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A travelling companion

· The Pope's Mass at Santa Marta ·

A sacrament is not “a magical rite” but rather the instrument God has chosen in order to continue to walk beside man as his travelling companion through life, in order to make history together with man, waiting for him when necessary. Faced with God's humility, we should have the courage  to let him write history, which in the way becomes “reliable”.  The certainty of God's continual presence in the events of human life was at the centre of the homily that Pope Francis delivered on Tuesday morning, 24 September, during the Mass he celebrated at the Chapel of Santa Marta.

First the Pontiff repeated the invocation of Psalm 122 [121] that was proclaimed during the liturgy: “With joy, let us go to the house of the Lord”. And “we did so,” he explained, “because the first Reading reminds us of a moment of joy for the people of God, a very beautiful moment” when “a pagan king helped God's people return to their land and rebuild the temple”. The reference is to a passage from the Book of Ezra (6:7-8, 12, 14-20).

“In the history of God's people,” the Holy Father continued, “there are beautiful moments like this one, which bring great joy, and there are also ugly moments of suffering, martyrdom and sin. In good and bad moments alike, one thing always remains the same: the Lord is there. He never abandons his people, for the Lord, on that day of sin, of the first sin, made a decision; he made a choice, to make history with his people”.

“God, who has no history since he is eternal,” he added, “wanted to make history, to walk close to his people. But there is more: he wanted to make himself one of us and as one of us to walk with us in Jesus. And this speaks to us. It tells us about the humility of God” who is “so very great” and powerful precisely in his humility. He “wanted to walk with his people, and when his people wandered far from him through sin, idolatry and the many things we see in the Bible, he was there”.

We also see this attitude of humility in Jesus, the Pope explained: “Walking with God's people, walking with sinners, even walking with the proud: how much the Lord did in order to help the proud hearts of the Pharisees. He wanted to walk. Humility. God always waits, God is beside us. God walks with us. He is humble. He waits for us always. Jesus always waits for us. This is the humility of God”.

Thus, the Holy Father added, “the Church joyfully sings of the humility of God who accompanies us as we did in the psalm: “With joy, let us go to the house of the Lord”. Let us go with joy; then he accompanies us, he along with us”.

“The Lord Jesus,” he then emphasized, “also accompanies us in our personal lives with the sacraments. A sacrament is not a magical rite, it is an encounter with Jesus Christ”. In it, “we encounter the Lord. And he is by our side and accompanies us: a travelling companion”. And “the Holy Spirit also accompanies us and teaches us all that we do not know in our hearts. He reminds us of all that Jesus taught us and he makes us feel the beauty of the good way. Thus God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are our travelling companions. They make history with us”.

“The Church,” Pope Francis continued, “celebrates this with great joy at each Eucharist”. He recalled “that beautiful Eucharistic prayer that we will pray today, in which we sing of God's great love, which desired to be humble, to be a travelling companion with us, and that also wanted to make history with us”. And if God, he concluded, “entered into our history, let us also enter a little into his history or at least ask of him the grace to let him write history. May he write our history. It is reliable one”.

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