this earth: May She help us to follow the Lord so that we may be faithful, so as to be renewed and remain firm in love. So be it

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For reflections on the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.




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Monday, June 8, 2015

0410: Reflections on the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis



Entry 0410: Reflections on the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time by Pope 
Francis (Updated)



On two occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 16 June 2013 and 14 June 2015. Here are the texts of two brief addresses prior the recitation of the Angelus and a homily delivered on these occasions.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 16 June 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the end of this Eucharistic Celebration dedicated to the Gospel of Life, I am pleased to recall that yesterday Odardo Focherini, husband and father of seven children, a journalist, was beatified in Carpi. Arrested and incarcerated in hatred of his Catholic faith, he died in the concentration camp of Hersbruck in 1944 at the age of 37. He saved many Jews from Nazi persecution. Together with the Church in Carpi, let us give thanks to God for this witness to the Gospel of Life!

I warmly thank all of you who have come from Rome and from many parts of Italy and of the world, especially the families and those who are more directly involved in the promotion and protection of life.

I cordially greet the 150 members of the Association “Grávida”-Argentina, gathered in the city of Pilar. Thank you so much for what you have done! Have courage and go forward!

Finally, I greet the many participants in the Harley-Davidson motorcycle rally as well as those from the Motoclub Polizia di Stato [State Police Motoclub].

Let us turn now to Our Lady, entrusting all human life, especially the most fragile, helpless and threatened, to her motherly protection.


HOLY MASS FOR “EVANGELIUM VITAE” DAY

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 16 June 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This celebration has a very beautiful name: the Gospel of Life. In this Eucharist, in the Year of Faith, let us thank the Lord for the gift of life in all its forms, and at the same time let us proclaim the Gospel of Life.

On the basis of the word of God which we have heard, I would like to offer you three simple points of meditation for our faith: first, the Bible reveals to us the Living God, the God who is life and the source of life; second, Jesus Christ bestows life and the Holy Spirit maintains us in life; and third, following God’s way leads to life, whereas following idols leads to death.

1. The first reading, taken from the Second Book of Samuel, speaks to us of life and death. King David wants to hide the act of adultery which he committed with the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in his army. To do so, he gives the order that Uriah be placed on the front lines and so be killed in battle. The Bible shows us the human drama in all its reality: good and evil, passion, sin and its consequences. Whenever we want to assert ourselves, when we become wrapped up in our own selfishness and put ourselves in the place of God, we end up spawning death. King David’s adultery is one example of this. Selfishness leads to lies, as we attempt to deceive ourselves and those around us. But God cannot be deceived. We heard how the prophet says to David: “Why have you done evil in the Lord’s sight? (see 2 Sam 12:9). The King is forced to face his deeds of death; what he has done is truly a deed of death, not life! He recognizes what he has done and he begs forgiveness: “I have sinned against the Lord!” (v. 13). The God of mercy, who desires life and always forgives us, now forgives David and restores him to life. The prophet tells him: “The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.”

What is the image we have of God? Perhaps he appears to us as a severe judge, as someone who curtails our freedom and the way we live our lives. But the Scriptures everywhere tell us that God is the Living One, the one who bestows life and points the way to fullness of life. I think of the beginning of the Book of Genesis: God fashions man out of the dust of the earth; he breathes in his nostrils the breath of life, and man becomes a living being (see 2:7). God is the source of life; thanks to his breath, man has life. God’s breath sustains the entire journey of our life on earth. I also think of the calling of Moses, where the Lord says that he is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of the living. When he sends Moses to Pharaoh to set his people free, he reveals his name: “I am who I am,” the God who enters into our history, sets us free from slavery and death, and brings life to his people because he is the Living One. I also think of the gift of the Ten Commandments: a path God points out to us towards a life which is truly free and fulfilling. The commandments are not a litany of prohibitions  —you must not do this, you must not do that, you must not do the other; on the contrary, they are a great “Yes!” a yes to God, to Love, to life. Dear friends, our lives are fulfilled in God alone, because only he is the Living One!

