Pope Francis

 

Pope Francis General Audience

 

 

Celebration of Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis
Saint Peter’s Basilica
Sunday, 5 April 2020

Jesus “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil 2:7).  Let us allow these words of the Apostle Paul to lead us into these holy days, when the word of God, like a refrain, presents Jesus as servant: on Holy Thursday, he is portrayed as the servant who washes the feet of his disciples; on Good Friday, he is presented as the suffering and victorious servant (cf. Is 52:13); and tomorrow we will hear the prophecy of Isaiah about him: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold” (Is 42:1).  God saved us by serving us.  We often think we are the ones who serve God.  No, he is the one who freely chose to serve us, for he loved us first.  It is difficult to love and not be loved in return.  And it is even more difficult to serve if we do not let ourselves be served by God.
But how did the Lord serve us?  By giving his life for us.  We are dear to him; we cost him dearly.  Saint Angela of Foligno said she once heard Jesus say: “My love for you is no joke”.  His love for us led him to sacrifice himself and to take upon himself our sins.  This astonishes us: God saved us by taking upon himself all the punishment of our sins.  Without complaining, but with the humility, patience and obedience of a servant, and purely out of love.  And the Father upheld Jesus in his service.  He did not take away the evil that crushed him, but rather strengthened him in his suffering so that our evil could be overcome by good, by a love that loves to the very end.
The Lord served us to the point of experiencing the most painful situations of those who love: betrayal and abandonment.
Betrayal.  Jesus suffered betrayal by the disciple who sold him and by the disciple who denied him.  He was betrayed by the people who sang hosanna to him and then shouted: “Crucify him!” (Mt 27:22).  He was betrayed by the religious institution that unjustly condemned him and by the political institution that washed its hands of him.  We can think of all the small or great betrayals that we have suffered in life.  It is terrible to discover that a firmly placed trust has been betrayed.  From deep within our heart a disappointment surges up that can even make life seem meaningless.  This happens because we were born to be loved and to love, and the most painful thing is to be betrayed by someone who promised to be loyal and close to us.  We cannot even imagine how painful it was for God who is love.
Let us look within.  If we are honest with ourselves, we will see our infidelities.  How many falsehoods, hypocrisies and duplicities!  How many good intentions betrayed!  How many broken promises!  How many resolutions left unfulfilled!  The Lord knows our hearts better than we do.  He knows how weak and irresolute we are, how many times we fall, how hard it is for us to get up and how difficult it is to heal certain wounds.  And what did he do in order to come to our aid and serve us?  He told us through the Prophet: “I will heal their faithlessness; I will love them deeply” (Hos 14:5).  He healed us by taking upon himself our infidelity and by taking from us our betrayals.  Instead of being discouraged by the fear of failing, we can now look upon the crucifix, feel his embrace, and say: “Behold, there is my infidelity, you took it, Jesus, upon yourself.  You open your arms to me, you serve me with your love, you continue to support me… And so I will keep pressing on”.
Abandonment.  In today’s Gospel, Jesus says one thing from the Cross, one thing alone: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46).  These are powerful words.  Jesus had suffered the abandonment of his own, who had fled.  But the Father remained for him.  Now, in the abyss of solitude, for the first time he calls him by the generic name “God”.  And “in a loud voice” he asks the most excruciating question “why”: “Why did you too abandon me?”.  These words are in fact those of a Psalm (cf. 22:2); they tell us that Jesus also brought the experience of extreme desolation to his prayer.  But the fact remains that he himself experienced that desolation: he experienced the utmost abandonment, which the Gospels testify to by quoting his very words: Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?
Why did all this take place?  Once again, it was done for our sake, to serve us.  So that when we have our back to the wall, when we find ourselves at a dead end, with no light and no way of escape, when it seems that God himself is not responding, we should remember that we are not alone.  Jesus experienced total abandonment in a situation he had never before experienced in order to be one with us in everything.  He did it for me, for you, to say to us: “Do not be afraid, you are not alone.  I experienced all your desolation in order to be ever close to you”.  That is the extent to which Jesus served us: he descended into the abyss of our most bitter sufferings, culminating in betrayal and abandonment.  Today, in the tragedy of a pandemic, in the face of the many false securities that have now crumbled, in the face of so many hopes betrayed, in the sense of abandonment that weighs upon our hearts, Jesus says to each one of us: “Courage, open your heart to my love.  You will feel the consolation of God who sustains you”.
Dear brothers and sisters, what can we do in comparison with God, who served us even to the point of being betrayed and abandoned?  We can refuse to betray him for whom we were created, and not abandon what really matters in our lives.  We were put in this world to love him and our neighbours.  Everything else passes away, only this remains.  The tragedy we are experiencing summons us to take seriously the things that are serious, and not to be caught up in those that matter less; to rediscover that life is of no use if not used to serve others.  For life is measured by love.  So, in these holy days, in our  homes, let us stand before the Crucified One, the fullest measure of God’s love for us, and before the God who serves us to the point of giving his life, and let us ask for the grace to live in order to serve.  May we reach out to those who are suffering and those most in need.  May we not be concerned about what we lack, but what good we can do for others.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold.  The Father, who sustained Jesus in his Passion also supports us in our efforts to serve.  Loving, praying, forgiving, caring for others, in the family and in society: all this can certainly be difficult.  It can feel like a via crucis.  But the path of service is the victorious and lifegiving path by which we were saved.  I would like to say this especially to young people, on this Day which has been dedicated to them for thirty-five years now.  Dear friends, look at the real heroes who come to light in these days: they are not famous, rich and successful people; rather, they are those who are giving themselves in order to serve others.  Feel called yourselves to put your lives on the line.  Do not be afraid to devote your life to God and to others; it pays!  For life is a gift we receive only when we give ourselves away, and our deepest joy comes from saying yes to love, without ifs and buts.  As Jesus did for us.
 

