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Hope

Christian hope is a humble and strong virtue that supports us, so that we do not drown under the many difficulties we face in life. Hope in the Lord never disappoints us; it’s a font of joy and peace in our hearts.

Pope Francis Homily
Casa St Martha
17 March 2016

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Gospel of St Mark 10:46 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2010:46-52

There is an interesting detail.  Jesus asks his disciples to go and call Bartimaeus.  They address the blind man with two expressions, which only Jesus uses in the rest of the Gospel.  First they say to him: “Take heart!”, which literally means “have faith, strong courage!”.  Indeed, only an encounter with Jesus gives a person the strength to face the most difficult situations.  The second expression is “Rise!”, as Jesus said to so many of the sick, whom he took by the hand and healed.  His disciples do nothing other than repeat Jesus’ encouraging and liberating words, leading him directly to Jesus, without lecturing him.  Jesus’ disciples are called to this, even today, especially today: to bring people into contact with the compassionate Mercy that saves.  When humanity’s cry, like Bartimaeus’, becomes stronger still, there is no other response than to make Jesus’ words our own and, above all, imitate his heart.  Moments of suffering and conflict are for God occasions of mercy.  Today is a time of mercy!

There are, however, some temptations for those who follow Jesus.  The Gospel shows at least two of them.  None of the disciples stopped, as Jesus did.  They continued to walk, going on as if nothing were happening.  If Bartimaeus was blind, they were deaf: his problem was not their problem.  This can be a danger for us: in the face of constant problems, it is better to move on, instead of letting ourselves be bothered.  In this way, just like the disciples, we are with Jesus but we do not think like him.  We are in his group, but our hearts are not open.  We lose wonder, gratitude and enthusiasm, and risk becoming habitually unmoved by grace.  We are able to speak about him and work for him, but we live far from his heart, which is reaching out to those who are wounded.  This is the temptation: a “spirituality of illusion”: we can walk through the deserts of humanity without seeing what is really there; instead, we see what we want to see.  We are capable of developing views of the world, but we do not accept what the Lord places before our eyes.  A faith that does not know how to root itself in the life of people remains arid and, rather than oases, creates other deserts.

There is a second temptation, that of falling into a “scheduled faith”.  We are able to walk with the People of God, but we already have our schedule for the journey, where everything is listed: we know where to go and how long it will take; everyone must respect our rhythm and every problem is a bother.  We run the risk of becoming the “many” of the Gospel who lose patience and rebuke Bartimaeus.  Just a short time before, they scolded the children (cf. 10:13), and now the blind beggar: whoever bothers us or is not of our stature is excluded.  Jesus, on the other hand, wants to include, above all those kept on the fringes who are crying out to him.  They, like Bartimaeus, have faith, because awareness of the need for salvation is the best way of encountering Jesus.

In the end, Bartimaeus follows Jesus on his path (cf. v. 52).  He did not only regain his sight, but he joined the community of those who walk with Jesus.”

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“The Christian communities are called to offer support to the educational mission of families, and they do so first of all with the light of the Word of God.”

 May 20, 2015

http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/general-audience-on-the-education-of-children

This is so important in family life … the education of our youngest in our family … our children. If the foundations of family life are rock solid based on traditional family values, then our children will face the world as good, strong, healthy citizens of society.

“Today, dear Brothers and Sisters, I wish to welcome you because I have seen so many families among you. Good morning to all the families! We continue to reflect on the family. Today we pause to reflect on an essential characteristic of the family, namely, its natural vocation to educate the children so that they grow in responsibility for themselves and for others. What we heard from the Apostle Paul at the beginning is so beautiful: “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, lest they become discouraged” (Colossians 3:20-21). This is a wise rule: the child is educated to listen to his parents and to obey his parents who must not command in a bad way, lest they discourage the children. The children, in fact, must grow without being discouraged, step by step. If you parents say to the children: “Let’s go up that flight of steps” and you take them by the hand and step by step you make them go up, things will go well. But if you say: ”Go up! – ‘But I can’t” – “Go!” this is called exasperating the children, asking the children to do what they are not capable of doing. Therefore, the relation between parents and children must be one of wisdom, of very great balance. Children, obey your parents, this pleases God. And you, parents, do not exasperate your children, asking them to do things they cannot do. And this must be done so that the children grow in responsibility for themselves and for others.

