Pope Francis during today's Mass in Santa Marta


Pope’s Morning Homily: ‘If You Can’t Forgive, You Are Not a Christian’

Reflects on Mercy, Peace and Reconciliation During Mass at Casa Santa Marta

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Mercy, reconciliation and peace are the three aspects Pope Francis reflected on during his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning.

According to Vatican Radio, the Pope drew his homily from today’s readings. “Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.” Jesus says in the Gospel from St. Luke.

The Pope noted, however, that while Christ brought peace, “it was not accepted.”

“Even today, every day on the newspapers, we see that there are wars, destruction, hate, enmity.”

He also took the opportunity to denounce those who manufacture or profit from arms and war.

“There are also many men and women who work hard —  really hard – in order to manufacture lethal weapons, arms that eventually become bathed in the blood of so many innocent people, so many of them,” he said.  

“There are wars (being waged)!  There are these wars and there is also that wickedness of preparing for war, of making weapons (to be used) against other people in order to kill! Peace saves us, peace makes you live, it makes you grow: war annihilates you, it drags you down.”

The 78-year-old Pontiff said that wars can also occur within the Christian community. Today’s reading, he said, stresses the importance of peace and forgiveness for each other.

“If you can’t forgive, you are not a Christian,” he said. “You may be a good man, a good woman…. but you are not doing what our Lord did.”

“What’s more,” he added, “if you can’t forgive, you cannot receive the peace of the Lord. And every day when we pray the ‘Our Father:’ Forgive us as we have forgiven those……It’s a condition. We are trying to ‘convince’ God that we’re good, that we’re good by forgiving:  in reverse.  (It’s just) words, right? As that beautiful song went:  ‘Words, words, words,’ wasn’t it?  I think it was (the Italian singer) Mina who sung it. Words! Forgive one another! Just as the Lord has forgiven us, you do likewise.”

The Pope went on to praise the many men and women who endure trials and tribulations in order to support their families. These heroic men and women, he said, “are the just ones.”

Be Merciful

Continuing his homily, Pope Francis recalled another important aspect of today’s Gospel: mercy.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven,” Jesus says.

Reflecting on God’s mercy, the Jesuit Pope said that priests must also show this mercy, particularly in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

“If you are a priest and you can’t manage to be merciful, tell your bishop who will give you a job in administration but please don’t go into the confessional!” the Pope exclaimed.

“A priest who is not merciful does a lot of harm in the confessional! He beats people. ‘No, Father, I am merciful but I’m a bit stressed….?’ It’s true…. Before going to hear confessions, go to your doctor who will give you some pills to make you less stressed! But show mercy!  And also show mercy among ourselves. ‘But this person did that….  What have I done?’ ‘That person is more of a sinner than me!’  Which of us can say that, that the other person is more of a sinner than me?  None of us can say this!  Only our Lord knows this.”

Concluding his homily, Pope Francis said that Christians are called to convey feelings of tenderness, goodness, humility, meekness and magnanimity. This style, he said, “is the style in which Jesus made peace and reconciliation.”

“May the Lord give all of us the grace to support one another, to forgive, to be merciful, just as the Lord is merciful with us.”

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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