Pope's Homily During Mass at Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah Parish in Rome
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Here is the translation of Pope Francis' homily during Sunday Mass at the parish of Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah in Rome today.
The Holy Father’s homily was especially directed toward children at the parish who were making their first communion. He also engages in a dialogue with them.
Dear brothers and sisters,
The pastor’s words made me think of a beautiful thing about Our Lady. When Our Lady, just having received the announcement that she would be the mother of Jesus, and the announcement that her cousin Elizabeth was expecting, the Gospel says, she set out in haste; she did not wait. She did not say to herself, “But I’m pregnant now, so I had better look after my health. My cousin will have friends who perhaps will help her.” She heard something and she “set out in haste.” It is lovely to think about these actions of Our Lady, our Mother, who sets out in haste, because it tells us about helping. She goes to help, she does not go to boast and say to her cousin: “Now listen, I’m in charge now because I am God’s mamma!” No she did not do that. She went to help! And Our Lady is always like this. She is our Mother, who always comes in haste when we need help. It would be nice to add to the litanies of Our Lady one that says “Lady who sets out in haste, pray for us!” This is beautiful, isn’t it? Because she always goes in haste she does not forget her children. And when her children are in difficulty, have a need and they call upon her, she goes in haste. And this makes us safe, the safety of always having our mother near, at our side. We go, we travel better in life when we have our mamma near. Let us think about this grace of Our Lady, this grace that she gives us: of being with us, but without making us wait. Always! She is – we have confidence in this – there to help us. Our Lady who always goes in haste, for us.
Our Lady also helps us to understand God well, Jesus, to understand the life of Jesus, the life of God, to understand well what the Lord is, how the Lord is, who is God. I ask you, children: “Who knows who God is?” Raise your hand, tell me. Okay! Creator of the earth. And how many Gods are there? 1? But they told me that there are 3: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! How do we explain this? Is there 1 or is there 3? 1? 1? And how do we explain that one is the Father, the other the Son and the other Holy Spirit? Louder, louder! Good answer. They are 3 in 1, 3 persons in 1. And what does the Father do? The Father is the origin, the Father, who created everything, created us. What does the Son do? What does Jesus do? Who knows how to say what Jesus does? He loves us? And what else? What did Jesus do on the earth? He saved us! And Jesus came to give his life for us. The Father creates the world; Jesus saves us. And the Holy Spirit, what does he do? He loves us! He gives you love! All the children together: the Father creates everything, he creates the world, Jesus saves us; and the Holy Spirit? He loves us! And this is the Christian life: talking to the Father, talking to the Son, talking to the Holy Spirit. Jesus saved us, but he also walks with us in life. Is this true? And how does he walk? What does he do when he walks with us in life? This is hard. The one who answers it wins! What does Jesus do when he walks with us? Louder! The first one: he helps us. He guides us! Very good! He walks with us, he helps us, he guides us and he teaches us how to go forward. And Jesus also gives us the strength to walk. Is that right? He supports us! Good! In difficulties, right? And even in school work! He supports us, he helps us, he guides us, he supports us. Okay! Jesus is always with us. Good. But listen, Jesus gives us strength. How does Jesus give us strength? You know how he gives us strength! Louder, I can’t hear you! In Communion he gives us strength, the way he helps us is by giving us strength. He comes to us. But when you say “He gives us Communion,” a piece of bread gives you so much strength? It’s not bread? It’s bread? This is bread but what is on the altar, is it bread or not? It looks like bread! It’s not really bread. What is it? It is the body of Jesus. Jesus comes into our heart. Well, let’s all think about this: the Father gave us life; Jesus gave us salvation, he accompanies us, he guides us, he supports us, he teaches us; and the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit give us? He loves us! He gives us love. Let us think about God like this and ask Our Lady, Our Lady who is our Mother, always quick to help us, that she help us always to understand well how God is: how the Father is, how the Son is and how the Holy Spirit is. Amen.
[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]