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2015-05-19 Vatican Radio

Pope Francis said on Tuesday (May 19th) many people like the Rohingya of Myanmar or the Christians and Yazidis in Iraq have been forced to say farewell to their homes and the lives of all of us are marked by farewells of varying importance.  He said each of us should reflect on our own final farewell from this life and what it means for Christians to entrust themselves to God. The Pope’s words came during his morning Mass at the Santa Marta residence.

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-we-should-think-about-our-final-farewell?hootPostID=ad2e81406cb6163a15e14416555df14a

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I think this quote from Pope Francis needs to be covered in stars and flowers and framed in everyone’s house!

To love

Don’t give hatred time. Give time to time. This is useful for us when we have wicked thoughts about others, wicked feeling, when we have hostility, hatred, to not allow it to grow, to stop it, to give time to time. Time puts things in harmony, and makes us see things in the right light. But if you react in a moment of anger, it is certain you will be unjust. You will be unjust. And you will hurt yourself, too. Here’s some advice: time, time in the moment of temptation. The one who pauses gives God time.
Homily
Casa Santa Marta
17 April 2015

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10 Tips for Lent
– Pope Francis

1. Get rid of the lazy addiction to evil :“[Lent] is a ‘powerful’ season, a turning point that can foster change and conversion ineach of us. We all need to improve, to change for the better. Lent helps us and thus we leave behind old habits and the lazy addiction to the evil that deceives and ensnares us.” – General Audience, March 5, 2014

2. Do something that hurts: “Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. Let us not forget that real poverty hurts: no self-denial is real without this dimension of penance. I distrust a charity that costs nothing and does not hurt.” – Lenten Message, 2014

3. Don’t remain indifferent: “Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience. God is not indifferent to our world; he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation.” –Lenten Message, 2015

4. Pray: Make our hearts like yours!: “During this Lent, then, brothers and sisters, let us all ask the Lord:Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is firm and merciful, attentive and generous, a heart which is not closed, indifferent or prey to the globalization of indifference.” – Lenten Message, 2015

5. Take part in the sacraments: “Lent is a favorable time for letting Christ serve us so that we in turn may become more like him. This happens whenever we hear the word of God and receive the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. There we become what we receive: the Body of Christ.” – Lenten Message, 2015

6. Prayer: “In the face of so many wounds that hurt us and could harden our hearts, we are called to dive into the sea of prayer, which is the sea of God’s boundless love, to taste his tenderness. Lent is a time of prayer, of more intense prayer, more prolonged, more assiduous, more able to take on the needs of the brethren; intercessory prayer, to intercede before God for the many situations of poverty and suffering.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

7. Fasting: “We must be careful not to practice a formal fast, or one which in truth ‘satisfies’ us because it makes us feel good about ourselves. Fasting makes sense if it questions our security, and if it also leads to some benefit for others, if it helps us to cultivate the style of the Good Samaritan, who bends down to his brother in need and takes care of him.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

8. Almsgiving: “Today gratuitousness is often not part of daily life where everything is bought and sold. Everything is calculated and measured. Almsgiving helps us to experience giving freely, which leads to freedom from the obsession of possessing, from the fear of losing what we have, from the sadness of one who does not wish to share his wealth with others.” – Homily, March 5, 2014

9. Help the Poor: “In the poor and outcast we see Christ’s face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ. Our efforts are also directed to ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution. When power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth. Our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity, and sharing.” – Lenten Message, 2014

10. Evangelize: “The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope! It is thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news, sharing the treasure entrusted to us, consoling broken hearts and offering hope to our brothers and sisters experiencing darkness.” – Lenten Message, 2014

You probably won’t be able to take huge steps forward in all of these areas. Instead, pick a couple that stand out to you and try to find practical ways to grow in your love of God and your love of your neighbor.