 

On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”* The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?” (Mark 4: 35–41)
 
Homily of Pope Francis, March 27, 2020 (español):
 

“When evening had come” (Mk 4:35).  The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this.  For weeks now it has been evening.  Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away.  We find ourselves afraid and lost.  Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm.  We have realised that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.  On this boat… are all of us.  Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “We are perishing” (v. 38), so we too have realised that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.

It is easy to recognise ourselves in this story.  What is harder to understand is Jesus’ attitude.  While His disciples are quite naturally alarmed and desperate, He stands in the stern, in the part of the boat that sinks first.  And what does he do?  In spite of the tempest, He sleeps on soundly, trusting in the Father; this is the only time in the Gospels we see Jesus sleeping.  When He wakes up, after calming the wind and the waters, He turns to the disciples in a reproaching voice: “Why are you afraid?  Have you no faith?” (v. 40).  

Let us try to understand.  In what does the lack of the disciples’ faith consist, as contrasted with Jesus’ trust?  They had not stopped believing in Him; in fact, they called on Him.  But we see how they call on him: “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” (v. 38).  Do you not care: they think that Jesus is not interested in them, does not care about them.  One of the things that hurts us and our families most when we hear it said is: “Do you not care about me?”  It is a phrase that wounds and unleashes storms in our hearts.  It would have shaken Jesus too.  Because He, more than anyone, cares about us.  Indeed, once they have called on Him, He saves His disciples from their discouragement.  

The storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities.  It shows us how we have allowed to become dull and feeble the very things that nourish, sustain and strengthen our lives and our communities.  The tempest lays bare all our prepackaged ideas and forgetfulness of what nourishes our people’s souls; all those attempts that anaesthetise us with ways of thinking and acting that supposedly “save” us, but instead prove incapable of putting us in touch with our roots and keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us.  We deprive ourselves of the antibodies we need to confront adversity.

In this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about our image, has fallen away, uncovering once more that (blessed) common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters.

“Why are you afraid?  Have you no faith?”  Lord, your word this evening strikes us and regards us, all of us.  In this world, that you love more than we do, we have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything.  Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste.  We did not stop at your reproach to us, we were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet.  We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick.  Now that we are in a stormy sea, we implore you: “Wake up, Lord!”. 

