Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Pope Francis' Mass for 21 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

At this time, there is much silence.  We can even hear the silence.  May this silence, which is a bit new to us, not part of our habitual routines, teach us to listen, help us to grow in our capacity to listen.  Let us pray for this.

Homily of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
during the Mass celebrated on 21 April 2020

To be born from above (Jn 3: 7) is to be born with the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot take the Holy Spirit for ourselves; instead, we can let Him transform us. And our docility opens the door to the Holy Spirit: it is He who creates the change, the transformation, this rebirth from above. This is Jesus' promise to send the Holy Spirit (cf Acts 1: 8). The Holy Spirit is capable of doing wonders, things that we cannot even think of.

An example was that first Christian community, which was not a fantasy, what they tell us here: it was a model, where it can be reached when there is docility and we allow the Holy Spirit to enter and transform us. An ideal community - so to speak. It is true that problems would begin immediately after this, but the Lord showed us how far we can go if we are open to the Holy Spirit, if we are docile. There was harmony in this community (cf Acts 4: 32-37). The Holy Spirit is the master of harmony, he is capable of creating and he created it here. He can create it in our hearts, he can change many things about us, but he must always create harmony: because he himself is harmony. Even the harmony between the Father and the Son: it is the love of harmony, He is harmony. And He, with harmony, creates these things like this harmonious community. But then, history tells us - the same Book of the Acts of the Apostles - about many problems in the community. This is a model: the Lord has allowed this model of an almost heavenly community, to show us where we should go.

But then the divisions began, in the community. In the second chapter of his Letter, the Apostle James says: May your faith 'be immune to personal favoritism' (Jas 2: 1): because there were favoritisms! Do not discriminate: the apostles needed to come out in order to admonish. And Paul, in the first Letter to the Corinthians, in chapter 11, complained: I have heard that there are divisions among you (cf 1 Cor 11:18): the internal divisions in the communities had begun. We must all reach this ideal, but it is not easy: there are many things that divide a community, be it a Christian parish or a diocesan or presbyteral community or religious men or women ... many things come along, things that can divide the community.

Seeing the things that divided the first Christian communities, I can innumerate three: first, money. When the apostle James says that he has no personal favoritism, he gives an example because "if in your church, someone with a golden ring enters your assembly, you immediately pay attention to him, but the poor man, you leave aside (cf Jn 2: 2). Money. Paul himself says the same thing: The rich bring food and eat, and leave the poor standing on the side (cf 1 Cor 11: 20-22), we leave them there as if to say to them: Take care of yourselves. Money divides us, love of money divides the community, divides the Church.

Many times, in the history of the Church, where there are doctrinal deviations - not always, however many times - there is money behind the scenes: the money of power, both political power and cash, but it is money. Money divides the community. For this reason, poverty is the mother of the community, poverty is the wall that protects the community. Money divides, personal interests. Even in families: how many families ended up divided by inheritances? How many families? And they never talk again ... How many families ... A legacy ... They divide: money divides.

Another thing that divides a community is vanity, that desire to feel better than others. Thank you, Lord, because I am not like the others (cf Lk 18: 11), the Pharisee's prayer. Vanity, feeling that ... And also vanity in showing myself off to the world, vanity in habits, in dressing: how many times - not always but how many times - even the celebration of a sacrament can be an example of vanity, who goes with the best clothes, who does that and the other doesn't ... vanity ... for the biggest party ... vanity also enters there. And vanity divides. Because vanity leads you to be a peacock and where there is a peacock, there is division, always.

A third thing that divides a community is chatter: it's not the first time I've said it, but it's reality. It is reality. That thing that the devil puts in us, like a need to talk about others. What a good person that is ... - Yes, yes, but nevertheless ...: immediately there is a but: that is a stone to disqualify the other and immediately something that I heard, I repeat and so the other person is put down a little.

But the Spirit always comes with the strength to save us from this worldliness of money, vanity and chatter, because the Spirit is not of the world: the Spirit is against the world. The Spirit is capable of doing these miracles, these great things.

Let us ask the Lord for this docility to the Spirit so that He may transform us and transform our communities, our parishes, our dioceses, our religious communities: may the Spirit transform them, and help them always go forward in the harmony that Jesus wants for the Christian community.

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.

A Tes pieds, ô mon Jésus, je me prosterne et je T'offre le repentir de mon cœur contrit qui demeure dans son néant et en Ta sainte présence. Je t'adore dans le Sacrement de Ton amour, l'ineffable Eucharistie. Je désire te recevoir dans la pauvre demeure que mon cœur t'offre. Dans l'attente du bonheur de la communion sacramentelle, je veux te posséder en esprit. Viens à moi, ô mon Jésus, que je vienne à Toi. Que Ton amour enflamme tout mon être, pour la vie et pour la mort. Je crois en toi, j'espère en toi, je t'aime. Ainsi soit-il.

Ai tuoi piedi, o mio Gesù, mi prostro e ti offro il pentimento del mio cuore contrito che si abissa nel suo nulla e nella tua santa presenza. Ti adoro nel sacramento del Tuo amore, l’Eucaristia. Desidero riceverti nella povera dimora che ti offre il mio cuore; in attesa della felicità della comunione sacramentale voglio possederti in spirito. Vieni a me, o mio Gesù, che io vengo da Te. Possa il tuo amore infiammare tutto il mio essere per la vita e per la morte. Credo in Te, spero in Te, ti amo.

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