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Pope at Morning Mass: Who Do You Follow?
Asks Whether You Turn to Jesus Who “Warms Hearts,” Or To ”Those Consumed by Money, Power, Moralism”

Vatican City, June 26, 2014 (Zenit.org) | 730 hits

At morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta today, Pope Francis reminded faithful that people followed Jesus since they recognized he was always truly a “good shepherd,” with a loving and merciful voice, and never was like his counterparts “who reduced the faith to moralism, pursued political liberation, or sought deals with power.”

The Pontiff asked those present to consider how Jesus won over the hearts of many. He stressed that Jesus “wasn’t a moralistic, quibbling Pharisee, or a Sadducee who made political deals with the powerful, or a guerrilla who sought the political liberation of his people,” nor was he “a contemplative in a monastery.”

“He was a pastor! A pastor who spoke the language of His people, Who understood, Who spoke the truth, the things of God.”

“He spoke in such a way that the people loved the things of God. That’s why they followed Him,” the Holy Father suggested.

Jesus, the Pope said, “was never far from the people, was never far from His Father.” Jesus “was so joined to the Father, He was one with the Father!” and also was “so very close to the people.” He “had this authority, and this is why the people followed Him.” Contemplating Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the Pope said, it would be good for us to think about who we like to follow.

Before exploring this further, he turned to why Jesus was followed, saying the crowds followed Jesus not only because “they were astonished by His teaching,” but also because his words “brought wonder to their hearts, the wonder of finding something good, great.” Whereas, he added, others spoke, “but they did not reach the people.”

The Pope mentioned four groups of people that were speaking at the time of Jesus: the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Revolutionaries, and the Essenes.

Pharisees:

The Pharisees, he said, were making religion into a chain of commandments, turning the Ten Commandments into “more than three hundred,” loading “this weight” on the backs of the people. The Pope said their obsession with laws and rules essentially became “a reduction of the faith in the Living God,” and led to “moral quibbling” and “contradictions.”

“For example, ‘You have to obey the fourth commandment!’ ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ ‘You have to feed your elderly father, your elderly mother!’ ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ ‘But you know, I can’t because I gave my money to the temple!’; ‘You don’t do that? And your parents starve to death!’ So: contradictions of the cruelest kind of moralistic quibbling,” the Pontiff illustrated.

Sadducees:

This group, the Pope said, “did not have the faith, they had lost the faith! They made it their religious work to make deals with the powers: political powers, economic powers. They were men of power.”

Revolutionaries:

The “revolutionaries,” or the zealots, wanted to cause a revolution to free the people of Israel from the Roman occupation, the Pontiff explained. The people, he added, were wise and knew ”to distinguish when the fruit was ripe and when it was not!” and, “therefore, didn’t follow them.”

Essenes:

The fourth group, the Essenes, were sort of like monks who consecrated their lives to the Lord and were “good people,” the Pope said. However, he cautioned, that “they were far from the people, and the people couldn’t follow them.”

Describing these groups together, the Pope said that though their voices “reached” the people, they did not have the power to “warm the people’s hearts.” However, this is how Jesus was different,” his voice, instead, did. When Jesus “approached to the people,” he could heal their hearts because he could “understand their difficulties,” and unlike others, he “was not ashamed to speak with sinners,” and instead “went out to find them,” he added.

Jesus vs. the Others:

Jesus delighted in being with his people. This is why Jesus is “the Good Shepherd:” his flock of sheep hear His voice and follow Him.

Jesus was “never far,” not from the people, nor from His Father. In fact, he added, he was intimately close with both, and, for this reason, he had a unique “authority” and “this is why the people followed Him.”

What About You?

Francis, then turned to today and asked: “Who do I like to follow? Those who talk to me about abstract things or quibbling morals? Those who talk about the people of God but have no faith and negotiate with political, economic powers? Those who always want to do strange things, destructive things, so-called wars of liberation, but which in the end are not the paths of the Lord? Or a faraway contemplative? Who do I like to follow?”

Leaving this as the final thought, he said, “May this question bring us to prayer, and to ask God the Father, who brings us close to Jesus, to follow Jesus, to be amazed at the things Jesus tells us.” (D.C.L.)

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