· Vatican City ·

The Holy Father’s Homily

Vocation to service

 Vocation to service  ING-014
05 April 2024

On Holy Thursday, 28 March, Pope Francis visited the Rebibbia Women‘s Prison in Rome, where he celebrated Holy Mass “in Coena Domini” with inmates and staff. Concelebrating was the Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations and Head of the Sistine Chapel Choir, Archbishop Diego Giovanni Ravelli. After the Gospel proclamation, the Pope delivered an impromptu homily. and re-enacted Jesus’ gesture from the Last Supper, when the Lord washed his disciples’ feet. The Holy Father washed the feet of 12 detainees of various nationalities. At the end of Holy Mass, the prison director, Nadia Fontana, addressed some words of gratitude to the Pope, and presented him with a number of gifts: a basket of produce grown on the farm inside the prison, a rosary and two stoles produced by the inmates. Pope Francis in turn, offered the prison a painting with an image of Our Lady with the Child Jesus, titled “I protect you”. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s homily during the Eucharistic celebration.

In this moment of the Supper, two episodes attract our attention. Jesus’ washing of the feet: Jesus humbles himself, and with this gesture he lets us understand what he had said: “I came not to be served but to serve” (cf. Mk 10:45). He teaches us the path of service.

The other — sad — episode is the betrayal of Judas, who is not capable of pursuing love, and then money and selfishness lead him to this bad thing. But Jesus forgives everything. Jesus always forgives. He asks only that we ask for forgiveness.

Once, I heard an elderly woman, wise, an elderly grandmother, of the people… She said, “Jesus never tires of forgiving: we are the ones who tire of asking for forgiveness”. Today, let us ask the Lord for the grace not to grow weary.

We all always have small failures, large failures: each person has their own story. But the Lord awaits us always, with open arms, and he never tires of forgiving.

Now we will make the same gesture Jesus made: the washing of the feet. It is a gesture that draws attention to the vocation of service. Let us ask the Lord to make us grow, all of us, in the vocation to service.

Thank you.