Pope Francis’ word

You might know that Pope Francis daily celebrates Mass at the chapel where he lives, Santa Marta. He reflections on the daily readings are available on the Vatican News website’s page, Word of the Day.  As an ever work-in-progress homilist, I greatly appreciate his insights and the clarity (and brevity) of his homily. From Pope Francis:

Vigilance! But, three criteria, eh! Do not confuse the truth. Jesus fights the devil: first criterion. Second criterion: the one who is not with Jesus is against Jesus. There is no middle ground. Third criterion: vigilance over our heart because the devil is clever. He is never cast out forever! That will happen only on the last day.” (Homily, Santa Marta, 11 October 2013)

Pope Francis on Mary, Mother of God

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Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).  In these words, Luke describes the attitude with which Mary took in all that they had experienced in those days.  Far from trying to understand or master the situation, Mary is the woman who can treasure, that is to say, protect and guard in her heart, the passage of God in the life of his people.  Deep within, she had learned to listen to the heartbeat of her Son, and that in turn taught her, throughout her life, to discover God’s heartbeat in history.  She learned how to be a mother, and in that learning process she gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing what it is to be a Son.  In Mary, the eternal Word not only became flesh, but also learned to recognize the maternal tenderness of God.  With Mary, the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles, the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise.  With Mary, he discovered himself a Son of God’s faithful people. Continue reading

Pope Francis on Divine Mercy

Here is the opening of Pope Francis’ homily on Divine Mercy Sunday. The gospel is the well-known account of the Sunday evening of the Resurrection: “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews…” It is the story we mostly remember as the story about “doubting Thomas.” But all the disciples were there. People who had heard the women’s account of having encountered the Risen Jesus. Perhaps the travelers to Emmaus had already returned. What they found was fear and locked doors. Continue reading

Easter Vigil – Pope’s Homily

“After the Sabbath” (Mt 28:1), the women went to the tomb. This is how the Gospel of this holy Vigil began: with the Sabbath. It is the day of the Easter Triduum that we tend to neglect as we eagerly await the passage from Friday’s cross to Easter Sunday’s Alleluia. This year however, we are experiencing, more than ever, the great silence of Holy Saturday. We can imagine ourselves in the position of the women on that day. They, like us, had before their eyes the drama of suffering, of an unexpected tragedy that happened all too suddenly. They had seen death and it weighed on their hearts. Pain was mixed with fear: would they suffer the same fate as the Master? Then too there was fear about the future and all that would need to be rebuilt. A painful memory, a hope cut short. For them, as for us, it was the darkest hour. Continue reading

The poverty of Lent

Here is another Lenten reflection question for you: What do St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis, and belonging have in common? It was almost six years ago, in March 2013, that Pope Francis famously, and perhaps controversially, said that he wanted a “poor church for the poor.” Not surprisingly, this raised an eyebrow or two. Many online commentaries excoriated the pope as an opponent of capitalism, socialist-in-religious clothing, or another South-American-reactionary-liberation theologian. Equally, many have concluded that Pope Francis wants Catholics to devote greater attention to poverty-alleviation social programs. Both miss the deeper meaning Pope Francis attaches to poverty. Continue reading

Lenten Advice

Every year, as Lent approaches, parishioners ask for advice: What should I do for Lent? I am always happy to help a sister or brother in Christ to make Lent a time of spiritual growth. Maybe this year you might want to “upgrade” your source of Lenten advice. Well, who better to pick for as your Lenten spiritual director than Pope Francis? Here is his advice for a Lenten period of deepening your spiritual life. Continue reading

Changing the Lord’s Prayer?

Recently, Pope Francis offered that the church should modify the translation of the “Our Father” to clear up the confusion around the phrase “lead us not into temptation.” “That is not a good translation,” the Pope said. The phrase in question appear in Matthew 6:13 and Luke 11:4 as μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν. The Greek verb for lead is “eisphero” and the original Greek word for testing or temptation is “peirasmos.” Continue reading

Pope Francis on Mary, Mother of God

popeHere is the full text of Pope Francis’s homily for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk 2:19).  In these words, Luke describes the attitude with which Mary took in all that they had experienced in those days.  Far from trying to understand or master the situation, Mary is the woman who can treasure, that is to say, protect and guard in her heart, the passage of God in the life of his people.  Deep within, she had learned to listen to the heartbeat of her Son, and that in turn taught her, throughout her life, to discover God’s heartbeat in history.  She learned how to be a mother, and in that learning process she gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing what it is to be a Son.  In Mary, the eternal Word not only became flesh, but also learned to recognize the maternal tenderness of God.  With Mary, the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles, the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise.  With Mary, he discovered himself a Son of God’s faithful people. Continue reading

Still working on it…

popeSeveral weeks ago I wrote “Not yet…” an article that acknowledged Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, the Joy of Love – and noted that I was glad people were asking me about it, but I needed time to read it, re-read it, and think about it. I can report that I have now read it, have re-read parts of it, and am still thinking about. What I can offer at this point is some thoughts from here and there – and offer them cautiously at that. Continue reading