Christians must learn the “wisdom of God’s caresses” and have the humility “to open their heart to be healed by the Lord”, Pope Francis said in his homily during Mass on Thursday, 7 February. Moreover, Christians should exercise this same humility and meekness when caring for our needy brothers and sisters.
The Holy Father referred to the day’s Gospel narrative which recounts the moment when Jesus sent his disciples out to heal, as he did when he came into the world to “heal the root of sin within us”. This healing, the Pope explained, “recreated us from the roots and made us go forth with his teaching, his doctrine which is a doctrine that heals”. The “first healing is conversion”: opening our heart, “so that the Word of God may enter” because “a closed heart cannot be healed” just as a sick person cannot get better without a doctor’s care. We should ask ourselves, the Pope suggested, whether we “feel this invitation to convert, to open the heart to be healed, to find the Lord, to go forward”.
But above all, Jesus commissioned the disciples to “proclaim so that the people would convert”. And this required the authority to do so, which, Jesus said, the disciples were to earn by taking “nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts”. Thus, their sole authority came from following in Jesus’ footsteps, devoid of any attitudes of superiority. Rather, they were to be poor, with that “poverty that brings meekness and humility”. It is with this “attitude of poverty, humility, meekness” that we can have the “authority to say: ‘Covert’, to open hearts”. Through the “meekness and the authority of their example”, the Apostles were able to cast out demons, “not from the authority of one who speaks from above but is not interested in people. That is not authority; it is authoritarianism”, the Holy Father stressed. They were thus able to heal not only the spirit, but by applying healing oils, they also healed bodies. Because, the Pontiff added, “an anointing is God’s caress”. Like the Apostles who had to learn the wisdom of the “caresses of God”, we too can heal people. “Each of us has the power to heal if we take this path”: with a kind word, patience, advice or a humble glance. Pope Francis concluded by invoking the Lord to “give us this grace to heal as he healed: with meekness, humility, with fortitude against sin, against the devil, and to go forth in this beautiful mission of healing”.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 22, 2020
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