· Pope Francis' Mass at Santa Marta ·
If an “identity card” for Christians existed freedom would certainly feature among their characteristic traits. The freedom of God's children – Pope Francis explained in his homily at the Mass he celebrated this morning, Thursday, 4 July in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae – is the fruit of reconciliation with the Father, brought about by Jesus who took upon himself the sins of all humanity and redeemed the world with his death on the Cross. No one can take this identity from us.
Concelebrating with the Pope among others were Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, Archbishop of Ranchi, India, and Archbishop Piero Marini, President of the Pontifical Committee per International Eucharistic Congresses, who was accompanying staff of the dicastery.
The Pope based his meditation on the Gospel according to Matthew (9:1-8) in which is recounted the miracle of the healing of a paralytic. The Pope reflected on the sentiments that must have shocked the soul of the crippled man when as he was being carried on his bed he heard Jesus saying to him “take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven”.
Those who were close to Jesus and heard his words “said 'this man is blaspheming'; only God can forgive sins”. And Jesus, to make them understand, asked them “Which is easier, to forgive sins or to heal? And he healed. Jesus, St Peter said, went about doing good, curing all, he healed, healing all”.
“But when Jesus”, the Bishop of Rome continued, “healed a sick man he was not only a healer. When he taught people – let us think of the Beatitudes – he was not only a catechist, a preacher of morals. When he remonstrated against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees, he was not a revolutionary who wanted to drive out the Romans. No, these things that Jesus did, healing, teaching and speaking out against hypocrisy, were only a sign of something greater that Jesus was doing: he was forgiving sins”.
Reconciling the world in Christ in the name of the Father: “this is Jesus' mission. Everything else – healing, teaching, reprimands – are only signs of that deeper miracle which is the re-creation of the world. Thus reconciliation is the re-creation of the world; and the most profound mission of Jesus is the redemption of all of us sinners. And Jesus” the Pope added, “did not do this with words, with actions or by walking on the road, no! He did it with his flesh. It is truly he, God, who becomes one of us, a man, to heal us from within”.
The Pope then spoke of all our sin which Jesus took upon his own shoulders. “This is beautiful, this is the new creation”; “Jesus comes down in glory and lowers himself even unto death and death on a cross. This is his glory and our salvation”.
“This is the great miracle of Jesus”, the Pope added: “he has set us, slaves of sin, free”, he has healed us. “It will do us good to think of this”, he added, “and to think that it is so beautiful to be children. This freedom of children is so beautiful, for the Son is at home. Jesus has opened the doors of his house to us, we are now at home. We now understand Jesus' words: 'take heart, my son, your sins are forgiven'. This is the root of our courage: I am free, I am a child, the Father loves me and I love the Father. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to understand his action properly”.
God “has reconciled the world with himself in Christ”, he concluded, “entrusting to us the word of reconciliation, and the grace to carry this word ahead, this word of reconciliation, with fortitude, with the freedom of children. We are saved in Jesus Christ, and no one can deprive us of this grace”.
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