Tag - Jesus

Pope at General Audience: ‘he who knows Jesus will never despair’



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has told the faithful never to despair, as the Lord’s grace is always present to those who put their trust in him.

The Pope’s was speaking to the faithful at the Wednesday General Audience, during which he continued his catechesis on Christian hope.

Listen to the report by Linda Bordoni:



Pope Francis greeted the crowds in St. Peter’s square telling them that this is the last catechesis on the subject of Christian hope, which has accompanied us since the beginning of the liturgical year.

 And so, he said: “I will end by talking about heaven, as the goal of our hope”.

Paradise

“Paradise” the Pope said is one of the last words spoken by Jesus on the cross when he addresses the good thief. 

Reflecting on that scene from the Gospel, the Pope said “Jesus is not alone. Next to him, right and left, there are two offenders”.

Perhaps, he said, passing in front of those three crosses hoisted on Golgotha, someone may even have breathed a sigh of relief thinking that justice was finally done.

In fact, Francis said “On Calvary, on that tragic and Holy Friday, for Jesus it was the extreme moment of solidarity with sinners. As the prophet Isaiah said: “He was counted among the ungodly.”

Pope Francis remarked that it is interesting to note that this is the only instance in which the word “Paradise” appears in the gospels.

The good thief

He recalled the “poor devil” who, on the cross, had the courage to express the most humble of wishes: “Remember me when you enter into your kingdom.”

“He did not have good deeds to assert, he had nothing, but he put his trust into Jesus, and his humble words of repentance were enough to touch the heart of Jesus” he said.

This tells us, he said, that the Lord’s solidarity with us sinners culminated on the cross where, in one of his final acts, he opened the gates of heaven to a repentant criminal.

Trust in God‘s mercy

Thus, at the heart of the Pope’s catechesis was the message that we can only trust in God’s mercy, and, at every hour of our life, turn to him with hope in his promises. 

This miracle, he said, is repeated countless times in hospitals and prison cells: “there is no person, no matter how bad, to whom grace is denied”

God, he said, desires that nothing be lost of what he has redeemed.  

No one must despair 

“No one, he explained, should despair, for his grace is always present to those who put their trust in him”.

Paradise, Francis continued, is not a fairy tale, nor is it an enchanted garden. Paradise is an embrace with God, it is infinite Love, it is a place we enter thanks to Jesus, who died on the cross for us.

“Where there is Jesus, there is mercy and happiness; without Him there is the cold and darkness” he said.

Love and charity never end

If we believe this, the Pope said, we stop being afraid of death and we can hope to leave this world in a serene and trusting way.

“At the hour of death, a Christian must say to Jesus: ‘Remember me’ and even if there is no one who remembers us, Jesus is there, beside us” he said. 

At that moment, the Pope concluded, we will no longer need anything, we will not see in a confused way, we will not weep unnecessarily, because everything will be gone except for love that remains because: “charity never ends”.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Mass: Enter into the mystery of Jesus



(Vatican Radio) The centre of the mystery of Jesus Christ is that he “loved me” and “gave himself” up to death, for me.

Those were the Pope’s words at Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning, which he said was a meditation on the Passion of the Lord, the Via Crucis. It is good to go to Mass, pray, to be good Christians, continued Pope Francis, but the central question is whether you have entered the mystery of Jesus Christ.

Listen to this report:



His homily began with the First Reading from the Letter to the Romans, in which Saint Paul uses  sin, disobedience, grace, forgiveness, to try to “bring us to understand something.” Behind all this, there is the story of salvation. Therefore, since there are not enough words to explain Christ, Paul “drives us”, because we fall in the midst of the mystery of Christ, “explained the Pope. These contrasts, therefore, are merely steps in the journey to fall into the mystery of Christ, which is not easy to understand. To understand “who is Jesus Christ for you,” “for me,” “for us,” the Pope commented, is to fall into this mystery.

In another passage, Saint Paul, looking to Jesus, says, “He loved me and gave himself for me.” He also notes, “there is someone willing to die for a just person, but only Jesus Christ wants to give life “for a sinner like me.” With these words, said the Holy Father, Saint Paul tries to get us into the mystery of Christ. It’s not easy, “it’s a grace.” Not only the canonized Saints have understood this, but also so many saints “hidden in daily life,” humble people who only put their hope in the Lord: they entered the mystery of the crucified Jesus Christ, “which is a madness,” says Paul noting that if he were to boast of something, only he could boast of “his sins and of the crucified Jesus Christ,” not of the study with Gamaliel in the synagogue, or of any other. “Another contradiction,” is this, which leads us to the mystery of Jesus, crucified, “in dialogue with my sins.”

