Pope's Homily at Roman Parish of San Gregorio Magno

«Only Jesus power is able to help us to come out of these dead areas of the heart»

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On Sunday, Pope Francis went on a pastoral visit to the parish of San Gregorio Magno (Saint Gregory the Great) at Magliana, in the western sector of the diocese of Rome.

On his arrival, he greeted the faithful in the Square in front of the church, and met with children and youth in the sports field, then with the sick and the elderly,  engaged couples and couples who recently baptized their children. Afterwards the Holy Father met with different social realities present in the territory of the parish and heard the confession of some penitents.

Finally the Pope presided over the celebration of Holy Mass, at the end of which he greeted the relatives of the priests.

Following is a translation of the transcript of the homily the Holy Father gave in the course of the Holy Mass.

* * *

Today’s three Readings tell us about the Resurrection; they tell to us about life. That beautiful promise of the Lord: “”Behold, I will open your graves, and raise you from your graves” (Ezekiel 37:12); it is the promise of the Lord who has life and the strength to give life, so that those who are dead can come to life again. The Second Reading tells us that we are under the Holy Spirit and Christ is in us, his Spirit will resurrect us. And in the Third Reading, the Gospel, we saw how Jesus gave life to Lazarus. Lazarus, who was dead, came back to life.

I simply want to say a very small thing. All of us have within some areas, some parts of our heart that are not alive, that are somewhat dead; and some have so many parts of the heart that are dead, a real spiritual necrosis! And when we are aware that we have this situation, we wish to get out of it, but we cannot. Only Jesus’ power, only Jesus’ power is able to help us to come out of these dead areas of the heart, these tombs of sin, which we all have. We are all sinners! However, if we are very attached to these sepulchers, and guard them within us, and do not want our whole heart to rise again to life, we become corrupt and our soul begins to give out, as Martha says, a “bad odor” (John 11:39), the odor of a person who is attached to sin. And Lent is for this. So that all of us, who are sinners, do not end up attached to sin, but are able to hear what Jesus said to Lazarus: “He cried out with a loud voice: ‘Lazarus, come out!’” (John 11:43). Today I invite you to think for a moment, in silence, here: where, within, is my necrosis? Where is the dead part of my soul? Where is my tomb? Think a minute, all in silence. We think: what is that part of my heart which can be corrupted, because I am attached to sins or to sin or to some sin? And remove the stone, and remove the stone of shame and let the Lord say to us, as he said to Lazarus: “”Come out!” So that our whole soul is healed, that it rise again by the love of Jesus, by the strength of Jesus. He is able to forgive us. We are all in need of it! All of us. We are all sinners, but we must be careful not to become corrupt! Sinners we are, but He forgives us. We hear Jesus’ voice that, with the power of God, says to us:  “Come out!” Come out of that tomb you have within. Come out, I will give you life, I will make you happy, I will bless you, I want you for myself.”

May the Lord today, on this Sunday, in which there is so much talk of the Resurrection, give us all the grace we need to rise again from our sins, to come out of our tombs, with Jesus’ voice who calls us, to come out, to come to Him.

And something else: in the Fifth Sunday of Lent, those who were preparing for Baptism in the Church, received the Word of God. This community today will also make the same gesture. And I would like to give you the Gospel, so that you can take the Gospel home. This Gospel is a pocket Gospel , which we can always have with us, to read some passage; to open it and thus read something of the Gospel, when I am in a queue or on the bus, but when I am comfortable in the bus, because if I’m not comfortable, I must mind my pockets! Always read a little piece of the Gospel. It will do us so much good, so much good! — a little bit every day. It is a present which I have brought for your whole community, so that today, the Fifth Sunday of Lent, you receive the Word of God and so you are also able to hear the voice of Jesus who says to you: “Come out! Come! Come out!” — and prepare yourselves for the Easter night.

[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]
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