God knows what it means to be tired and worn out, and he is here to help us with ours.
Pope Francis’ stressed this in his homily at the first Mass he has presided over in Panama City at the Cathedral of Santa Maria La Antigua, during the third full day of his Apostolic Visit to the country to celebrate World Youth Day. He also consecrated an altar in the newly-restored cathedral during the Mass for priests, religious, and members of lay movements, who had come not only from Panama, but from all over Central America.
Francis’ first visit ever to the Central American county for the occasion of the XXXIV World Youth Day marks the Pontiff’s 26th international trip and his 40th country visited.
Weariness compounded by a ‘wounded Church’
In his homily, Francis warned against the weariness of hope, noting that there is the fatigue from all the commitments, daily tasks and so on, but then another type especially profound, one tied to this difficult phase the Church and its faithful are living through.
“The weariness of hope comes from seeing a Church wounded by sin, which so often failed to hear all those cries that echoed the cry of the Master: “My God, why have you forsaken me?'” he said.
We can get used to living with a weariness of hope before an uncertain and unknown future, he said, noting: “this can pave the way for a grey pragmatism to lodge in the heart of our communities. Everything apparently goes on as usual, but in reality, faith is crumbling and failing.”
One of Greatest Heresies
He also warned against one of the greatest heresies of our time, namely that the Lord and Church has nothing more to say in today’s ever-changing world.
“Disappointed by a reality that we do not understand or that we think has no room for our message, we can open the door to one of the worst heresies possible in our time: the notion that the Lord and our communities have nothing to say or contribute in the new world now being born.”
What once arose to be the salt and light for the world, he noted, ends up stale and worn.
Despite this weariness, the Holy Father encouraged them, urging them to “find the courage to be purified and to recapture the most authentic part of our founding charisms – which are not only for religious life but for the life of Church as a whole – and to see how they can find expression today. ”
“Let us open the door and let our wearied hope return without fear to the deep well of our first love, when Jesus passed our way, gazed at us with mercy and asked us to follow Him.” The Holy Father gave a recommendation: “let us revive the memory of that moment when his eyes met ours, the moment when he made us realize that he loved us, not only personally but also as a community.”
“It means retracing our steps and, in creative fidelity, listening to how the Spirit inspired no specific works, pastoral plans or structures, but instead, through any number of “saints next door” – including the founders of your institutes and the bishops and priests who laid the bases for your communities – he gave life and fresh breath to a particular moment of history when all hope and dignity seemed to be stifled and crushed.”
Jesus Will Do Tomorrow, As He Has Done
The Pope told them to trust, to trust that just as Jesus did yesterday, “He will still do tomorrow: ‘Going to the roots helps us without a doubt to live in the present without fear.'”
“We need to live without fear, responding to life with the passion of being engaged with history, immersed in things. With the passion of lovers”
Wearied hope can be healed, he said, saying it “will enjoy that ‘particular tiredness of heart’ when it is unafraid to return to the place of its first love and to find, in the peripheries and challenges before us today, the same song, the same gaze that inspired the song and the gaze of those who have gone before us.”
After Mass in the Santa María La Antigua, the Pope went to the seminary, where he had lunch with the Archbishop of Panamá, José Domingo Ulloa Mendieta, and 10 young people from around the world.