Pope Francis emphasized that when we go to Mass, we know that he is in the Word, that Jesus comes, but this, the Pope warned, is not enough to enter the mystery:

“Entering into the mystery of Jesus Christ is more, it is to let go into that abyss of mercy where there are no words: only the embrace of love. The love that led him to death for us. When we go to confess because we have sins, we say yes, I must have my sins taken away, let’s say; or ‘God forgive me for my sins, tell your sins to the confessor, and we will be calm and happy. If we do so, we have not entered into the mystery of Jesus Christ. If I go, I go to meet Jesus Christ, to enter into the mystery of Jesus Christ, to enter into that hug of forgiveness of which Paul speaks; of that gift of forgiveness. “

When asked about who is “Jesus for you”, you may answer “the Son of God”, you could say all the Creed, all the catechism, and it is true but we would come to a point where we would not have been able to say that at the centre of the mystery of Jesus Christ, is that he “loved me” and “gave himself up for me”. “Understanding the mystery of Jesus Christ is not a matter of study,” the Pope notes, because “Jesus Christ is understood only by pure grace.”

Thus, a pious exercise helps us: the Way of the Cross, which consists in walking with Jesus when he gives us the “embrace of forgiveness and peace.”

“It’s nice to do the Via Crucis. Do it at home, thinking of moments in the Passion of the Lord. Even the great Saints always advised that we begin the spiritual life with this encounter with the mystery of Jesus Crucified. Saint Teresa advised her nuns: to get to the prayer of contemplation, the high prayer she began with the meditation of the Passion of the Lord. The Cross with Christ. Christ in the Cross. Start and think. And so, trying to understand with the heart that he loved me and gave himself for me, “he gave himself up to death for me.”

Pope Francis reiterated that in the First Reading, Saint Paul wants to bring us to the abyss of the mystery of Christ.

“I am a good Christian, I go to Mass on Sunday, I do works of mercy, I pray, I educate my children well: this is very good. But the question I ask, ‘You do all this, but have you entered the mystery of Jesus Christ?’

Finally, the Pope’s call was to  look at the Crucifix, “icon of the greatest mystery of creation, of all”: “Christ crucified, the centre of history, the centre of my life.”

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope at General Audience: ‘Jesus came to save us from death’



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Wednesday reminded Christians that Jesus came to heal us and to save us from death. He also prayed for the over 300 victims of a deadly bombing in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu and condemned the terrorist attack that falls on an ravaged tortured nation. 

He was addressing the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Wednesday General Audience, during which he continued his catechesis on Christian Hope.

Noting that death is a reality that modern civilization “tends, more and more, to set aside” and not reflect upon, Pope Francis said that for believers death is actually “a door” and a call to live for something greater.  

For those “in doubt”, he added, it contains a glimmer of light that shines through a slightly open threshold.

For all of us, he continued, in the mystery of death is a grace and that light will shine for everyone.

Prepare for death

The pope invited those present to think of the moment of their death and imagine the time when Jesus will take us by hand and say: “come, rise and come with me”.

In that moment, he said, hope will end and it will become reality.

Often, he continued we find ourselves unprepared to face death, and yet for centuries past civilizations had the courage to face this inevitable reality. Older generations taught the younger to see that inescapable event as a call to live for something enduring, greater than themselves.  

Pointing out that our days, no matter how many they are, pass like a breath, Francis said “death lays bare our lives” forcing us to acknowledge that all those actions born from pride, anger and hatred” were useless and vain.

To the contrary, he said, it highlights how all the good things that we have sown have germinated and now “hold us by the hand”. 

Jesus will take us by the hand

Jesus, the Pope explained, is the one who ultimately helps us to confront the mystery of death. He shows us that it is natural to weep and to mourn the loss of a loved one, just as he wept at Lazarus’ death.  

But he did not only mourn, he also prayed to the Father and called Lazarus from the tomb pointing out that “Here is our Christian hope: Jesus has come to heal us, to save us from death”.

Recalling the gospel story of Jairus who turned to Jesus in faith asking him to save his sick daughter, and Jesus’s exhortation: “Do not fear, only believe”, the Pope urged Christians not to be afraid, but to keep the flame of faith burning.