“Why are you afraid?  Have you no faith?”  Lord, you are calling to us, calling us to faith.  Which is not so much believing that you exist, but coming to you and trusting in you.  This Lent your call reverberates urgently: “Be converted!”, “Return to me with all your heart” (Joel 2:12).  You are calling on us to seize this time of trial as a time of choosing.  It is not the time of your judgement, but of our judgement: a time to choose what matters and what passes away, a time to separate what is necessary from what is not.  It is a time to get our lives back on track with regard to you, Lord, and to others.  We can look to so many exemplary companions for the journey, who, even though fearful, have reacted by giving their lives.  This is the force of the Spirit poured out and fashioned in courageous and generous self-denial.  It is the life in the Spirit that can redeem, value and demonstrate how our lives are woven together and sustained by ordinary people – often forgotten people – who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines nor on the grand catwalks of the latest show, but who without any doubt are in these very days writing the decisive events of our time: doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves.  In the face of so much suffering, where the authentic development of our peoples is assessed, we experience the priestly prayer of Jesus: “That they may all be one” (Jn 17:21).  How many people every day are exercising patience and offering hope, taking care to sow not panic but a shared responsibility. How many fathers, mothers, grandparents and teachers are showing our children, in small everyday gestures, how to face up to and navigate a crisis by adjusting their routines, lifting their gaze and fostering prayer.  How many are praying, offering and interceding for the good of all.  Prayer and quiet service: these are our victorious weapons.

“Why are you afraid?  Have you no faith”?  Faith begins when we realise we are in need of salvation.  We are not self-sufficient; by ourselves we founder: we need the Lord, like ancient navigators needed the stars.  Let us invite Jesus into the boats of our lives. Let us hand over our fears to him so that he can conquer them.  Like the disciples, we will experience that with Him on board there will be no shipwreck.  Because this is God’s strength: turning to the good everything that happens to us, even the bad things. He brings serenity into our storms, because with God life never dies.

The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering.  The Lord awakens so as to reawaken and revive our Easter faith.  We have an anchor: by His cross we have been saved.  We have a rudder: by His cross we have been redeemed. We have a hope: by His cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love.  In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side.  The Lord asks us from his cross to rediscover the life that awaits us, to look towards those who look to us, to strengthen, recognise and foster the grace that lives within us.  Let us not quench the wavering flame (cf. Is 42:3) that never falters, and let us allow hope to be rekindled.

Embracing His cross means finding the courage to embrace all the hardships of the present time, abandoning for a moment our eagerness for power and possessions in order to make room for the creativity that only the Spirit is capable of inspiring. It means finding the courage to create spaces where everyone can recognise that they are called, and to allow new forms of hospitality, fraternity and solidarity.  By His cross we have been saved in order to embrace hope and let it strengthen and sustain all measures and all possible avenues for helping us protect ourselves and others.  Embracing the Lord in order to embrace hope: that is the strength of faith, which frees us from fear and gives us hope.

“Why are you afraid?  Have you no faith”?  Dear brothers and sisters, from this place that tells of Peter’s rock-solid faith, I would like this evening to entrust all of you to the Lord, through the intercession of Mary, Health of the People and Star of the stormy Sea.  From this colonnade that embraces Rome and the whole world, may God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace.  Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts.  You ask us not to be afraid.  Yet our faith is weak and we are fearful.  But you, Lord, will not leave us at the mercy of the storm.  Tell us again: “Do not be afraid” (Mt 28:5).  And we, together with Peter, “cast all our anxieties onto you, for you care about us” (cf. 1 Pet 5:7).

 

 

 

 

URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE 
OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

EASTER 2019

Central loggia of the Vatican Basilica 
Easter, 21 April 2019

[Multimedia]


 

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Happy Easter!

Today the Church renews the proclamation made by the first disciples: “Jesus is risen!” And from mouth to mouth, from heart to heart, there resounds a call to praise: “Alleluia, Alleluia!” On this morning of Easter, the perennial youth of the Church and of humanity as a whole, I would like to address each of you in the opening words of my recent Apostolic Exhortation devoted especially to young people:

“Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world. Everything he touches becomes young, new, full of life. The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive! He is in you, he is with you and he never abandons you. However far you may wander, he is always there, the Risen One. He calls you and he waits for you to return to him and start over again. When you feel you are growing old out of sorrow, resentment or fear, doubt or failure, he will always be there to restore your strength and your hope” (Christus Vivit, 1-2).

Dear brothers and sisters, this message is also addressed to every person in the world. The resurrection of Christ is the principle of new life for every man and every woman, for true renewal always begins from the heart, from the conscience. Yet Easter is also the beginning of the new world, set free from the slavery of sin and death: the world open at last to the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of love, peace and fraternity.

