MORNING CELEBRATION BROADCASTED LIVE
FROM THE CHAPEL OF CASA SANTA MARTA
FROM THE CHAPEL OF CASA SANTA MARTA
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
"The Holy Spirit makes the Church harmony,
the bad spirit destroys"
the bad spirit destroys"
Saturday, May 9, 2020
Today is the commemoration of Saint Louise de Marillac [a chapel has been brought to the chapel depicting the saint whose liturgical memory is celebrated on March 15 but, falling that day in the time of Lent, she was moved to today]: we pray for the nuns Vincentians who have been running this clinic, this hospital for almost 100 years [this is the Santa Marta pediatric dispensary managed by the sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity] and work here, in Santa Marta, for this hospital. The Lord bless the nuns.
We recited in the Psalm: "Sing a new song to the Lord, because he has done wonders. His right hand and his holy arm gave him victory. The Lord made his salvation known, in the eyes of the people he revealed his justice "( Ps 97,1-2). This is true. The Lord has done wonders. But how much effort. How hard it is for Christian communities to carry on these wonders of the Lord. In the passage of the Acts of the Apostles (cf Acts 13, 44-52) we felt joy: the whole city of Antioch gathered to listen to the Word of the Lord, because Paul, the apostles preached strongly, and the Spirit helped them.
But "When they saw that multitude, the Jews were filled with jealousy and with insulting words they contrasted Paul's affirmations" ( Ac 13.45). On one side there is the Lord, there is the Holy Spirit who makes the Church grow, and grows more and more: this is true. But on the other side there is the bad spirit that tries to destroy the Church. It is always like this. Always like that. It goes on but then comes the enemy trying to destroy. The balance is always positive in the long run, but how much effort, how much pain, how much martyrdom! This happened here, in Antioch, and happens everywhere in the Book of Acts of the Apostles. Think, for example, of Listra, when they arrived and healed [a paralytic] and everyone believed they were gods and wanted to make sacrifices, and all the people were with them (cf.Acts 14 : 8-18). Then the others came and convinced them that it was not so, and how did Paolo and his partner end up? Stoned (see Acts 14:19). Always this fight. We think of the magician Elimas, of how he did it, so that the Gospel would not reach the consul (cf Acts 13: 6-12); think of the owners of that girl who made the fortune teller: they exploited the girl well, because she "read the hands" and received the money that went into the bosses' pockets. And when Paul and the apostles did see that this was a lie, it was not right, once the revolution against them (cf. Acts16.16 to 24). Think of the artisans of the goddess Artèmide [in Ephesus] who lost their business by not being able to sell "these figurines", because people no longer bought them, because they had converted. And so, one after the other. On the one hand, the Word of God that summons, that grows, on the other hand the persecution, and great persecution because it ends up chasing them away, beating them ...
And what is the devil's tool to destroy the Gospel announcement? Envy . The Book of Wisdom makes it clear: "Through the devil's envy sin entered the world" (cf. Wis 2:24) - envy, jealousy, here. Always this bitter, bitter feeling. These people saw how they preached the Gospel and got angry, they gnawed their liver with anger. And this anger carried them forward: it is the anger of the devil, it is the anger that destroys, the anger of that "crucify, crucify!", Of that torture of Jesus. He wants to destroy. Always. Always.
Seeing this struggle, this very beautiful saying also applies to us: "The Church goes on between the consolations of God and the persecutions of the world" (cf. Sant'Agostino, De Civitate Dei , XVIII, 51,2). A Church that has no difficulties is missing something. The devil is too calm. And if the devil is calm, things are not going well. Always the difficulty, the temptation, the struggle ... the jealousy that destroys. The Holy Spirit does the harmony of the Church, and the bad spirit destroys. Until today. Until today. Always this fight. Temporal powers are an instrument of this jealousy, of this envy. Here he tells us that "the Jews stirred up the pious women of the nobility" ( At13.50), went to these women and said: "These are revolutionaries, kick them out"; the women spoke to the others and chased them away: they were the "pious women" of the nobility and also the notables of the city (cf. v. 50). They range from temporal power; and temporal power can be good: people can be good but power as such is always dangerous. The power of the world against the power of God moves all this and always behind this, at that power, there is money .
This is what happens in this early Church: the work of the Spirit to build the Church, to harmonize the Church, and the work of the bad spirit to destroy it - the use of temporal powers to stop the Church, destroy the Church - is only a development of what happens on the morning of the Resurrection. The soldiers, seeing that triumph, went to the priests and bought the truth ... the priests. And the truth has been "silenced". From the first morning of the Resurrection, the triumph of Christ, there is this betrayal, this "silencing" the word of Christ, "silencing" the triumph of the Resurrection with temporal power: the chief priests and the money.
We are careful, we are careful with the preaching of the Gospel: never to fall, to put trust in temporal powers and money. The trust of Christians is Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that He sent, and the Holy Spirit is the leaven, it is the force that makes the Church grow. Yes, the Church goes forward, in peace, with resignation, joyful: between "the consolations of God and the persecutions of the world".
Prayer to make spiritual communion
People who do not communicate now make spiritual communion:
My Jesus, I believe that you are truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all things and I desire you in my soul. Since I cannot receive you sacramentally now, at least spiritually come to my heart. As already came, I embrace you and I join you all. Don't let me ever separate you from you.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - a Translation from the Italian