L'Osservatore Romano

During Morning Homily, Pope Recalls 3 Wonders of Christ's Priesthood

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Also Warns of ‘Unforgivable Blasphemy’

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There are three stages of the priesthood of Christ: He offers Himself; He intercedes for us; He will return to bring us to the Father.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis pointed this out to faithful during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on the day’s reading from the Letter of Hebrews, which speaks about Christ as the Mediator of the Covenant that God has made with human beings.
Speaking on these stages of His priesthood, the Jesuit Pope noted that the first is the redemption.
While the priests of the Old Covenant had to offer sacrifices every year, “Christ offered Himself, once for all, for the forgiveness of sins.”
With this marvel, “He has brought us to the Father… He has re-created the harmony of creation,” the Pope noted.
The second wonder is what the Lord is doing now, namely praying for us. “While we pray here, He is praying for us, “for each one of us,” Francis stressed, and “intercedes.”
“How often, in fact, are priests asked to pray,” the Pope reflected, because “we know that the prayer of the priest has a certain force, especially in the sacrifice of the Mass.”
Unforgivable Blasphemy
The third wonder will be when Christ returns; but this third time will not be in relation to sin, but rather, it will be “to establish the definitive Kingdom,” when He will bring all of us to the Father:
While there is this great wonder of the three stages, Francis warned, “there is also the contrary: the ‘unforgivable blasphemy.’”
“It’s hard to hear Jesus saying these things, but He says it, and if He says it, it is true. ‘Amen I say to you, all will be forgiven the children of men’ – and we know that the Lord forgives everything if we open our hearts a bit. Everything! The sins and even the blasphemies they speak – even blasphemies will be pardoned! – but the one who will have blasphemed the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven in eternity.”
Lord’s forgiveness
To explain this, the Pontiff referred to the great priestly anointing of Jesus, which the Holy Spirit accomplished in the womb of Mary.
“Even Jesus as the High Priest received this anointing. And what was the first anointing? The flesh of Mary with the work of the Holy Spirit. And he who blasphemes about this, blasphemes about the foundation of the love of God, which is the redemption, the re-creation.”
“‘But the Lord does not forgive that wickedness? [you might ask].” “No!” Francis responded, stressing, “The Lord forgives everything!”  However, he lamented that the one who says these things is closed to forgiveness.
“He doesn’t want to be forgiven! He doesn’t allow himself to be forgiven! This is the ugliness of the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: It does not allow itself to be forgiven, because it denies the priestly anointing of Jesus, accomplished by the Spirit.”
Pope Francis concluded, inviting those present to consider that here on the altar the living memorial is made” and to ask for grace from the Lord that our hearts might never be closed – might never be closed! – to this wonder, to this great, freely-given wonder.”

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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