Christ is alive and he remains with us. Risen, he shows us the light of his face, and he does not abandon all those experiencing hardship, pain and sorrow. May he, the Living One, be hope for the beloved Syrian people, victims of an ongoing conflict to which we risk becoming ever more resigned and even indifferent. Now is instead the time for a renewed commitment for a political solution able to respond to people’s legitimate hopes for freedom, peace and justice, confront the humanitarian crisis and favour the secure re-entry of the homeless, along with all those who have taken refuge in neighbouring countries, especially Lebanon and Jordan.

Easter makes us keep our eyes fixed on the Middle East, torn by continuing divisions and tensions. May the Christians of the region patiently persevere in their witness to the Risen Lord and to the victory of life over death. I think in particular of the people of Yemen, especially the children, exhausted by hunger and war. May the light of Easter illumine all government leaders and peoples in the Middle East, beginning with Israelis and Palestinians, and spur them to alleviate such great suffering and to pursue a future of peace and stability.

May conflict and bloodshed cease in Libya, where defenceless people are once more dying in recent weeks and many families have been forced to abandon their homes. I urge the parties involved to choose dialogue over force and to avoid reopening wounds left by a decade of conflicts and political instability.

May the Living Christ grant his peace to the entire beloved African continent, still rife with social tensions, conflicts and at times violent forms of extremism that leave in their wake insecurity, destruction and death, especially in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon. I think too of Sudan, presently experiencing a moment of political uncertainty; it is my hope that all voices will be heard, and that everyone will work to enable the country to find the freedom, development and well-being to which it has long aspired.

May the Risen Lord accompany the efforts of the civil and religious authorities of South Sudan, sustained by the fruits of the spiritual retreat held several days ago here in the Vatican. May a new page open in the history of that country, in which all political, social and religious components actively commit themselves to the pursuit of the common good and the reconciliation of the nation.

May this Easter bring comfort to the people of the eastern regions of Ukraine, who suffer from the continuing conflict. May the Lord encourage initiatives of humanitarian aid and those aimed at pursuing a lasting peace.

May the joy of the resurrection fill the hearts of those who on the American continent are experiencing the effects of difficult political and economic situations. I think in particular of the Venezuelan people, of all those who lack the minimal conditions for leading a dignified and secure life due to a crisis that endures and worsens. May the Lord grant that all those with political responsibilities may work to end social injustices, abuses and acts of violence, and take the concrete steps needed to heal divisions and offer the population the help they need.

May the Risen Lord shed his light on the efforts made in Nicaragua to find as rapidly as possible a peaceful negotiated solution for the benefit of the entire Nicaraguan people.

Before the many sufferings of our time, may the Lord of life not find us cold and indifferent. May he make us builders of bridges, not walls. May the One who gives us his peace end the roar of arms, both in areas of conflict and in our cities, and inspire the leaders of nations to work for an end to the arms race and the troubling spread of weaponry, especially in the economically more advanced countries. May the Risen Christ, who flung open the doors of the tomb, open our hearts to the needs of the disadvantaged, the vulnerable, the poor, the unemployed, the marginalized, and all those who knock at our door in search of bread, refuge, and the recognition of their dignity.

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is alive! He is hope and youth for each of us and for the entire world. May we let ourselves be renewed by him! Happy Easter!


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with sorrow and heartache that I received the news of the grave attacks that today, the very day of Easter, have brought grief and sorrow to several churches and other gathering places in Sri Lanka. I wish to show my heartfelt closeness to the Christian community, struck while gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence. I entrust to the Lord those who were tragically killed and I pray for the wounded and all those suffering from this tragic event.

I renew my Easter greetings to all of you, who come from Italy and from various countries, as well as those joining us through television, radio and other means of communication. On this subject, I would like to recall that 70 years ago, on Easter Sunday 1949, a Pope spoke for the first time on television. The Venerable Pius xii addressed French television viewers, emphasizing that the gaze of the Successor of Peter and of the faithful could also meet via a new means of communication. This anniversary provides me the opportunity to encourage Christian communities to use all the tools that technology makes available to proclaim the Good News of the Risen Christ, in order to communicate with each other rather than just contact each other.

