“Christ’s Message is Mercy”: Pope Francis

18/03/2013

Rome Reports, 17 March: Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Vatican parish of St Anna.

From Vatican Information Service

Vatican City, 17 March – This morning, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the Vatican parish of St Anna, the doors of which were crowded from the earliest morning hours with a large number of people. The pontiff was greeted by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, his vicar general for Vatican City State.

Today's Gospel, on this Fifth Sunday in Lent, narrates the story of the adulterous woman whom the Pharisees want to stone. Instead, Christ forgives her, and those who accused her disperse, intimidated by Jesus' bending down to write on the ground with His finger.

In his homily, the Holy Father recalled that, before this story, Jesus had retired to the mountain to pray and later had gone down to the Temple where everyone listened to him. In the end, they left him alone with the woman. “Jesus' solitude!”, he said. “It is a fruitful solitude - both that of His prayer with the Father as well as the other, so beautiful, ... of his mercy toward this woman. This is the Church's message today.”

There is a difference between the people,” he continued. “On the one hand are the people who come to listen to him and before whom He takes a seat and teaches. These are the people who want to listen to Jesus' words; the people with open hearts, in need of the Word of God.” Nevertheless, “there were others who didn't listen, who could not listen. Among those were the ones who had gone to him with that woman, wanting him to condemn her. … I also think we are like this people who, on the one hand want to listen to Jesus, but, on the other hand, at times, like to be cruel to others, isn't that right? To condemn others, right? This is Jesus' message: mercy. On my part, I say it with humility; this is the the Lord's strongest message: mercy. He himself said: 'I did not come for the righteous'. The righteous can justify themselves. … Jesus came for the sinners.”

Read full report at Vatican Information Service

The name came to my heart: Francis of Assisi

Vatican City, 16 March 2013 – This morning in the the Paul VI Audience Hall, the Holy Father greeted more than 6,000 journalists and those working in the media as well as for the Holy See, accredited either permanently or temporarily, to cover the events related to the Conclave. He addressed them with the following words:

Dear friends, I am pleased, at the beginning of my ministry in the See of Peter, to meet with you who have worked here in Rome at this very intense period that began with the surprising announcement of my venerated predecessor Benedict XVI, this past 11 February. I warmly greet each of you.”...

Putting aside his written text, the Pope said: “Some people didn't know why the Bishop of Rome wanted to call himself 'Francis'. Some though of Francis Xavier, Francis de Sales, even Francis of Assisi. I will tell you the story. At the election I had the archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo next to me. He is also prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes [OFM]: a dear, dear friend. When things were getting a little 'dangerous', he comforted me. And then, when the votes reached the two-thirds, there was the usual applause because the Pope had been elected. He hugged me and said: 'Do not forget the poor.' And that word stuck here [tapping his forehead]; the poor, the poor.

“Then, immediately in relation to the poor I thought of Francis of Assisi. Then I thought of war, while the voting continued, until all the votes [were counted]. And so the name came to my heart: Francis of Assisi. For me he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who love and safeguards Creation. In this moment when our relationship with Creation is not so good - right? - He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man … Oh, how I wish for a Church that is poor and for the poor! Afterwards, people were making various comments: 'You should call yourself Hadrian because Hadrian VI was a reformer. We need reform.' And someone else said to me: 'No, no, your name should be Clement.' …'But why?' 'Clement XV so you can pay back Clement XIV who suppressed the Society of Jesus!' These were the jokes."

I wish the best for you, I thank you for everything that you have done. And I think of your work: I wish you to work fruitfully and with serenity and to always know better the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the reality of the Church. I entrust you to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of evangelisation. I I wish the best for you and your families, for each of your families, and I wholeheartedly impart to all of you the blessing.”

Read full report at Vatican Information Service


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