Jesus, Francis said, puts us on this “ridge” of faith: every time death comes to tear us away from the fabric of live and our earthly ties, Jesus is there reminding us that He is the resurrection and the life.

We are all small and defenseless before the mystery of death, Pope Francis concluded, but if we keep the flame of faith alive in our hearts, Jesus will take us by the hand, just as he did with Jairus’ daughter when he said: “Talitha cum” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise. To each of us, he concluded, he will say: “I say to you, arise.”   

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope at Mass: ‘ask the Lord for the courage to follow Jesus’



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has invited Christians to turn to God to in search of the courage and strength needed to follow Jesus in our lives.

Speaking on Tuesday morning during the homily at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, the Pope reflected on Jesus’s journey to Jerusalem as the moment of His crucifixion drew near.

Accepting the will of his Father, Jesus – he said – resolutely determined to undertake that journey and announced His intention to the disciples.

Jesus: a model of determination and obedience

“Only once, the Pope recalled, in the Garden of Gethsemane did He ask the Father to ‘remove the cup of wrath He was about to drink’, but each time He submitted to the Father’s will.”

That’s what the Father wants of us, he said, determination and obedience, and He will await with infinite patience.

Francis went on to explain that the disciples did not follow their Master during his journey to Jerusalem.

Jesus was alone 

“At times the disciples did not understand what Jesus was saying or did not want to understand because they were afraid; other times they hid the truth or they were distracted by other things; or – as we can read in today’s Gospel: they searched for an alibi so as not to think about what was awaiting the Lord” he said.

He pointed out that Jesus was alone in his decision because no one understood the mystery of Jesus, and noted that the only one that God sent to strengthen and comfort Him in the Garden of Gethsemane was an angel sent from Heaven.

Ask for the grace to follow Jesus
 
“Let us take some time, the Pope said, to think about Jesus who loved us so much, who walked alone towards the cross: think about Him and thank Him for his obedience and His courage and enter into conversation with Him.”   

Speak to Jesus, Francis concluded, acknowledging all the things He has done for us, acknowledging the patience with which he tolerates our sins and our failures.

“Take some time today – five, ten, fifteen minutes – either before the crucifix or with your imagination, to ‘see’ Jesus walking determinately towards Jerusalem and ask for the grace to have the courage to follow him closely” he said.

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis daily Mass: Familiarity with Jesus sets us free



Those who hear the Word of God and act on it”: this is the concept of the family for Jesus, a concept of family that is “wider than that of the world.” That was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. In the Gospel reading, Jesus says that it is precisely those who come to Him, and listen to His preaching, who are His “mother,” and His “brothers”: His family. And this, the Pope said, makes us think of the concept of familiarity with God and with Jesus, which is something more than being “disciples” or even “friends”; it is not a “formal” or “polite” attitude, much less a “diplomatic” one. So, he asked, “what does this word – familiarity – which the spiritual fathers of the Church have used so often, and have taught us, actually mean?”

First of all, he said, it means “entering into the home of Jesus, to enter into that atmosphere, to live in that atmosphere that is in the home of Jesus. To live there, to contemplate, to be free. Because the children are free, those who reside in the house of the Lord are free, those who have a familiar relationship with Him are free. Others, to use a word from the Bible, are the children of the ‘slave woman.’ We might say that they are Christians, but they don’t dare to draw near to Him, they don’t dare have this familiarity with the Lord. There is always a distance that separates them from the Lord.”

But familiarity with Jesus, as the great Saints teach us, also means “standing with Him, looking to Him, hearing His Word, seeking to do it, speaking with Him.” We speak to him in prayer, Pope Francis emphasized, and we can pray even in common language: “But Lord, what do you think?” “This is familiarity, isn’t it?” the Pope said. “Always! The saints had it. Saint Teresa is beautiful, because she said she found God everywhere, even among the pans in the kitchen.”

Finally, Pope Francis said familiarity means “remaining” in the presence of Jesus, as He Himself counsels us at the Last Supper; or as we see recorded at the beginning of the Gospel, when John says, “This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. And Andrew and John followed Jesus” and, as it is written, “they remained, stayed with Him all day.”

