‘Jesus Transforms, Renews, & Strengthens Everything,’ Pope Tells Peruvians

During Mass in Huanchaco, Reminds God Always ‘Extends His Hand to Us’

Vatican Media Screenshot

With Jesus, all can be an opportunity for hope, for the Lord transforms, renews and strengthens everything.

Pope Francis gave this heartfelt reminder during the Mass over which he presided in the waterfront esplanade of Huanchaco in the Peruvian city of Trujillo, Jan. 20, 2018, during his Apostolic Visit to Chile and Peru.

Like the Apostles who faced the storm on the sea, the Argentine Pontiff recalled, the people of Huanchaco know the power of nature and experienced its force, referring to the tragic “Niño costero” whose painful consequences are still present in so many families, especially those not yet able to rebuild their homes.

The Pope said this too was a reason why he wished to be present and pray with them today.

We bring to this Eucharistic celebration that difficult moment that questions our faith and often causes it to waver, the Pope said, noting, “We want to unite ourselves to Jesus.”

“He knows our pain and our trials; he endured the greatest of sufferings in order to accompany us in our own trials. The crucified Jesus wants to be close to us in every painful situation, to give us a hand and to help lift us up.”

Because He entered into our history and wanted to share in our journey and touch our wounds, the Pontiff reminded, “Ours is a God who is not unfamiliar with what we feel and suffer; on the contrary, in the midst of our pain, he stretches out His hand to us.”

In times when our spirit and deepest convictions are challenged, the Pope said, we realize how important it is to stand united, not alone, and to be filled with that unity which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. I know that, in the time of darkness, when you felt the brunt of the Niño, these lands kept moving forward.

In the Gospel account, we see how the virgins who did not have oil went to the town to buy some. At the crucial moment of their lives, they realized that their lamps were empty and that they lacked what was essential to find the path of authentic joy.

Faith Rebuilds Hope When All Seems Lost

“Faith opens us to a love that is concrete, practical, generous and compassionate, a love that can build and rebuild hope when it seems that all is lost.”

In this way, we share in God’s own work, which the apostle John describes in showing us a God who wipes the tears of his children. God carries out this divine work with the same tender love that a mother has when she dries the tears of her children. What a beautiful question the Lord will ask us: how many tears did you dry today?

Other “storms,” the Pope said, can hit these coasts, with devastating effects on the lives of the children of these lands. These storms too make us question ourselves as a community and test the strength of our spirit. The Pope acknowledged that we often wonder about how to face these storms, or how to help our children pull through in these situations.

How to Face ‘Storms’? Jesus

“I want to tell you that no better way exists than that of the Gospel: it is called Jesus Christ.”

“Fill your lives always with the Gospel. I want to encourage you to be a community that lets itself be anointed by the Lord with the oil of the Spirit. He transforms, renews and strengthens everything. In Jesus, we have the strength of the Spirit not to treat as natural the things that hurt us, that dry up our spirit and, what is worse, rob us of hope.”

In Jesus, the Pope said, we have the Spirit who keeps us united so that we can support one another and take a stand against whatever would take away all that is best in our families. “In Jesus, God makes us a believing community able to sustain itself; a community that hopes and therefore struggles to reverse and transform every adversity; a community that loves, because it will not let us fold our arms. With Jesus, the soul of this town of Trujillo can continue to be called ‘the city of eternal spring,’ because with him, everything is an opportunity for hope.”

Pope Francis concluded, acknowledging that the land’s devotion to Mary always sustains and lifts them up to Jesus, and praying Mary “cover us with her mantle and always bring us to her Son.”

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