2. Today’s Gospel brings us another step forward. Jesus allows a woman who was a sinner to approach him during a meal in the house of a Pharisee, scandalizing those present. Not only does he let the woman approach but he even forgives her sins, saying: “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Lk 7:47). Jesus is the incarnation of the Living God, the one who brings life amid so many deeds of death, amid sin, selfishness and self-absorption. Jesus accepts, loves, uplifts, encourages, forgives, restores the ability to walk, gives back life. Throughout the Gospels we see how Jesus by his words and actions brings the transforming life of God. This was the experience of the woman who anointed the feet of the Lord with ointment: she felt understood, loved, and she responded by a gesture of love: she let herself be touched by God’s mercy, she obtained forgiveness and she started a new life. God, the Living One, is merciful. Do you agree? Let’s say it together: God, the Living One, is merciful! All together now: God, the Living One, is merciful. Once again: God, the Living One is merciful!

This was also the experience of the Apostle Paul, as we heard in the second reading: “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). What is this life? It is God’s own life. And who brings us this life? It is the Holy Spirit, the gift of the risen Christ. The Spirit leads us into the divine life as true children of God, as sons and daughters in the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Are we open to the Holy Spirit? Do we let ourselves be guided by him? Christians are “spiritual.” This does not mean that we are people who live “in the clouds,” far removed from real life, as if it were some kind of mirage. No! The Christian is someone who thinks and acts in everyday life according to God’s will, someone who allows his or her life to be guided and nourished by the Holy Spirit, to be a full life, a life worthy of true sons and daughters. And this entails realism and fruitfulness. Those who let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit are realists, they know how to survey and assess reality. They are also fruitful; their lives bring new life to birth all around them.

3. God is the Living One, the Merciful One; Jesus brings us the life of God; the Holy Spirit gives and keeps us in our new life as true sons and daughters of God. But all too often, as we know from experience, people do not choose life, they do not accept the “Gospel of Life” but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, because they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others. It is the eternal dream of wanting to build the city of man without God, without God’s life and love —a new Tower of Babel. It is the idea that rejecting God, the message of Christ, the Gospel of Life, will somehow lead to freedom, to complete human fulfilment. As a result, the Living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death. The wisdom of the Psalmist says: “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps 19:8). Let us always remember: the Lord is the Living One, he is merciful. The Lord is the Living One, he is merciful.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us look to God as the God of Life, let us look to his law, to the Gospel message, as the way to freedom and life. The Living God sets us free! Let us say “Yes” to love and not selfishness. Let us say “Yes” to life and not death. Let us say “Yes” to freedom and not enslavement to the many idols of our time. In a word, let us say “Yes” to the God who is love, life and freedom, and who never disappoints (see 1 Jn 4:8; Jn 11:2; Jn 8:32); let us say “Yes” to the God who is the Living One and the Merciful One. Only faith in the Living God saves us: in the God who in Jesus Christ has given us his own life by the gift of the Holy Spirit and has made it possible to live as true sons and daughters of God through his mercy. This faith brings us freedom and happiness. Let us ask Mary, Mother of Life, to help us receive and bear constant witness to the “Gospel of Life.” Amen.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 14 June 2015

Dear brothers and sisters, Good morning!

Today’s Gospel is composed of two very brief parables: that of the seed that sprouts and grows on its own, and that of the mustard seed (see Mk 4:26-34). Through these images taken from the rural world, Jesus presents the efficacy of the Word of God and the requirements of his Kingdom, showing the reasons for our hope and our commitment in history.

In the first parable, attention is placed on the fact that the seed scattered on the ground (v. 26) takes root and develops on its own, regardless of whether the farmer sleeps or keeps watch. He is confident in the inner power of the seed itself and in the fertility of the soil. In the language of the Gospel, the seed is the symbol of the Word of God, whose fruitfulness is recalled in this parable. As the humble seed grows in the earth, so too does the Word by the power of God work in the hearts of those who listen to it. God has entrusted his Word to our earth, that is to each one of us with our concrete humanity. We can be confident because the Word of God is a creative word, destined to become the “full grain in the ear” (v. 28). This Word, if accepted, certainly bears fruit, for God Himself makes it sprout and grow in ways that we cannot always verify or understand. (see v. 27). All this tells us that it is always God, it is always God who makes his Kingdom grow. That is why we fervently pray “thy Kingdom come.” It is He who makes it grow. Man is his humble collaborator, who contemplates and rejoices in divine creative action and waits patiently for its fruits.

