On the Mercy of Christ

Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s address before and after the recitiation of the Angelus today in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear brothers and sisters, hello!

The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the greatest human expression of divine love. It was just on Friday, in fact, that we celebrated the solemnity of the Heart of Christ, and this feast sets the tone for the whole month. Popular piety greatly values symbols and the Heart of Jesus is the symbol par excellence of God’s mercy; but it is not an imaginary symbol, it is a real symbol, which represents the center, the source from which flows the salvation of all humanity.

In the Gospels we find various references to the Heart of Jesus, for example, in the passage in which Christ himself says: “Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened; I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon yourselves, and learn from me; I am gentle and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:28-29). Then there is John’s account of Christ’s death, which is fundamental for this theme. St. John, in fact, bears witness to to what he saw on Calvary, that is, that a soldier, when Jesus was already dead, pierced his side with a lance and from that wound blood and water poured out (cf. John 19:33-34). John recognized in that apparently fortuitous sign the fulfillment of the prophecies: from the Heart of Jesus, the Lamb immolated on the cross, forgiveness and life flows forth for all men.

But Jesus’ mercy is not only a sentiment, it is a force that gives life, that revives man! Today’s Gospel says this too in the episode of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17). Jesus, with his disciples, is entering Nain, a Galilean village, at the same time that a funeral is taking place: a young man is being carried on the bier, the only son of a widow. Jesus’ gaze immediately comes to rest upon the weeping mother. The evangelist Luke says: “Seeing her the Lord immediately felt great compassion for her” (7:13). This “compassion” is God’s love for man, it is mercy, that is, God’s attitude in the encounter with human misery, with our indigence, our suffering, our anxiety. The biblical term “compassion” recalls the maternal viscera: mothers, in fact, experience a singular reaction in the face of suffering children. This is how God loves us Scripture says.

And what is the fruit of this love, this mercy? It is life! Jesus says to the widow of Nain: “Do not weep!” and then he calls the dead man and he awakens as from sleep (7:13-15). Let us think about this, it is beautiful: God’s mercy gives man life, it brings him back from death. The Lord always looks upon us with mercy; let us not forget it, he always looks upon us with, he awaits us with mercy. Let us not be afraid to approach him! He has a merciful heart! If we show him our inner wounds, our sins, he will always forgive us. He is pure mercy! Let us go to Jesus!

Let us turn to the Virgin Mary: her immaculate heart, the heart of a mother, shared in God’s “compassion” as far as possible, especially in the hour of the passion and death of Jesus. Help us, Mary, to be meek, humble and merciful with our brothers.

[Following the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father made these remarks:]

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today in Krakow 2 Polish religious sisters are being beatified: Zofia Czeska Maciejowska, who in the early part of the 17th century founded the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and Malgorzata Lucja Szewczyk, who in the 19th  century founded the Congregation of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sorrowful Mother of God. With the Church that is in Krakow we offer thanks to God!

I greet with affection all the pilgrims present today: the parish groups, families, school children, associations, movements. Greetings to all of you!

I greet the faithful who have come from Mumbai, India.

I greet the Movement of Family Love of Rome; the confraternities and the volunteers of the Shrine of Mongiovino near Perugia; the Franciscan Youth of Umbria; the “House of Charity” from Lecce; the faithful of the province of Modena, whom I encourage in reconstruction; and the faithful of Ceprano. I greet the pilgrims from Ortona, where the remains of the Apostle Thomas are venerated. They have made a journey “from Thomas to Peter”: thank you!

Today let us not forget God’s love, Jesus’ love: he looks upon us, he loves us and awaits us. He is all heart and mercy. Let us go to Jesus with confidence, he will always forgive us.

Have a good Sunday and a good lunch!

[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]
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