Translation: Zenit.org. Photograph: Catholic News Agency.
Dear brothers and sisters!
Hello! This morning I made my first pastoral visit to a parish of the Diocese of Rome. I thank the Lord and I ask you to pray for my pastoral service and this Church of Rome, which has the mission of presiding in universal charity.
Today is Trinity Sunday. The light of Easter renews in us every year the joy and stupor of the faith: let us understand that God is not something vague, our God is not something vaporous, he is concrete, he is not an abstraction, but has a name: “God is love.” It is not a sentimental or emotive love, but the love of the Father that is the origin of every life, the love of the Son who dies on the cross and rises, the love of the Spirit, who renews man and the world. Understanding that God is love does us a lot of good, because it teaches us to love, to give ourselves to others as Jesus gave himself to us, to walk with us. Jesus walks with us along the road of life.
The Most Holy Trinity is not the product of human reasoning; it is the face with which God himself revealed himself, not from the height of a cathedra, but walking with humanity. It is precisely Jesus who revealed the Father and promised us the Holy Spirit. God walked with his people in the history of the people of Israel and Jesus always walked with us and promised us the Holy Spirit, who is fire, who teaches us all the things that we do not know, who guides us from within, he gives us the good ideas and the good inspirations.
Today we praise God not for a particular mystery but for himself, “for his great glory,” as the liturgical hymn says. We praise him and we thank him because he is Love, and because he calls us to enter into the embrace of his communion, which is eternal life.
Let us place our praises in the hands of the Virgin Mary. She, the most humble of creatures, through Christ has already arrived at the goal of the earthly pilgrimage: she is already in the glory of the Trinity. Because of this Mary our Mother, Our Lady, shines for us as a sign of sure hope. She is the Mother of hope; on our journey, on our road, she is the Mother of hope. She is also the Mother who consoles us, the Mother of consolation and the Mother who is with us on the journey. Now we all pray to Our Lady together, our Mother who accompanies us on the journey.
[Following the recitation of the Angelus the Holy Father made the following remarks:]
Dear brothers and sisters,
Yesterday, in Palermo, Don Giuseppe Puglisi, priest and martyr, killed by the mafia in 1993, was beatified. Don Puglisi was an exemplary priest, especially dedicated to pastoral work with young people. Teaching them according to the Gospel, he snatched them out of the hands of organized crime, and so they tried to defeat him by killing him. In fact, however, he is the one who won, with the risen Christ. I think of the many sufferings of men and women, and of children, who are exploited by the mafia, who exploit them by forcing them into work that makes them slaves, with prostitution, with many social pressures. The mafia is behind this exploitation and slavery. Let us pray to the Lord that he convert the hearts of these people. They cannot do this! They cannot make us, their brothers, slaves! We must pray to the Lord! Let us pray that these mafiosi convert to God and praise God through the shining witness of Don Giuseppe Puglisi, and let us treasure his example!
I greet with affection all of the pilgrims present, the families, the parish groups, who have come from Italy, Spain, France and many other countries. I greet in particular the Associazione Nazionale San Paolo degli Oratori e dei Circoli Giovanili (National Association of St. Paul of Oratories and Youth Groups). Dear friends, may St. Philip Neri, whom we remember today, and Bl. Giuseppe Puglisi assist you in your efforts. I greet the group of Chinese Catholics who are present, who have gathered in Rome to pray for the Church in China, invoking the intercession of Mary Our Help.
My thoughts go out to those who promote the “Giornate del Sollievo” (Day of Relief) for the sick who are close to the end of their earthly journey; and to the Associazione Italiana Sclerosi Multipla (Italian Multiple Sclerosis Association). Thank you for your work! I greet the Associazione Nazionale Arma di Cavalleria (National Calvary Corps Association), and the faithful of Fiumicello, near Padova.
I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good lunch!
Pope’s Homily During Mass at Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah Parish in Rome
Here is the translation of Pope Francis’ homily during Sunday Mass at the parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah in Rome today.
The Holy Father’s homily was especially directed toward children at the parish who were making their first communion. He also engages in a dialogue with them.
Dear brothers and sisters,
The pastor’s words made me think of a beautiful thing about Our Lady. When Our Lady, just having received the announcement that she would be the mother of Jesus, and the announcement that her cousin Elizabeth was expecting, the Gospel says, she set out in haste; she did not wait. She did not say to herself, “But I’m pregnant now, so I had better look after my health. My cousin will have friends who perhaps will help her.” She heard something and she “set out in haste.” It is lovely to think about these actions of Our Lady, our Mother, who sets out in haste, because it tells us about helping. She goes to help, she does not go to boast and say to her cousin: “Now listen, I’m in charge now because I am God’s mamma!” No she did not do that. She went to help! And Our Lady is always like this. She is our Mother, who always comes in haste when we need help. It would be nice to add to the litanies of Our Lady one that says “Lady who sets out in haste, pray for us!” This is beautiful, isn’t it? Because she always goes in haste she does not forget her children. And when her children are in difficulty, have a need and they call upon her, she goes in haste. And this makes us safe, the safety of always having our mother near, at our side. We go, we travel better in life when we have our mamma near. Let us think about this grace of Our Lady, this grace that she gives us: of being with us, but without making us wait. Always! She is – we have confidence in this – there to help us. Our Lady who always goes in haste, for us.
Our Lady also helps us to understand God well, Jesus, to understand the life of Jesus, the life of God, to understand well what the Lord is, how the Lord is, who is God. I ask you, children: “Who knows who God is?” Raise your hand, tell me. Okay! Creator of the earth. And how many Gods are there? 1? But they told me that there are 3: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! How do we explain this? Is there 1 or is there 3? 1? 1? And how do we explain that one is the Father, the other the Son and the other Holy Spirit? Louder, louder! Good answer. They are 3 in 1, 3 persons in 1. And what does the Father do? The Father is the origin, the Father, who created everything, created us. What does the Son do? What does Jesus do? Who knows how to say what Jesus does? He loves us? And what else? What did Jesus do on the earth? He saved us! And Jesus came to give his life for us. The Father creates the world; Jesus saves us. And the Holy Spirit, what does he do? He loves us! He gives you love! All the children together: the Father creates everything, he creates the world, Jesus saves us; and the Holy Spirit? He loves us! And this is the Christian life: talking to the Father, talking to the Son, talking to the Holy Spirit. Jesus saved us, but he also walks with us in life. Is this true? And how does he walk? What does he do when he walks with us in life? This is hard. The one who answers it wins! What does Jesus do when he walks with us? Louder! The first one: he helps us. He guides us! Very good! He walks with us, he helps us, he guides us and he teaches us how to go forward. And Jesus also gives us the strength to walk. Is that right? He supports us! Good! In difficulties, right? And even in school work! He supports us, he helps us, he guides us, he supports us. Okay! Jesus is always with us. Good. But listen, Jesus gives us strength. How does Jesus give us strength? You know how he gives us strength! Louder, I can’t hear you! In Communion he gives us strength, the way he helps us is by giving us strength. He comes to us. But when you say “He gives us Communion,” a piece of bread gives you so much strength? It’s not bread? It’s bread? This is bread but what is on the altar, is it bread or not? It looks like bread! It’s not really bread. What is it? It is the body of Jesus. Jesus comes into our heart. Well, let’s all think about this: the Father gave us life; Jesus gave us salvation, he accompanies us, he guides us, he supports us, he teaches us; and the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit give us? He loves us! He gives us love. Let us think about God like this and ask Our Lady, Our Lady who is our Mother, always quick to help us, that she help us always to understand well how God is: how the Father is, how the Son is and how the Holy Spirit is. Amen.