MORNING MASS IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
DOMUS SANCTAE MARTHAE
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
"Sinners, but in dialogue with God"
Tuesday, 10 March 2020
Let us continue to pray together for the sick, medical personnel, all those suffering from the epidemic. Let us pray to the Lord also for our priests, so that they may have the courage to go out to the sick, bringing the power of the Word of God and the Eucharist, and accompany medical personnel, volunteers, in the work they are performing.
Yesterday, the Word of God taught us how to recognise our sins and to confess them, but not only with the mind, also with the heart, with a spirit of shame; shame for our sins as a most noble attitude before God. And today the Lord calls all of us sinners to dialogue with Him (cf. Is 1:10.16-20). Because sin closes us up in ourselves, it makes us hide, or hide our truth, inside. It is what happened to Adam and Eve: after sinning they hid themselves because they were ashamed; they were naked (cf. Gen 3:8-10). And the sinner, when he or she feels shame, is then tempted to hide. And the Lord calls: “ ‘Come now, let us talk this over, says the Lord’ (Is 1:18); let us talk about your sin, let us talk about your situation. Do not be afraid”. And He continues: “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (v. 18). “Come, because I am able to change everything”, the Lord tells us. “Do not be afraid to come and speak. Be courageous even with your misery”.
I am reminded of that saint who was so penitent: he prayed so much. And he always tried to give the Lord everything the Lord asked of him. But the Lord was not pleased. And one day he got a little angry with the Lord, because the saint had quite a character. And he said to the Lord, “But, Lord, I don't understand you. I give you everything, everything, and you're always dissatisfied, as if something were missing. What’s missing?” “Give me your sins: that’s what’s missing”. Have the courage to go with our misery and speak to the Lord: “Come, come, let’s talk about it! Do not be afraid”. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (v. 18).
This is the Lord’s invitation. But there is always a deception: instead of going to talk with the Lord, to pretend not to be sinners. That is why the Lord rebuked the doctors of the law (cf. Mt 23:1-12). These people do deeds “for people to see: Wearing broader phylacteries and longer tassels, like wanting to take the place of honour at banquets and the front seats in the synagogues, being greeted obsequiously in the market squares and having people call them Rabbi” (vv. 5-6). Appearance, vanity. Covering the truth of our heart with vanity. Vanity never heals! Vanity never heals. Rather, it is poisonous, and continues till it makes the heart ill, leading you to that hardness of heart that says to you: “No, do not go to the Lord, do not go. Remain alone…”.
Vanity is precisely the place where we close ourselves off from the Lord’s call. Instead, the invitation of the Lord is that of a father, a brother: “Come! Let’s talk, let’s talk. In the end I can change your life from red to white”.
May this Word of the Lord encourage us. May our prayer be a true prayer: about our reality, about our sins, about our misery. He knows, He knows what we are. We know it, but our vanity always invites us to cover it up. May the Lord help us.
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