Enlightened by the Light of Easter, let us bring the essence of the Risen Christ to the loneliness, the misery, the pain of so many of our brothers and sisters, overturning the stone of indifference. In this Square, the joy of the Resurrection is symbolized by the flowers which, this year too, come from the Netherlands, whereas those in Saint Peter’s Basilica are from Slovenia. A great, special thanks to the donors of these splendid floral gifts.

And do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your Easter lunch! Arrivederci!

 

 

 

 

 

EASTER VIGIL IN THE HOLY NIGHT OF EASTER

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS

Vatican Basilica
Holy Saturday, 20 April 2019

[Multimedia]


 

1. The women bring spices to the tomb, but they fear that their journey is in vain, since a large stone bars the entrance to the sepulcher. The journey of those women is also our own journey; it resembles the journey of salvation that we have made this evening. At times, it seems that everything comes up against a stone: the beauty of creation against the tragedy of sin; liberation from slavery against infidelity to the covenant; the promises of the prophets against the listless indifference of the people. So too, in the history of the Church and in our own personal history. It seems that the steps we take never take us to the goal. We can be tempted to think that dashed hope is the bleak law of life.

Today however we see that our journey is not in vain; it does not come up against a tombstone. A single phrase astounds the woman and changes history: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Lk 24:5). Why do you think that everything is hopeless, that no one can take away your own tombstones? Why do you give into resignation or failure? Easter, brothers and sisters, is the feast of tombstones taken away, rocks rolled aside. God takes away even the hardest stones against which our hopes and expectations crash: death, sin, fear, worldliness. Human history does not end before a tombstone, because today it encounters the “living stone” (cf. 1 Pet 2:4), the risen Jesus. We, as Church, are built on him, and, even when we grow disheartened and tempted to judge everything in the light of our failures, he comes to make all things new, to overturn our every disappointment. Each of us is called tonight to rediscover in the Risen Christ the one who rolls back from our heart the heaviest of stones. So let us first ask: What is the stone that I need to remove, what is the name of this stone?

Often what blocks hope is the stone of discouragement. Once we start thinking that everything is going badly and that things can’t get worse, we lose heart and come to believe that death is stronger than life. We become cynical, negative and despondent. Stone upon stone, we build within ourselves a monument to our own dissatisfaction: the sepulcher of hope. Life becomes a succession of complaints and we grow sick in spirit. A kind of tomb psychology takes over: everything ends there, with no hope of emerging alive. But at that moment, we hear once more the insistent question of Easter: Why do you seek the living among the dead? The Lord is not to be found in resignation. He is risen; he is not there. Don’t seek him where you will never find him: he is not the God of the dead but of the living (cf. Mk 22:32). Do not bury hope!

There is another stone that often seals the heart shut: the stone of sin. Sin seduces; it promises things easy and quick, prosperity and success, but then leaves behind only solitude and death. Sin is looking for life among the dead, for the meaning of life in things that pass away. Why do you seek the living among the dead? Why not make up your mind to abandon that sin which, like a stone before the entrance to your heart, keeps God’s light from entering in? Why not prefer Jesus, the true light (cf. Jn 1:9), to the glitter of wealth, career, pride and pleasure? Why not tell the empty things of this world that you no longer live for them, but for the Lord of life?

2. Let us return to the women who went to Jesus’ tomb. They halted in amazement before the stone that was taken away. Seeing the angels, they stood there, the Gospel tells us, “frightened, and bowed their faces to the ground” (Lk 24:5). They did not have the courage to look up. And how often do we do the same thing? We prefer to remain huddled within our shortcomings, cowering in our fears. It is odd, but why do we do this? Not infrequently because, glum and closed up within ourselves, we feel in control, for it is easier to remain alone in the darkness of our heart than to open ourselves to the Lord. Yet only he can raise us up. A poet once wrote: “We never know how high we are. Till we are called to rise” (E. Dickinson). The Lord calls us to get up, to rise at his word, to look up and to realize that we were made for heaven, not for earth, for the heights of life and not for the depths of death: Why do you seek the living among the dead?