And this, the Pope repeated once again, is the attitude of familiarity; which is so different from the “goodness” of those Christians who nonetheless keep themselves at a distance from Jesus, saying, “You stay over there, and I’ll stay here.” And so, Pope Francis said, “let us take a step forward in this attitude of familiarity with the Lord. A Christian, with all his problems, who gets on the bus, or on the subway, and speaks internally with the Lord – or at least knows that the Lord is watching him – is close to Him: this is familiarity, closeness, feeling oneself a part of the family of Jesus. Let us ask for this grace for all of us, to understand the meaning of familiarity with the Lord. May the Lord grant us this grace.”

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Angelus: As the sower Jesus performs a spiritual radiography of our heart



(Vatican Radio) During his Angelus address on Sunday to the pilgrims and tourists who braved the heat in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis recalled the Gospel reading of the day, the famous parable of the sower. 

Listen to our report:



The Pope explained that the sower is Jesus, but the parable itself, the Pope went on to say concerns us, as it speaks of the soil and not the sower.

The Holy Father noted that “Jesus performs, so to speak, a “spiritual radiography” of our heart”, which is the ground upon which the seed of the Word falls. Our heart, he added, “is like the soil, it can be good when the Word bears fruit, but it can also be hard, and waterproof.”

Pope Francis also described how in between these forms of soil, there are two types of land.  The first, he said, is a stony ground where the seed cannot put down deep roots. This, the Pope added, “is the superficial heart that welcomes the Lord, wants to pray, love and testify, but does not persevere…”

The Holy Father continued, then “there is the thorny ground, full of rocks that suffocate the good plants.” This form of soil, he said, was the world seduced by wealth and greed, adding that the rocks were the vices that inhabit a person’s heart.

With the Lord’s help, underlined Pope Francis, we can reclaim the land in the form of confession and prayer that removes the stones and thorns and purifies our hearts.

During his address the Holy Father remembered the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel, who is celebrated on July 16th.

 

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Angelus: Jesus food of eternal life



(Vatican Radio) In a sunny St Peter’s Square on Sunday Pope Francis recalled the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ or Corpus Christi.

Listen to our report: 

Following the Angelus prayer and taking his cue from the Gospel of St John, the Holy Father reminded the pilgrims and tourists present that Jesus states that he is “the living bread which has descended from heaven.

The Pope explained that the Father has sent him into the world as the food of eternal life, and for this reason he will sacrifice himself on the Cross, donating his body and shedding his blood.

Pope Francis went on to say that “in the Eucharist, Jesus, as he did with the disciples of Emmaus, accompanies us, pilgrims in order to nourish faith, hope and charity in us; To comfort us in trials; To support us in our commitment to justice and peace. This solidarity, the Pope said, is everywhere.

Feeding on Jesus in the  Eucharist, the Holy Father continued  “also means abandoning ourselves with confidence and letting ourselves be led by Him.”

The Pope also reminded the faithful that he would celebrate Mass in the Roman Basilica of St John Lateran on Sunday evening followed by a procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major.

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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Pope Francis: Jesus journeys with us even in bad times



(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis has told pilgrims that God walks with us always, “even in the most painful moments” of our lives as he did with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. 

Pope Francis continued his series of reflections on Christian hope at his Wednesday General Audience shortly after his meeting with US president Donald Trump. The Pope spoke about the disciples’ meeting with Jesus on the Road to Emmaus, in Luke’s Gospel, as “a journey of hope”. 

He told pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s Square that Christians today are a bit like those two disciples: so often we find ourselves “a step away from happiness” but then experience sadness and disappointment.

The Pope said Jesus’ accompaniment of the two disciples shows a “therapy of hope” which “gradually opens us to trust in God’s promises”. Hope, the Pope said, is “never a small price” to pay and always involves defeats and sufferings. However, walking with the disciples in a discreet way, he said, Jesus is able to rekindle their hope.

Pope Francis explained that it was only when the disciples witnessed Jesus breaking the bread that he is revealed to them as the Risen Lord, who is present in their midst. This, the Pope said, “shows us the importance of the Eucharist in which, like the bread, Jesus ‘breaks our lives’ and offers them to others”.

Noting how the disciples return to Jerusalem after their encounter with the Risen Lord to proclaim the good news, the Pope said that “we too are sent forth to encounter others, to hear their joys and sorrows, and to offer them words of life and hope, based on God’s unfailing love.”

“All of us,” the pope said, have had difficult and dark times, when there is “just a wall in front” of us. But “Jesus is always beside us to give us hope, warm our hearts and say, “Go forward, I’m with you. Go forward.”

Listen to Richard Marsden’s report here:

 

(from Vatican Radio)



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