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From complaints to hope

· Mass at Santa Marta ·

Complaints damage the heart. They are bad; and not only complaints about others, “but also their complaints about us, when everything seems to have turned sour”. With these thoughts on daily life Pope Francis updated the episode of the disciples of Emmaus – recounted by the Evangelist Luke (24:13-35) – in the Homily he gave on Wednesday morning, 3 April, at his customary Mass in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Maria. Taking part were the employees of the Domus Romana Sacerdotalis.

In commenting on the Gospel the Pope reflected on the disciples' dismay at the death of the Teacher which was so overwhelming, the Pope said, that “they thought it best to leave the city. Yet, the poor things were still talking about it, weren't they? And they were complaining. It could be said that this was more or less the day of complaints”. But these conversations did no more than make them withdraw into themselves; in their hearts they were thinking: “we had such great hopes, but everything has failed”. And in this situation, the Pope said, “they were stewing their life in the juice of their complaints and were going on and on like that”.

Hence the reference to all of us. “I think”, he added, that “so often when difficult things happen, also when we are visited by the Cross, we too incur this risk of withdrawing into complaints”. Yet at that very moment the Lord is “close to us, but we do not recognize him. He walks beside us; but we do not recognize him. He speaks to us as well, but we do not hear him”. For us complaining is like “something certain. This is my truth, failure. There is no longer any hope”. And with these thoughts the disciples continued on their way. “What did Jesus do? He was patient with them. First he listened, then he slowly explained to them. And then, in the end he let them see him”. Jesus, he added, “does this with us. Even in the darkest moments he is always beside us, he walks beside us. And in the end he makes us see his presence”.

Returning to complaints, which “are bad”, because “they take away our hope”, Pope Francis urged those present not to enter “into this game of living on complaints”, because the Lord's presence was made visible “when he broke the bread” and the disciples could see “the wounds”, then “he disappeared”. We must have hope and trust in God who “always goes with us on our way”, even in the darkest hours. “We may be sure, we may be sure”, he concluded, “that the Lord never abandons us: he is always with us, even at the difficult moment. And let us not seek refuge in complaints. They damage our heart”.

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