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A special day

· The Pope's Mass at Santa Marta ·


In his homily this morning at Holy Mass, Pope Francis preached on Jesus' prayer. Commenting on the day's Gospel passage from St Luke (6:12-19), which recounts Jesus' choosing of the Twelve. “It was a special day”, Pope Francis began, noting however that the Apostles chosen only after Jesus had passed the entire night “alone in prayer to the Father”.

This special day was characterized by three moments. First, Jesus passed “an entire night in prayer with the Father” on the mountain; then, he is found among his apostles, and finally, he is found among the people. The Holy Father explained that prayer is found at the centre of all three moments: Jesus prays to the Father in the intimacy he shared with him; he prays for the people who came out to meet him; and he also prays for the Apostles.

Pope Francis then recalled Jesus' prayer on  Holy Thursday after the Last Supper, when he prayed to the Father for those whom he had given him, for all people, and for all future believers. Jesus' prayer, the Pope noted, was both “universal” and “personal”.

He also noted that “on the same night, Jesus looked at Peter and said: Peter, behold Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” and then he exhorts him “pray to the Father for each of your brethren” (cf Lk 22:31-32). The Bishop of Rome then added: “And I would like for all of us to look today to Jesus who prays”.

Does Jesus still pray, the Pope asked. “Yes”, he replied, “the Bible says so”.“He is our intercessor, the one who prays to the Father with us and for us. Jesus saved us. He offered the great prayer of the sacrifice of his life in order to save us … now he has gone away, and he prays”.

“Jesus is a person, he is a man with flesh like our own, but he is in glory. Jesus retains the marks of his wounds in his hands, his feet and his side. And when he prays he shows the Father the price our justification, and he prays for us”. Jesus always has our salvation in mind, the Holy Father continued, and “this is why when we pray, we say: through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son. For he is the first to pray, he is our brother … our intercessor”.

Pope Francis concluded: “Let us think about this and let us thank the Lord; let us thank our Brother who prays with us and for us, who intercedes for us... Let us entrust our problems and our lives to him, since he bring them to the Father”.

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