God asks us to view life as he views it, for in each of us he never ceases to see an irrepressible kernel of beauty. In sin, he sees sons and daughters to be restored; in death, brothers and sisters to be reborn; in desolation, hearts to be revived. Do not fear, then: the Lord loves your life, even when you are afraid to look at it and take it in hand. In Easter he shows you how much he loves that life: even to the point of living it completely, experiencing anguish, abandonment, death and hell, in order to emerge triumphant to tell you: “You are not alone; put your trust in me!”.

Jesus is a specialist at turning our deaths into life, our mourning into dancing (cf. Ps 30:11). With him, we too can experience a Pasch, that is, a Passover – from self-centredness to communion, from desolation to consolation, from fear to confidence. Let us not keep our faces bowed to the ground in fear, but raise our eyes to the risen Jesus. His gaze fills us with hope, for it tells us that we are loved unfailingly, and that however much we make a mess of things, his love remains unchanged. This is the one, non-negotiable certitude we have in life: his love does not change. Let us ask ourselves: In my life, where am I looking? Am I gazing at graveyards, or looking for the Living One?

3. Why do you seek the living among the dead? The women hear the words of the angels, who go on to say: “Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee” (Lk 24:6). Those woman had lost hope, because they could not recall the words of Jesus, his call that took place in Galilee. Having lost the living memory of Jesus, they kept looking at the tomb. Faith always needs to go back to Galilee, to reawaken its first love for Jesus and his call: to remember himto turn back to him with all our mind and all our heart. To return to a lively love of the Lord is essential. Otherwise, ours is a “museum” faith, not an Easter faith. Jesus is not a personage from the past; he is a person living today. We do not know him from history books; we encounter him in life. Today, let us remember how Jesus first called us, how he overcame our darkness, our resistance, our sins, and how he touched our hearts with his word.

Brothers and sisters, let us return to Galilee.

The women, remembering Jesus, left the tomb. Easter teaches us that believers do not linger at graveyards, for they are called to go forth to meet the Living One. Let us ask ourselves: In my life, where am I going? Sometimes we go only in the direction of our problems, of which there are plenty, and go to the Lord only for help. But then, it is our own needs, not Jesus, to guide our steps. We keep seeking the Living One among the dead. Or again, how many times, once we have encountered the Lord, do we return to the dead, digging up regrets, reproaches, hurts and dissatisfactions, without letting the Risen One change us?

Dear brothers and sisters: let us put the Living One at the centre of our lives. Let us ask for the grace not to be carried by the current, the sea of our problems; the grace not to run aground on the shoals of sin or crash on the reefs of discouragement and fear. Let us seek him, let us allow ourselves to be sought out by him, let us seek him in all things and above all things. And with him, we will rise again.

 

 

 

 

A Christian prayer in union with Creation

 

Father, we praise you with all your creatures.

They came forth from your all-powerful hand;

they are yours, filed with your presence and your tender love.

Son of God, Jesus,

through you all things were made.

You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,

you became part of this earth,

and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.

Today you are alive in every creature

in your risen glory.

Praise be to you!

Holy Spirit, by your light

you guide this world towards the Father's love

and accompany creation as it groans in travail.

You also dwell in our hearts

and you inspire us to do what is good.

Praise be to you!

Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,

teach us to contemplate you

in the beauty of the universe,

for all things speak of you.

Awaken our praise and thankfulness

for every being that you have made.

Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined to everything that is.

God of love, show us our place in this world

as channels of your love

for all the creatures of this earth,

for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.

Enlighten those who possess power and money

that they may avoid the sin of indifference,

that they may love the common good, advance the weak,

and care for this world in which we live.

The poor and the earth are crying out.

O Lord, seize us with your power and light,

help us to protect all life,

to prepare for a better future,

for the coming of your KIngdom

of justice, peace, love and beauty.

Praise be to you!

Amen.

 

 

Prayer for peace* 

Lord God of peace, hear our prayer!

We have tried so many times and over so many years to resolve our conflicts by our own powers and by the force of our arms. How many moments of hostility and darkness have we experienced; how much blood has been shed; how many lives have been shattered; how many hopes have been buried… But our efforts have been in vain.

Now, Lord, come to our aid! Grant us peace, teach us peace; guide our steps in the way of peace. Open our eyes and our hearts, and give us the courage to say: “Never again war!”; “With war everything is lost”. Instil in our hearts the courage to take concrete steps to achieve peace.

