Pope receives sick children

(Vatican Radio) A message of love and hope: this is what Pope Francis had for a group of children, who are patients at the pediatric oncology ward of the famed Agostino Gemelli hospital here in Rome. “Jesus loves [you] very much,” Pope Francis told the 22 boys and girls, who came to visit him in the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence. After a “Hail, Mary!” prayed together,
Pope Francis offered his blessing, which, he explained, is "like a hug from God." The children were accompanied by their parents and by volunteers of UNITALSI, the organisation that offers care and transport to the ill and those with special needs.  

Pope Francis: Mass on Saturday morning
(Vatican Radio) “The Church is not a cultural organization,” but, “the family of Jesus.” This was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks to the faithful gathered for Mass on Saturday morning in the Domus Sanctae Marthae residence at the Vatican. The Pope said that Christians should not be ashamed to live with the scandal of the Cross, and urged them not to be "trapped by the spirit of the world."

Pope Francis took the question put to Jesus by the scribes and chief priests, “By what authority are you doing these things?” as his starting point. Once again, he said, they were looking to set a trap for the Lord, trying to paint Him into a corner, to force Him to make a mistake. The Holy Father went on to ask why the scribes and Pharisees wanted to embarrass Jesus. ”Tthe problem that these people had,” said the Holy Father, was not that Jesus had performed miracles. Rather, he explained, “They were shocked that the demons cried out to Jesus, ‘You are the Son of God, You are the Holy One.” This is the thing about Jesus that really scandalises. “He is God who became incarnate.” For us, too, “do they set traps in life,” though, “[that characteristic] of the Church, which scandalises, is the mystery of the Incarnation of the Word, and, “this cannot be tolerated, this the devil will not suffer.”:

“How many times do you hear people say: ‘But you Christians, be a bit more normal, like other people: be reasonable!’ This is a speech by snake charmers, to be sure: ‘But, be normal, OK? A little more normal, do not be so strict.” But behind this is: ‘Please, do not come with [your] tales, [about] God who became man!’ The Incarnation of the Word: that is the scandal behind it! We can do all the social work we want, and they will say, ‘How nice, the Church, what good social work the Church does’. But if we say that we do this because those people [we help] are the flesh of Christ, there is scandal. And that is the truth, that is the revelation of Jesus: that presence of Jesus incarnate.”

And “this is the point,” said Pope Francis. “Always there will be the [temptation] to do good things without the scandal of the Incarnate Word, without the scandal of the Cross.” Instead, we must “be true to this scandal, to this reality that scandalises.” It is, “better this way: the coherence of the faith.” The Pope then recalled how the Apostle John says: “Those who deny that the Word came in the flesh, are from the antichrist; they are the antichrist.” On the other hand, he continued, “Only those who say that the Word is come in the flesh are of the Holy Spirit.” Pope Francis then said, “It would do us all good to think about this: the Church is not a cultural organisation that [includes] religion and social work.”:

“The Church is the family of Jesus. The Church confesses that Jesus is the Son of God come in the flesh: that is the scandal, that is the reason why they persecuted Jesus. In the end, [the answer that] Jesus had not wanted to [give] to these, to the question, ‘With what authority are you doing this?’ He gives to the high priest. ‘But, at the end of: Thou art the Son of God? - Yes!’ [He was] sentenced to death for that. This is the core of the persecution. If we become “reasonable” Christians, “social” Christians, Christians who only do philanthropy, what will be the consequence? That we will never have martyrs: that will be the consequence.”

When, however, we Christians tell the truth, that “The Son of God is come, and was made flesh,” when we “preach the scandal of the Cross, persecutions will come, the Cross will come,” and that “will be fine,” for “such is our life”:

“We ask the Lord not to be ashamed to live with this scandal of the Cross. [We ask Him for] wisdom: the wisdom to ask not to be trapped by the spirit of the world, that will always make to us polite suggestions, civil proposals, good proposals – but behind those there is precisely the negation of the fact that the Word came in the flesh, of the Incarnation of the Word. That, in the end, is what scandalises those who persecute Jesus, that is what destroys the work of the devil. So be it.”

The Cardinal Archbishop of Havana, Jaime Ortega, concelebrated the Mass, with a group of the Holy Father’s lay attendants, the Gentlemen of His Holiness, in the congregation.


Pope Francis recieves president of Uruguay

(Vatican Radio) On the morning of Saturday, June 1, the Pope Francis received in audience Mr José Alberto Mujica Cordano, President of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. The president subsequently met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Secretary of State, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States.

The cordial discussions provided an opportunity for an exchange of information and reflections on the socio-political situation of the country and its role in the region. In this perspective issues of common interest were discussed, including the integral development of the person, and respect for human rights, justice, and social peace. The discussions also touched upon the contributions made by the Catholic Church in the public debate on these issues, and its contributions to international peace, as well as its service to the whole society, especially in the areas education and charity.