The Word of God makes things grow, it gives life. And here, I would like to remind you once again, of the importance of having the Gospel, the Bible, close at hand. A small Gospel in your purse, in your pocket and to nourish yourselves every day with this living Word of God. Read a passage from the Gospel every day, a passage from the Bible. Please don’t ever forget this. Because this is the power that makes the life of the Kingdom of God sprout within us.

The second parable uses the image of the mustard seed. Despite being the smallest of all the seeds, it is full of life and grows until it becomes “the greatest of all shrubs” (Mk 4:32). And thus is the Kingdom of God: a humanly small and seemingly irrelevant reality. To become a part of it, one must be poor of heart; not trusting in their own abilities, but in the power of the love of God; not acting to be important in the eyes of the world, but precious in the eyes of God, who prefers the simple and the humble. When we live like this, the strength of Christ bursts through us and transforms what is small and modest into a reality that leavens the entire mass of the world and of history.

An important lesson comes to us from these two parables: God’s Kingdom requires our cooperation, but it is above all the initiative and gift of the Lord. Our weak effort, seemingly small before the complexity of the problems of the world, when integrated with God’s effort, fears no difficulty. The victory of the Lord is certain: his love will make every seed of goodness present on the ground sprout and grow. This opens us up to trust and hope, despite the tragedies, the injustices, the sufferings that we encounter. The seed of goodness and peace sprouts and develops, because the merciful love of God makes it ripen.

May the Holy Virgin, who like “fertile ground” received the seed of the divine Word, sustain us in this hope which never disappoints

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For reflections on the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.




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Monday, June 1, 2015

0409: Reflections on the Solemnity of the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ by Pope Francis



Entry 0409: Reflections on the Solemnity of the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ  by Pope Francis 
(Updated)



On six occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the solemnity of the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ on 30 May 2013, 2 June 2013, 19 June 2014, 22 June 2014, 4 June 2015, and 7 June 2015. Here are the texts of three addresses prior the recitation of the Angelus and three homilies delivered on these occasions.


HOLY MASS ON THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI

HOMILY OF HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

Basilica of St John Lateran
Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Thursday, 30 May 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the Gospel we have listened to, Jesus says something that I always find striking: “you give them something to eat” (Lk 9:13). Starting with this sentence I am letting myself be guided by three words; following [sequela], communion, sharing.

1. First of all: who are those who must be given something to eat? We find the answer at the beginning of the Gospel passage: it is the crowd, the multitude. Jesus is in the midst of the people, he welcomes them, he speaks to them, he heals them, he shows them God’s mercy; it is from among them that he chooses the Twelve Apostles to be with him and, like him, to immerse themselves in the practical situations of the world. Furthermore the people follow him and listen to him, because Jesus is speaking and behaving in a new way, with the authority of someone who is authentic and consistent, someone who speaks and acts with truth, someone who gives the hope that comes from God, someone who is a revelation of the Face of a God who is love. And the people joyfully bless God.

This evening we are the crowd of the Gospel, we too seek to follow Jesus in order to listen to him, to enter into communion with him in the Eucharist, to accompany him and in order that he accompany us. Let us ask ourselves: how do I follow Jesus? Jesus speaks in silence in the Mystery of the Eucharist. He reminds us every time that following him means going out of ourselves and not making our life a possession of our own, but rather a gift to him and to others.

2. Let us take another step. What does Jesus’ request to the disciples, that they themselves give food to the multitude, come from? It comes from two things: first of all from the crowd, who in following Jesus find themselves in the open air, far from any inhabited areas, while evening is falling; and then from the concern of the disciples who ask Jesus to send the crowd away so that they can go to the neighboring villages to find provisions and somewhere to stay (see Lk 9:12).

Faced with the needs of the crowd the disciples’ solution was this: let each one think of himself—send the crowd away! How often do we Christians have this temptation! We do not take upon ourselves the needs of others, but dismiss them with a pious: “God help you,” or with a not so pious “good luck,” and if I never see you again. But Jesus’ solution goes in another direction, a direction that astonishes the disciples: “You give them something to eat.” Yet how could we be the ones to give a multitude something to eat? “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people” (Lk 9:13). However Jesus does not despair. He asks the disciples to have the people sit down in groups of 50 people. He looks up to heaven, recites the blessing, breaks the bread and fish into pieces and gives them to the disciples to distribute (see Lk 9:16). It is a moment of deep communion: the crowd is satisfied by the word of the Lord and is now nourished by his bread of life. And they were all satisfied, the Evangelist notes (see Lk 9:17).