Lord, God of Abraham, God of the Prophets, God of Love, you created us and you call us to live as brothers and sisters. Give us the strength daily to be instruments of peace; enable us to see everyone who crosses our path as our brother or sister. Make us sensitive to the plea of our citizens who entreat us to turn our weapons of war into implements of peace, our trepidation into confident trust, and our quarreling into forgiveness.

 

Keep alive within us the flame of hope, so that with patience and perseverance we may opt for dialogue and reconciliation. In this way may peace triumph at last, and may the words “division”, “hatred” and “war” be banished from the heart of every man and woman. Lord, defuse the violence of our tongues and our hands. Renew our hearts and minds, so that the word which always brings us together will be “brother”, and our way of life will always be that of: Shalom, Peace, Salaam!

Amen.

 

*Invocation for peace (8 June 2014)

 

 

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? If not, there's still time, and Pope Francis has some ideas for you.

These are the ten things that he called upon Vatican employees to do:

1. “Take care of your spiritual life, your relationship with God, because this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.”

2. “Take care of your family life, giving your children and loved ones not just money, but most of all your time, attention and love.” 

3. “Take care of your relationships with others, transforming your faith into life and your words into good works, especially on behalf of the needy.” 

4. “Be careful how you speak, purify your tongue of offensive words, vulgarity and worldly decadence.” 

5. “Heal wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness, forgiving those who have hurt us and medicating the wounds we have caused others.” 

6. “Look after your work, doing it with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion and with a spirit that knows how to thank the Lord.” 

7. “Be careful of envy, lust, hatred and negative feelings that devour our interior peace and transform us into destroyed and destructive people.” 

8. “Watch out for anger that can lead to vengeance; for laziness that leads to existential euthanasia; for pointing the finger at others, which leads to pride; and for complaining continually, which leads to desperation.” 

9. “Take care of brothers and sisters who are weaker … the elderly, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and strangers, because we will be judged on this.”

10. “Making sure your Christmas is about Jesus and not about shopping.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Laudato Si'

 

America Magazine's

Top Ten Takeaways from Laudato Si

 

 

Pope Francis may be back in Rome, but the loving and powerful words spoken throughout his time in the United States aren’t something we’ll soon forget. Here’s a list of some of our favorite quotes from his visit:

1. “Joy springs from a grateful heart.” — Vespers, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City

 

2. “Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.” — Address to Congress, Washington D.C.

 

3. “When a country is determined to remain true to its founding principles, based on respect for human dignity, it is strengthened and renewed.” –Address at Independence Mall, Philadelphia

 

4. “Like happiness, holiness is always tied to little gestures.” — Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C.

 

5. “Once we come to realize how much God has given us, a life of self-sacrifice, of working for him and for others, becomes a privileged way of responding to his great love.” — Vespers, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, New York City

 

6. “We don’t want apathy to guide our lives” — Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington D.C.

 

7. “We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners.” — Address to Congress, Washington D.C.

 

8. “Love is something we learn; love is something we live; love grows as it is “forged” by the concrete situations which each particular family experiences. Love is born and constantly develops amid lights and shadows.” — Festival of Families, Philadelphia

 

9. “A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people.” — Address to Congress, Washington D.C.

 

10. “For all our differences and disagreements, we can live in a world of peace.” — Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, New York City

 

11. “We know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from traveling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey. He doesn’t ask us where we have been, he doesn’t question us what about we have done.” — Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, Philadelphia

 

12. “It’s beautiful to have dreams; it is also beautiful to fight for those dreams. Today, we have to keep dreaming.” — Our Lady Queen of Angels School, East Harlem

 

13. “Knowing that Jesus still walks our streets, that he is part of the lives of his people, that he is involved with us in one vast history of salvation, fills us with hope. A hope which liberates us from the forces pushing us to isolation and lack of concern for the lives of others, for the life of our city.” — Mass at Madison Square Garden, New York City

 

14. “Together we are called to say “no” to every attempt to impose uniformity and “yes” to a diversity accepted and reconciled. This can only happen if we uproot from our hearts all feelings of hatred, vengeance and resentment.” –Multi-religious service at 9/11 Memorial and Museum, New York City

 

15. “In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a subculture without right to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and brutality, it is imperative that the followers of the various religions join their voices in calling for peace, tolerance and respect for the dignity and rights of others.” — Address at Independence Mall, Philadelphia