MORNING CELEBRATION BROADCAST LIVE
FROM THE CHAPEL OF CASA SANTA MARTA
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
"Trust in the mercy of God"
Monday, March 30, 2020
We pray today for so many people who cannot react: they are frightened by this pandemic. May the Lord help them to stand up, to react for the good of all society, of the whole community.
In the responsorial psalm we prayed: “The Lord is my shepherd: I lack nothing. On grassy pastures it rests me, it leads me to calm waters, it refreshes my soul. He leads me on the right path because of his name. Even if I go to a dark valley, no bad weather because you are with me. Your staff and your bondage give me security "(Ps 23: 1-4).
This is the experience these two women have had, whose story we read in the two Readings. An innocent woman, falsely accused, slandered, and a sinful woman. Both sentenced to death. The innocent and the sinner. Some Father of the Church saw in these women a figure of the Church: holy, but with sinful children. They said in a beautiful Latin expression: "The Church is the caste meretrix", the saint with sinful children.
Both women were desperate, humanly desperate. But Susanna trusts God. There are also two groups of people, men; both employees in the service of the Church: the judges and teachers of the Law. They were not clergymen, but were at the service of the Church, in the court and in the teaching of the Law. Several. The former, those who accused Susanna, were corrupt: the corrupt judge, the emblematic figure in history. In the Gospel too, in the parable of the persistent widow, Jesus takes up the corrupt judge who did not believe in God and did not care about the others. The corrupt. The doctors of the Law were not corrupt, but hypocrites.
And these women, one fell into the hands of the hypocrites and the other into the hands of the corrupt: there was no way out. "Even if I go to a dark valley I do not fear any harm, because you are with me, your staff and your bondage give me security" (Ps 23.4). Both women were for a dark valley, they went there: a dark valley, towards death. The first explicitly trusts God and the Lord intervened. The second, poor thing, knows that she is guilty, shameless in front of all the people - because the people were present in both situations - the Gospel does not say it, but she certainly prayed inside, she asked for some help.
What does the Lord do with these people? He saves her from the innocent woman, does her justice. To the sinful woman, forgive her. To the corrupt judges, he condemns them; to the hypocrites, he helps them to convert and before the people he says: “Yes, really? The first of you who has no sins, who throws the first stone "(cf. Jn 8: 7), and one by one they are gone. The apostle John has some irony here: "Those who heard this went one by one, beginning with the older ones" (Jn 8: 9). Give them some time to repent; to the corrupt he does not forgive, simply because the corrupt is unable to ask for forgiveness, he went further. He has tired ... no, he has not tired: he is not capable. Corruption has also taken away from him the ability we all have of being ashamed, of asking for forgiveness. No, the corrupt is safe, he goes on, destroys, exploits people, like this woman, everything, everything ... goes on. He put himself in God's place.
And the women respond to women. Susanna frees her from these corrupt, keeps her going, and to the other: "I don't condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore "(Jn 8:11). He lets her go. And this, before the people. In the first case, the people praise the Lord; in the second case, the people learn. Learn what God's mercy is like.
Each of us has our own stories. Each of us has our own sins. And if you don't remember them, think a little: you will find them. Thank God if you find them, because if you don't find them, you are corrupt. Each of us has our own sins. We look to the Lord who does justice, but who is so merciful. Let us not be ashamed of being in the Church: let us be ashamed of being sinners. The Church is the mother of all. We thank God for not being corrupt, for being sinners. And each of us, looking at how Jesus acts in these cases, trust in the mercy of God. And pray, with confidence in the mercy of God, pray for forgiveness. “Because God guides me on the right path because of his name. Even if I go to a dark valley - the valley of sin - I do not fear any harm because you are with me. Your staff and your bondage give me security "(cf. Ps 23.4).
Prayer to make spiritual communion:
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion.
At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation