Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pope Francis' Mass for 15 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 His Holiness, Pope Francis
prior to the celebration of the Mass

Let us pray today for the elderly, especially for those who are isolated and in retirement homes.  They are afraid, afraid of dying alone.  They see this pandemic as aggressive, especially for them.  They are our roots, our history.  They have given us faith, tradition, a sense of belonging to our homeland.  Let us pray for them, that the Lord may be close to them at this time.

Homily of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
during the Mass celebrated on 15 April 2020

Yesterday, we reflected on Mary Magdalene as an icon of fidelity: our faithfulness to God.  But what is this faithfulness to God?  To which God? Precisely to a God who is faithful.

Our faithfulness is nothing but a response to God's faithfulness. God who is faithful to his word, who is faithful to his promise, who walks with his people fulfilling his promise to be close to his people. Faithful to the promise: God who continually makes himself known as the Saviour of his people because he is faithful to the promise. God, who is capable of re-doing things, of re-creating, as he did with this man who had been crippled from birth, whose feet he re-created, he healed him (cf Acts 3: 6-8); He is the God who heals, the God who always brings consolation to his people. The God who re-creates. A new re-creation: this is His loyalty to us. A re-creation that is more wonderful than creation.

A God who goes on and who never tires of working - let's say work, ad instar laborantis (cf Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 236), as theologians say - to help the people keep on going, and he is never afraid of getting tired, let's say so ... Like that shepherd who, when he returns home, realizes that he is missing a sheep and goes back to look for the sheep that has been lost (cf Mt 18: 12-14). The shepherd who works overtime, but out of love, out of fidelity ... And our God is a God who works overtime, but not for a fee: for free. It is the loyalty of gratuity, of abundance. And fidelity is that father who is able to go up to the terrace many times to see if his son is returning ... and he does not grow tired of going up: he is waiting for his son in order to celebrate (cf Lk 15, 21-24). God's faithfulness is celebration, it is joy, it is such a joy that it makes us do as this cripple did: he entered the temple walking, jumping, praising God (cf Acts 3: 8-9). God's faithfulness is a party, it is a free party. It is a celebration for all of us.

God's faithfulness is a patient faithfulness: he has patience with his people, listens to them, guides them, explains things to them slowly and warms their hearts, as he did with these two disciples who went far from Jerusalem: he warms their hearts in order to make them want to come back home (cf Lk 24: 32-33). God's faithfulness is what we don't know: what happened in that dialogue, but it is the generous God who sought out Peter who had denied him, who had denied him. We only know that the Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon: what happened in that dialogue we do not know (cf Lk 24: 34). But yes, we know it was God's faithfulness that sought Peter out. God's faithfulness always precedes us and our faithfulness is always the answer to that fidelity that precedes us. It is God who always precedes us ... like the flower of the almond tree, in spring: it is always the first to bloom.

To be faithful is to praise this faithfulness, to be faithful to God's faithfulness. This is an answer to God's faithfulness.

After the completion of the Mass, the Holy Father spent some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  All those who could not be physically present, but who were participating via various media were encouraged to be united with him in prayer and to make a spiritual communion.

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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