This evening we too are gathered round the table of the Lord, the table of the Eucharistic sacrifice, in which he once again gives us his Body and makes present the one sacrifice of the Cross. It is in listening to his word, in nourishing ourselves with his Body and his Blood that he moves us on from being a multitude to being a community, from anonymity to communion. The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion that brings us out of individualism so that we may follow him together, living out our faith in him. Therefore we should all ask ourselves before the Lord: how do I live the Eucharist? Do I live it anonymously or as a moment of true communion with the Lord, and also with all the brothers and sisters who share this same banquet? What are our Eucharistic celebrations like?

3. A final element: where does the multiplication of the loaves come from? The answer lies in Jesus’ request to the disciples: “You give them,” “to give,” to share. What do the disciples share? The little they have: five loaves and two fish. However it is those very loaves and fish in the Lord’s hands that feed the entire crowd. And it is the disciples themselves, bewildered as they face the insufficiency of their means, the poverty of what they are able to make available, who get the people to sit down and who—trusting in Jesus’ words—distribute the loaves and fish that satisfy the crowd. And this tells us that in the Church, but also in society, a key word of which we must not be frightened is “solidarity,” that is, the ability to make what we have, our humble capacities, available to God, for only in sharing, in giving, will our life be fruitful. Solidarity is a word seen badly by the spirit of the world!

This evening, once again, the Lord distributes for us the bread that is his Body, he makes himself a gift; and we too experience “God’s solidarity” with man, a solidarity that is never depleted, a solidarity that never ceases to amaze us: God makes himself close to us, in the sacrifice of the Cross he humbles himself, entering the darkness of death to give us his life which overcomes evil, selfishness and death. Jesus, this evening too, gives himself to us in the Eucharist, shares in our journey, indeed he makes himself food, the true food that sustains our life also in moments when the road becomes hard-going and obstacles slow our steps. And in the Eucharist the Lord makes us walk on his road, that of service, of sharing, of giving; and if it is shared, that little we have, that little we are, becomes riches, for the power of God—which is the power of love—comes down into our poverty to transform it.

So let us ask ourselves this evening, in adoring Christ who is really present in the Eucharist: do I let myself be transformed by him? Do I let the Lord who gives himself to me, guide me to going out ever more from my little enclosure, in order to give, to share, to love him and others?

Brothers and sisters, following, communion, sharing. Let us pray that participation in the Eucharist may always be an incentive: to follow the Lord every day, to be instruments of communion and to share what we are with him and with our neighbour. Our life will then be truly fruitful. Amen.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 2 June 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Good morning! Last Thursday we celebrated the Feast of Corpus Christi, which, in Italy and in other countries has been moved to this Sunday. It is the Feast of the Eucharist, the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ.

The Gospel presents to us the account of the miracle of the Multiplication of the Loaves (Lk 9:11-17); I would like to reflect on one aspect of it that never fails to impress me and makes me think. We are on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, daylight is fading. Jesus is concerned for the people who have spent so many hours with him: there are thousands of them and they are hungry. What should he do? The disciples also pose the problem and tell Jesus: “send the crowd away” so that they can go and find provisions in the villages close by. But Jesus says: “You give them something to eat” (v. 13). The disciples are discomfited and answer him: “we have no more than five loaves and two fish,” as if to say, barely enough for ourselves.

Jesus well knows what to do, but he wishes to involve his disciples, he wants to teach them. The disciples’ attitude is the human one that seeks the most realistic solution which does not create too many problems: dismiss the crowd, they say, let each person organize himself as best he can, moreover you have already done so much for them: you have preached, you have healed the sick. Send the crowd away!

Jesus’ outlook is very different; it is dictated by his union with the Father and his compassion for the people, that mercifulness of Jesus for us all. Jesus senses our problems, he senses our weaknesses, he senses our needs. Looking at those five loaves, Jesus thinks: this is Providence! From this small amount, God can make it suffice for everyone. Jesus trusts in the heavenly Father without reserve; he knows that for him everything is possible. Thus he tells his disciples to have the people sit down in groups of 50—this is not merely coincidental, for it means that they are no longer a crowd but become communities nourished by God’s bread. Jesus then takes those loaves and fish, looks up to heaven, recites the blessing—the reference to the Eucharist is clear—and breaks them and gives them to the disciples who distribute them, and the loaves and fish do not run out, they do not run out! This is the miracle: rather than a multiplication it is a sharing, inspired by faith and prayer. Everyone eats and some is left over: it is the sign of Jesus, the Bread of God for humanity.

