Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Pope Francis' Mass for 1 April 2020

At 7:00am local time this morning (1:00am EDT), the Holy Father, Pope Francis celebrated Mass inside the chapel at the Casa Santa Marta.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the celebration of the Mass

Today, I would like to pray for all those who are working in the media, who are working to communicate, today, so that people are not so alone; for the education of children, to share information, to help support this time of isolation.

Homily of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
during the Mass celebrated on 1 April 2020

In these days, the Church is listening to the eighth chapter of the gospel of John: there is such a heated discussion between Jesus and the doctors of the Law. And above all, they try to show our identity: John tries to get closer to that struggle to clarify their identities, both that of Jesus, and the identity that the doctors have. Jesus puts them on the spot by showing them their contradictions. And they, in the end, find no other way out than to hurl insults: this is one of the saddest stories, it is a blasphemy. They insult the Madonna.

But speaking of identity, Jesus said to the Jews who believed; he advised them: If you remain in my word, you really are my disciples (Jn 8:31). That word, which is so dear to the Lord, returns again and again; he repeated it many times, and then at the last supper, the word became: stay. Stay in me. Stay in the Lord. He does not say: Study well, learn the arguments well: that is taken for granted. But he goes to the most important thing, the one that is most dangerous for life, if you don't do it: stay. Stay in my word (Jn 8:31). And those who remain in the word of Jesus have their own Christian identity. And which identity is that? You are truly my disciples (Jn 8:31). Christian identity is not a card that says I am a Christian, an identity card: no. It is discipleship. You, if you stay in the Lord, in the Word of the Lord, in the life of the Lord, you will be a disciple. If you do not stay, you will be one who sympathizes with the doctrine, who follows Jesus as a man who does much charity, is so good, who has the right values, but discipleship is precisely the true identity of the Christian.

And it is discipleship that will give us freedom: the disciple is a free man because he remains in the Lord. And stay in the Lord, what does that mean? Let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit. The disciple lets himself be guided by the Spirit, for this reason the disciple is always a man of tradition and novelty, he is a free man. Free. Never subject to ideologies, to doctrines within Christian life, doctrines that can be discussed ... he remains in the Lord, it is the Spirit that inspires. When we sing to the Spirit, we tell him that he is a guest of the soul (cf Hymn: Veni, Sancte Spiritus), who lives in us. But this can be true only if we remain in the Lord.

I ask the Lord to help us know this wisdom - to remain in Him - and to help us know that familiarity with the Spirit: the Holy Spirit gives us freedom. And this is the anointing. Whoever remains in the Lord is a disciple, and the disciple is an anointed one, anointed by the Spirit, who has received the anointing of the Spirit and carries it forward. This is the path that Jesus shows us for freedom and also for life. And discipleship is the anointing that those who remain in the Lord receive.

May the Lord help us to understand this; it is not easy: the doctors of the Law did not understand it, it cannot be understood only with the head; it must be understood both with the head and with the heart, this wisdom of the anointing with the Holy Spirit that makes us disciples.

After the completion of the Mass, the Holy Father spent some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  He instructed all those who were watching from a distance:

People who cannot receive communion because of the distance, now make a spiritual communion.

His Holiness offered the following prayer, leading all those who were united with him in prayer via various media:

Prayer to make a spiritual communion

My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all things and I desire you in my soul. Since I cannot receive You sacramentally now, at least spiritually come to my heart. As you have already come, I embrace you and I join myself to you. Do not let me ever be separated from you.  Amen.

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