Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Pope Francis at Mass "... your always being called to be reborn “from above,” by God’s love." to Missionaries of Mercy - Homily FULL TEXT + Video



EUCHARISTIC CONCELEBRATION WITH THE MISSIONARIES OF MERCY

HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS

Vatican Basilica, Altar of the Cathedra 
Tuesday of the 2nd week of Easter, 10 April 2018
We have heard in the Book of Acts: "With great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 4:33).

Everything starts from the Resurrection of Jesus: from it comes the testimony of the Apostles and, through this, the faith and the new life of the members of the community are generated, with its frank evangelical style.

The readings of today's Mass bring out these two inseparable aspects well: personal rebirth and community life. So, turning to you, dear brothers, I think of your ministry that you carry out starting from the Jubilee of Mercy. A ministry that moves in both these directions: at the service of the people, because they "reborn from above", and at the service of the communities, so that they may live the commandment of love with joy and coherence.

Today the Word of God offers two indications that I would like to grasp for you, thinking precisely of your mission.
The Gospel recalls that those who are called to bear witness to the Resurrection of Christ must himself, in the first person, "be born from above" (cf. Jn 3: 7). Otherwise you end up becoming like Nicodemus who, despite being a teacher in Israel, did not understand the words of Jesus when he said that to "see the kingdom of God" we must "be born from above", be born "of water and the Spirit" (cf. 3-5). Nicodemus did not understand the logic of God, which is the logic of grace, of mercy, so that those who become small are great, those who become ultimate are first, those who recognize themselves ill are healed. This means truly leaving the primacy to the Father, to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit in our life. Attention: it is not a question of becoming "invaded" priests, as if they were depositaries of some extraordinary charisma. No. Ordinary priests, simple, gentle, balanced, but able to let themselves be constantly regenerated by the Spirit, docile to his strength, interiorly free - above all by themselves - because moved by the "wind" of the Spirit who blows where he wants (cf. Jn 3, 8).

The second indication concerns community service: to be priests capable of "raising" in the "desert" of the world the sign of salvation, that is, the Cross of Christ, as a source of conversion and renewal for the whole community and for the world itself ( see Jn 3: 14-15). In particular, I would like to stress that the Lord who died and rose again is the force that creates communion in the Church and, through the Church, in the whole of humanity. Jesus said it before the Passion: "When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself" (Jn 12: 32). This strength of communion was manifested from the beginning in the community of Jerusalem where - as the Book of Acts attests - "the multitude of those who had become believers had one heart and one soul" (4,32). It was a communion that made concrete sharing of goods, so that "everything was common among them" (v. Ibid.) And "none of them was needy" (verse 34). But this lifestyle of the community was also "contagious" to the outside: the living presence of the Risen Lord produces a force of attraction which, through the witness of the Church and through the various forms of proclamation of the Good News, tends to reach all , nobody excluded. Dear brothers, put your specific ministry of Missionaries of Mercy at the service of this dynamism. In fact, both the Church and the world today have a particular need of Mercy because the unity desired by God in Christ prevails over the negative action of the evil one who takes advantage of many current means, in themselves good, but which, misused, instead to unite divide. We are convinced that "unity is superior to conflict" (Evangelii gaudium, 228), but we also know that without mercy this principle does not have the strength to be implemented in the concrete of life and history.

Dear brothers, leave this meeting with the joy of being confirmed in the ministry of Mercy. First of all confirmed in the grateful confidence of being you first called to be reborn always "from above", from the love of God. And at the same time confirmed in the mission of offering everyone the sign of Jesus "lifted up" from the ground, because the community is a sign and instrument of unity in the midst of the world.[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation from Vatican.va]

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