The disciples witnessed the message but failed to understand it. Like the crowd they are swept up by enthusiasm for what has occurred. Once again they follow human logic rather than God’s, which is that of service, love and faith. The Feast of Corpus Christi asks us to convert to faith in Providence, so that we may share the little we are and have, and never to withdraw into ourselves. Let us ask our Mother Mary to help us in this conversion, in order to follow truly and more closely the Jesus whom we adore in the Eucharist. So may it be.


HOLY MASS ON THE SOLEMNITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Saint John Lateran Square
 Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Thursday, 19 June 2014

“The Lord your God ... fed you with manna, which you did not know” (Dt 8:2-3).

These words from Deuteronomy make reference to the history of the Israelites, whom God led out of Egypt, out of slavery, and for 40 years led through the desert toward the promised land. Once established on the land, the Chosen People attain a certain autonomy, a certain wellbeing, and run the risk of forgetting the harrowing events of the past, overcome thanks to God’s intervention and to his infinite goodness. And so the Scriptures urge the people to recall, to remember, to memorize, the entire walk through the desert, in times of famine and desperation. The command of Moses is to return to the basics, to the experience of total dependence on God, when survival was placed in his hands, so the people would understand that “man does not live by bread alone, but that man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord” (Dt 8:3).

Besides physical hunger, man experiences another hunger, a hunger that cannot be satiated with ordinary food. It’s a hunger for life, a hunger for love, a hunger for eternity. And the sign of mannalike the entire experience of Exodus—also contains in itself this dimension: it was the symbol of a food that satisfies this deep human hunger. Jesus gives us this food, rather, He himself is the living bread that gives life to the world (see Jn 6:51). His Body is the true food in the form of bread; his Blood is the true drink in the form of wine. It isn’t simple nourishment to satisfy the body, like manna; the Body of Christ is the bread of the last times, capable of giving life, eternal life, because this bread is made of love.

The Eucharist communicates the Lord’s love for us: a love so great that it nourishes us with Himself; a freely given love, always available to every person who hungers and needs to regenerate his own strength. To live the experience of faith means to allow oneself to be nourished by the Lord and to build one’s own existence not with material goods but with the reality that does not perish: the gifts of God, his Word and his Body.

If we look around, we realize that there are so many offers of food which do not come from the Lord and which appear to be more satisfying. Some nourish themselves with money, others with success and vanity, others with power and pride. But the food that truly nourishes and satiates us is only that which the Lord gives us! The food the Lord offers us is different from other food, and perhaps it doesn’t seem as flavorful to us as certain other dishes the world offers us. So we dream of other dishes, like the Hebrews in the desert, who longed for the meat and onions they ate in Egypt, but forgot that they had eaten those meals at the table of slavery. In those moments of temptation, they had a memory, but a sick memory, a selective memory. A slave memory, not a free one.

We, today, may ask ourselves: what about me? Where do I want to eat? At which table to I want to be nourished? At the Lord’s table? Or do I dream about eating flavorful foods, but in slavery? Moreover, we may ask ourselves: what do I recall? The Lord who saves me, or the garlic and onions of slavery? Which recollection satiates my soul?

The Father tells us: “I fed you with manna, which you did not know.” Let us recover this memory. This is the task, to recover that memory. And let us learn to recognize the false bread that deceives and corrupts, because it comes from selfishness, from self-reliance and from sin.

Soon, in the procession, we will follow Jesus truly present in the Eucharist. The Host is our manna, through which the Lord gives himself to us. We turn to Him with faith: Jesus, defend us from the temptation of worldly food which enslaves us, tainted food; purify our memory, so it isn’t imprisoned in selfish and worldly selectivity, but that it may be a living memory of your presence throughout the history of your people, a memory that makes a “monument” of your gesture of redeeming love. Amen.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St. Peter’s Square, Sunday, 22 June 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ is being celebrated this Sunday in Italy and in many other Countries, often using the Latin terms—Corpus Domini or Corpus Christi. The ecclesial community gathers around the Eucharist to adore the most precious treasure that Jesus left us.

