Pope's Homily at Site of Typhoon Yolanda

«So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you. But the Lord does know what to say to you»

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Here is a transcription of the simultaneous translation offered by Pope Francis’ translator for the homily the Pope improvised in Spanish at a Mass celebrated today in Tacloban, the site devastated 14 months ago by Typhoon Yolanda.

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[In English]: If you allow me, I prefer today to speak in Spanish. I have a translator, a good translator. May I do this? May I? [Applause] Thank you very much.

[Simultaneous translation:]

The first reading that we heard says that we have a high priest who is capable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, one who has similarly been tested in every way but without sin. Jesus is like us. Jesus lived like us. He is the same as us in every respect, except sin. 

Because he was not a sinner, but to be more like us, he assumed our condition and our sin. He made himself unto sin. This is what St. Paul tells us. And Jesus always goes before us. And when we pass and experience a cross, he passed there before us. And if today we find ourselves 14 months afterward here, 14 months precisely after the typhoon Yolanda hit,  it is because we have the security of knowing that we’re not going to weaken in our faith because Jesus has been there before us. [applause] In his passion, he assumed all our pain. 

I’d like to tell you something close to my heart. When I saw, from Rome, that catastrophe, I felt that I had to be here. [applause]

And on those very days, I decided to come here [applause].

I am here to be with you. A little bit late, I have to say, but I’m here [applause].

I have come to tell you that Jesus is Lord, that he never lets us down. «Father,» you might say to me, «I was let down because I’ve lost so many things, I lost my house, my livelihood, my family. I’ve illness.» It’s true if you would say that. And I respect those sentiments. But Jesus there nailed to the cross [indicating the crucifix]. And from there, he does not let us down. [applause]

He was consecrated as Lord on that throne and there he experienced all calamities that we experience. Jesus is Lord. And he is Lord from the cross. He is there for you. Therefore he is capable of understanding us, as we heard in the first reading. In everything, the same as us. That is why we have a Lord who is capable of crying with us, capable of walking with us in the most difficult moments of life.

So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you. But the Lord does know what to say to you. Some of you lost part of your families. All I can do is keep silence. And I walk with you all with my silent heart.

Many of you have asked the Lord, «Why Lord?» And to each of you, to your heart, Christ responds from his heart upon the cross. 

I have no more words to tell you. Let us look to Christ. He is the Lord. And he understands us because he underwent all the trials that we, that you have experienced. 

And beside the cross was his mother. We are like this little child just there, who in moments when we have so much pain, when we no longer understand anything, all we can do is grab hold of her hand firmly, and say, Mom, as a child does to his mother when he or she feels fear. It is perhaps the only word that we can say in such difficult times: Mother, Mom.

Let us together hold a moment of silence. Let us look to Christ on the cross. He understands us because he endured everything. And let us look to our mother, and like that little child, let us grab hold of her mantle, and with a true heart, say Mother. In silence, let us say this prayer. Say to the mother what you feel in your hearts.


We are not alone. Let us know that we have a mother Mary and our great brother, Jesus. We are not alone. And we also have many brothers who in this moment of catastrophe came to help you. And we too, because of this, we feel more brothers and sisters because we helped each other. 

This is what comes from my heart and forgive me if I have no other words to express this. 

But please know Jesus never lets you down. Please know that the love and tenderness of Mother Mary never lets you down. And holding on to her mantle and with the power that comes from Jesus’ love on the cross, let us move forward, always forward. And walk together as brothers and sisters in the Lord, forward. 

[In English:] Thank you very much.

[After Communion, the Pope added a prayer in Spanish. Here is the simultaneous translation provided by his translator:]

We have just celebrated the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. Jesus preceded us. He went there before us on the journey. And he accompanies us every time we come together to pray and celebrate. Thank you Lord for being today with us. Thank you Lord for sharing in our pain. Thank you Lord for giving us hope. Thank you Lord for your great mercy. Thank you Lord because you wished to be like one of us. Thank you Lord because you are always near to us even in the moments of the cross. Thank you Lord for giving us hope. Lord, may hope never be robbed from us, taken away from us. Thank you Lord because in the moments of greatest darkness in your life, on the cross, you remembered us and you left us a mother, your mother. Thank you Lord for not leaving us as orphans

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