Pope to Typhoon Victims: Jesus Will Not Let You Down

Promises Them That Christ Understands Their Pain, Has a Message for Their Hearts

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Pope Francis promised the victims of Typhoon Yolanda today that the Lord and his Mother will never let them down, in a moving, improvised homily given in Tacloban, which was devastated by the November 2013 typhoon.

Before beginning his homily, the Pope paused at the microphone in silence for a brief moment, then asking the congregation, all clad in rain ponchos, as was the Pope himself, if he could speak in Spanish. “I have a translator, a good translator,” he explained, as the crowd assented with applause.

He went on to reflect about Jesus the High Priest, who endured all of our sufferings from the cross, as some in the crowd were moved to tears.

The Pontiff said that when from Rome he saw the news of the typhoon, it was then that he decided to make the trip to the Philippines.

“I am here to be with you. …,” he said. “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 is there nailed to the cross [indicating the crucifix]. And from there, he does not let us down.”

The Pope spoke of Christ’s reign from the cross, saying that “he is capable of understanding us, as we heard in the first reading. In everything, the same as us.”

He spoke of Jesus as “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,” the Pope said to the vast crowd. “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.”

Suffering first

The Holy Father reiterated, “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.”

Then, speaking of the presence of Mary, he said that in moments of greatest difficulty, when there is temptation to rebel, that then as a child, we must hold her and say, “Mama.”

“It is perhaps the only word that we can say in such difficult times: Mother, Mom.”

The Pope then invited the congregation to hold a moment of silence, telling them, “Let us look to Christ on the cross. He understands us because he endured everything. And let us look to our mother … Say to the mother what you feel in your hearts.”

After the congregation’s prayer, the Pope again stressed, “We are not alone. Let us know that we have a mother Mary and our great brother, Jesus.”

He added that as well, those who came to support the typhoon victims are their brothers, and the victims themselves strengthened their fraternity, “because we helped each other.”

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

After Communion, the Pope again improvised in Spanish, saying, “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.”

On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text of simultaneous translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-homily-at-site-of-typhoon-yolanda

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