The Gospel of John presents the discourse on the “bread of life,” held by Jesus in the Synagogue of Capernaum, in which he affirms, “I am the living bread come down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (Jn 6:51). Jesus underlines that he has not come into this world to give something, but to give himself, his life, as nourishment for those who have faith in Him. This our communion with the Lord obliges us, his disciples, to imitate him, making our existence, through our behavior, bread broken for others, as the Teacher has broken the bread that is truly his flesh. Instead, this means for us generous conduct towards our neighbour thereby demonstrating the attitude of giving life for others.

Every time that we participate in Holy Mass and we are nourished by the Body of Christ, the presence of Jesus and of the Holy Spirit acts in us, shaping our hearts, communicating an interior disposition to us that translates into conduct according to the Gospel. Above all, docility to the Word of God, then fraternity amongst ourselves, the courage of Christian witness, creative charity, the capacity to give hope to the disheartened, to welcome the excluded. In this way the Eucharist fosters a mature Christian lifestyle. The charity of Christ, welcomed with an open heart, changes us, transforms us, renders us capable of loving not according to human measure, always limited, but according to the measure of God. And what is the measure of God? Without measure! The measure of God is without measure. Everything! Everything! Everything! It’s impossible to measure the love of God: it is without measure! And so we become capable of loving even those who do not love us: and this is not easy. To love someone who doesn’t love us. It’s not easy! Because if we know that a person doesn’t like us, then we also tend to bear ill will. But no! We must love even someone who doesn’t love us! Opposing evil with good, with pardon, with sharing, with welcome. Thanks to Jesus and to his Spirit, even our life becomes “bread broken” for our brothers. And living like this we discover true joy! The joy of making of oneself a gift, of reciprocating the great gift that we have first received, without merit of our own. This is beautiful: our life is made a gift! This is to imitate Jesus. I wish to remind you of these two things. First: the measure of God’s love is love without measure. Is this clear? And our life, with the love of Jesus, received in the Eucharist, is made a gift. As was the life of Jesus. Don’t forget these two things: the measure of the love of God is love without measure. And following Jesus, we, with the Eucharist, make of our life a gift.

Jesus, Bread of eternal life, came down from heaven and was made flesh thanks to the faith of Mary Most Holy. After having borne him with ineffable love in herself, she followed him faithfully unto the Cross and to the resurrection. Let us ask Our Lady to help us rediscover the beauty of the Eucharist, to make it the centre of our life, especially at Sunday Mass and in adoration.


HOLY MASS, PROCESSION TO SAINT MARY MAJOR AND EUCHARISTIC BLESSING
ON THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

Saint John Lateran Square, Thursday, 4 June 2015

We heard: how at the [Last] Supper Jesus gives his Body and his Blood through the bread and wine, to leave us the memorial of his sacrifice of infinite love. And with this “Viaticum” filled with grace, the disciples had everything necessary for their journey through history, to extend to all the Kingdom of God. The gift that Jesus made of himself, by his voluntary immolation on the Cross, will be light and strength for them. And this Bread of Life has come down to us! The Church’s amazement at this reality is unending. An astonishment which always feeds contemplation, adoration, and memory. This is shown to us by a really beautiful text from today’s Liturgy, the Responsory to the Second Reading from the Office of Readings, which reads: “See in this bread the body of Christ which hung upon the cross, and in this cup the blood which flowed from his side. Take his body, then, and eat it; take his blood and drink it, and you will become his members. The body of Christ is the bond which unites you to him: eat it, or you will have no part in him. The blood is the price he paid for your redemption: drink it, lest you despair of your sinfulness.

There is a danger, there is a threat: to have no part in him, to despair. What does it mean today, this “to have no part in him” and “to despair”?

We have no part in him when we are not docile to the Word of the Lord, when we do not live in fraternity among ourselves, when we compete for first place—climbers—when we do not find the courage to witness to charity, when we are incapable of offering hope. This is when we have no part in him. The Eucharist enables us to abide in him, for it is the bond which unites us to him, it is the fulfillment of the Covenant, the living sign of the love of Christ who humbled and lowered himself in order that we remain united. Participating in the Eucharist and being nourished of him, we are included in a journey which admits no division. Christ present in our midst, in the sign of the bread and wine, demands that the power of love overcome every laceration, and at the same time that it also become communion with the poorest, support for the weak, fraternal attention to those who have difficulty in bearing the weight of daily life, and are in danger of losing their faith.

