Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pope Francis' First Public Mass

Pope Francis celebrated his first public Mass at the Church of Sant'Anna, the parish church of Vatican city, delivering a homily without a prepared text, centered on on the Gospel of the Fifth Sunday of Lent (John, 8:1-11), i.e. the story of the woman caught in adultery. has what appears to be the complete transcription of his remarks:
After a moment of silence before the lectionary, the pontiff said, "This is beautiful. Before, Jesus alone on the mountain, praying. He was praying alone. Then, he went again to the Temple, and all the people came to him. Jesus was in the middle of the people who, eventually, left him alone with the woman."

"Jesus' solitude is fruitful, that of praying with the Father; that, so beautiful, in today's Church message, that of mercy towards this woman."

"There was a difference among the people," he noted. "All the people came to him. He sat down and began teaching them. Some people wanted to hear Jesus' words. They were the people with an open heart, in need of the Word of God. But there were others who felt nothing; they could not feel. They were the ones who went with the woman and who wanted to condemn her."

"We too, I think, are [like] this people who, on the one hand want to hear Jesus, and on the other like to beat others, right? Condemn others, don't we? Condemn others. But Jesus' message is one of mercy. For me-I say this with humility-the Lord's strongest message is mercy. He said himself, 'Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners."

"He comes to us when we acknowledge that we are sinners," the pope added. "But if we are like the Pharisee before the altar, [who said], 'Thank you, Lord, for not making me like all the other men, and especially not like that fellow at the door, like that publican . . .'. ' well, then we do not know the heart of the Lord, and we shall not ever have the joy of feeling this mercy. It is not easy to trust oneself to the mercy of God, because [His mercy] is an unfathomable abyss, but we must do it."

"Father, if you just knew my life, you would not talk to me like that! Why? What have you done? I did bad things. It is better you go to Jesus. He likes it when you tell him these stories. He forgets. He has the ability of forgetting, [which is] special. He forgets [your sins], he kisses you, he hugs you, and he says to you, 'Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, sin no more!' Only that advice he gives you."

"If, after a month, we are in the same conditions, we go back to the Lord. The Lord never gets tired of forgiving us. Never! It is we who get tired of asking for forgiveness. Let us ask for the grace of never tiring to ask for forgiveness because He never gets tired of forgiving. Let us ask for this grace!"

Video of the entire mass at St. Anne Parish, from beginning to end, courtesy of Salt + Light Television.

Vatican Radio reports:

At the end of Mass, after receiving the greetings of the pastor of the parish, Fr. Bruno Silvestrini, OSA, and the Archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica and vicar-general for Vatican City, Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Pope Francis thanked the whole parish community, as well as those who had travelled from afar to be in Rome during these days. He made especial mention of Fr. Gonzalo Aemilius, the director of the Liceo Jubilar Juan Pablo II in Uruguay, which educates poor and at-risk children and young people. “I don’t know how he came to be here today,” said Pope Francis. “Pray for him,” he said.

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