“Combatting the culture of abuse, the loss of credibility, the resulting bewilderment and confusion, and the discrediting of our mission urgently demands of us a renewed and decisive approach to resolving conflicts,” according to Pope Francis. His remarks came in a 3600-word letter to the US bishops, who are meeting for a spiritual retreat January 2-8, 2019. The letter, Dated January 1, 2019, was released by the Vatican on January 3. Preacher to the Papal Household, Capuchin Friar Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., is directing the retreat under the theme of “He appointed Twelve, to be with Him and to Send Out to Preach” based on Mark 3:14. The retreat is taking place at the invitation of Pope Francis who has asked all bishops in the United States to pause in prayer as the Church seeks to respond to the signs of the times.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning! Every Sunday we remember the Lord Jesus’ Resurrection, but in this season after Easter, this Sunday has an even more illuminating meaning. In the Church’s tradition, this Sunday, the first after Easter, was called “in albis.” What does this mean? The expression intended to recall the rite carried out by all those who received Baptism in the Easter Vigil. Each one of them was given a white garment – “alba” – ”white” — to indicate their new dignity as children of God. This is also done today: newborns are given a small symbolic dress, whereas adults put on a true and proper one, as we saw in the Easter Vigil. And, in the past, that white garment was worn for a week. until this Sunday, and from this stems the name in albis deponendis, which means the Sunday in which the white garment is taken off. And thus, the white garment removed, the neophytes began their new life in Christ and in the Church. There is something else. In the Jubilee of the Year 2000, Saint John Paul II established that this Sunday be dedicated to the Divine Mercy. It is true, it was a beautiful intuition: it was the Holy Spirit that inspired him in this. A few months ago we concluded the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy and this Sunday invites us to take up forcefully the grace that comes from God’s mercy. Today’s Gospel is the account of the Risen Jesus’ apparition to the disciples gathered in the Cenacle (cf. John 20:19-31). Saint John writes that, after greeting His disciples, Jesus said to them: “As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” Having said this, He made the gesture of breathing on them and added: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven” (vv. 21-23). See the meaning of mercy that is presented in fact on the day of Jesus’ Resurrection as forgiveness of sins. The Risen Jesus transmitted to His Church, as her first task, His same mission to take to all the concrete proclamation of forgiveness. This is the first task: to proclaim forgiveness. This visible sign of His mercy brings with it peace of heart and the joy of a renewed encounter with the Lord. In the light of Easter, mercy is perceived as a true form of knowledge. And this is important: mercy is a true form of knowledge. We know that one knows through many ways. One knows through the senses, one knows through intuition, through reason and also other ways. Well, one can also know through the experience of mercy, because mercy opens the door of the mind to understand better the mystery of God and of our personal existence. Mercy makes us understand that violence, rancor, vengeance make no sense, and the first victim is the one who lives these sentiments, because he deprives himself of his dignity. Mercy also opens the door of the heart and enables us to express closeness especially to all those who are alone and marginalized, because it makes them feel brothers and children of one Father. It fosters the recognition of all those in need of consolation and makes us find the appropriate words to give them comfort. Brothers and sisters, mercy warms the heart and makes it sensitive to the needs of brothers with sharing and participation. In sum, mercy commits all to be instruments of justice, reconciliation and peace. Let us never forget that mercy is the turnkey in the life of faith, and the concrete way with which we give visibility to Jesus’ resurrection. May Mary, Mother of Mercy, help us to believe and live all this with joy.
During his morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis today proposed a three-step plan for overcoming conflict and living in fraternal communion with one’s neighbor.
He addressed the question of how we ought to love one another, drawing from the Gospel reading of the day, which recounts the Lord’s conversation with His disciples about brotherly love (Mt 5:20-26).
The Pope first recommended a “criterion of realism: of sane realism.”
“If you have something against another and you cannot fix it, look for a [compromise] solution – at least,” he suggested.
The Pontiff acknowledged that a compromise might not be ideal but is at least a good thing and is “realism.”
In order to save many things, in fact, “one must make a deal – and one takes a step, the other takes another step and at least there is peace: a very [imperfect] peace, but a peace agreement [nevertheless].”
We face many difficult situations in life, and, “while we are on the road, we make compromises … and in this way we put a stop to hate and strife among us,” Francis said. Read more at http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-in-morning-homily-gives-3-step-plan-for-overcoming-conflict
[At the end of his homily, Pope Francis spoke of God’s love for us – to read from the beginning, link here: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-reflects-on-the-science-of-god-s-tenderness ]
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on those present to not only love others the way God loves us, but more importantly, to let ourselves be loved by God.
“This may sound like heresy, but it is the greatest truth! It is more difficult to let God love us, than to love Him! the Pope exclaimed.
The best way to love Him in return is to open our hearts and let Him love us. Let Him draw close to us and feel Him close to us. This is really very difficult: letting ourselves be loved by Him. And that is perhaps what we need to ask today in the Mass: ‘Lord, I want to love You, but teach me the difficult science, the difficult habit of letting myself be loved by You, . . . . May the Lord give us this grace.”