And then the other phrase: what does it mean for us today to “despair,” or to water down our Christian dignity? It means allowing ourselves to be undermined by the idolatries of our time: appearances, consumerism, egocentrism; but also competitiveness, arrogance as a winning attitude, never admitting to mistakes or to being in need. All this leads us to despair, making us mediocre Christians, lukewarm, bland, pagans.

Jesus poured out his Blood as the price and the laver, so that we might be purified of all sin: not to lose hope, let us look to Him, drink at his font, to be shielded from the risk of corruption. Then we will feel the grace of transformation: we will always be poor sinners, but the Blood of Christ will free us from our sins and restore our dignity. It will free us from corruption. Not by our merit, with sincere humility, we will be able to bring our brothers the love of our Lord and Savior. We will be his eyes which go in search of Zacchaeus and Mary Magdalene; we will be his hand which soothes those who are sick in body and spirit; we will be his heart which loves those in need of reconciliation, mercy and understanding.

Thus the Eucharist fulfills the Covenant which sanctifies us, purifies us and unites us in worthy communion with God. Thus we learn that the Eucharist is not a prize for the good, but is strength for the weak, for sinners. It is forgiveness, it is the Viaticum that helps us to move forward, to walk.

Today, the Feast of Corpus Christi, we have the joy not only to celebrate this mystery, but also to praise it and sing it through the streets of our City. May the procession we will make at the end of Mass express our gratitude for the whole journey that God has made us travel through the desert of our poverty, to deliver us from servitude, nourishing us with his Love through the Sacrament of his Body and his Blood.

Soon, while we walk along the street, we will feel we are in communion with so many of our brothers and sisters who do not have the freedom to express their faith in the Lord Jesus. Let us feel united with them: let us sing with them, praise with them, adore with them. And let us venerate in our heart those brothers and sisters of whom the supreme sacrifice was demanded for faithfulness to Christ: may their blood united with the Lord’s be a pledge of peace and reconciliation for the entire world.

And let us not forget: “The body of Christ is the bond which unites you to him: eat it, or you will have no part in him. The blood is the price he paid for your redemption: drink it, lest you despair of your sinfulness.”


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 7 June 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today in many countries, including Italy, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ or, according to the well known Latin expression, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.

The Gospel presents the narrative of the institution of the Eucharist, performed by Jesus during the Last Supper in the Upper Room in Jerusalem. On the eve of his redeeming death on the Cross, He fulfilled what had been foretold: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. ... He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (Jn 6:51, 56). Jesus takes the bread in his hands and says “Take; this is my body” (Mk 14:22). With this gesture and with these words, He assigns to the bread a function which is no longer simply that of physical nutrition, but that of making his Person present in the midst of the community of believers.

The Last Supper represents the culmination of Christ’s entire life. It is not only the anticipation of his sacrifice which will be rendered on the Cross, but also the synthesis of a life offered for the salvation of the whole of humanity. Therefore, it is not enough to state that Jesus is present in the Eucharist, but one must see in it the presence of a life given and partake in it. When we take and eat that Bread, we are associated into the life of Jesus, we enter into communion with Him, we commit to achieve communion among ourselves, to transform our life into a gift, especially to the poorest.

Today’s feast evokes this message of solidarity and urges us to welcome the intimate invitation to conversion and to service, love and forgiveness. It urges us to become, with our life, imitators of that which we celebrate in the Liturgy. The Christ, who nourishes us under the consecrated species of bread and wine, is the same One who comes to us in the everyday happenings; He is in the poor person who holds out his hand, in the suffering one who begs for help, in the brother or sister who asks for our availability and awaits our welcome. He is in the child who knows nothing about Jesus or salvation, who does not have faith. He is in every human being, even the smallest and the defenseless.

The Eucharist, source of love for the life of the Church, is the school of charity and solidarity. Those who are nourished by the Bread of Christ cannot remain indifferent to those who do not have their daily bread. Today, we know it is an ever more serious problem.

May the Feast of Corpus Christi increasingly inspire and nurture in each one of us the desire and commitment for a welcoming and supportive society. Let us pour these hopes into the heart of the Virgin Mary, Eucharistic Woman. May she kindle in all the joy of participating in the Holy Mass, especially on Sundays, and the joyful courage to testify to the infinite love of Christ

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For reflections on the Solemnity of the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ 

 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.




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