Pope Francis has celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for St. John Paul II at the Polish national church in central Rome.
In his homilyat the Church of Saint Stanislaw on Sunday, Pope Francis praised the fortitude of Poles, saying they are “part of a people that has been much tried in its history.”
They “know well” that to enter into glory “we must past through the passion and the cross,” he said.
He added they know these things “not from study but by living through them.”
Turning to Karol Wojtyla who would later be elected Pope in 1978, Francis said John Paul had visited the Polish church in Rome “more than 80 times!”. John Paul II was “a worthy son of his earthly homeland, followed this path,” the Pope said. “He followed it in an exemplary way.”
“In the moments of sadness and of dejection, when everything seemed lost, he never lost hope, because his faith and hope were fixed in God,” Francis said. “And so he was a rock, a rock for this community that prays here…”
“And what about us? Are we ready to follow this road?,” the Pope asked.
Reflecting on the Gospel reading, which tells the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, the Holy Father said: “We are wayfarers, but not vagrants! We are on a journey but we know where we are going! Vagrants do not know this.”
He reminded those present of John Paul II’s words: “We are pilgrims but not vagabonds!”
These disciples, Francis said, were wandering as they did not know where they would be nor what would be in store. Noting their uplifted reaction when returning, he said “they were witnesses of the hope that is Christ! Because they encountered Him, the Wayfarer who has risen. This Jesus is the Wayfarer who has risen who journeys with us.
“Jesus is here today, he is here with us. He is here in his Word, He is here on the altar, journeying with us, He is the Wayfarer who has risen,” the Pope said.
“We too can become ‘wayfarers who have risen’ if his Word burns in our heart, and his Eucharist opens our eyes to faith and nourishes us with hope and charity,” the Pope contiuned. “We too can travel with our brothers and sisters who are sad and desperate, and we can warm their hearts with the Gospel, and we can break the bread of brotherhood with them.”
Concluding, the Holy Father prayed that Saint John Paul II help us to be “wayfarers who have risen.” (D.C.L.)
On Zenit’s Web page: