Because of the cancellation of the Holy Father Francis’ visit to the “A. Gemelli” Clinic and to the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Catholic University of Rome, the Eucharistic Celebration on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Friday June 27 was presided by Cardinal Angelo Scola, President of the Toniolo Institute.
The following is a translation of the homily prepared by Pope Francis, which Cardinal Angelo Scola read in the course of the Holy Mass.
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THE HOLY FATHER’S HOMILY
“The Lord set His love upon you and chose you” (Deuteronomy 7:7).
God has bound Himself to us, He has chosen us, and this bond is forever, not so much because we are faithful, but because the Lord is faithful and endures our infidelities, our slowness, our falls.
God is not afraid to bind Himself. This might seem strange to us: sometimes we call God “the Absolute,” which means literally ”free, independent, unlimited”, but in reality, our Father is “absolute” always and only in love: out of love He enters into a Covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, with Jacob and so on. He loves bonds, He creates bonds, bonds that liberate, that do not constrict.
With the Psalm we repeated: “The love of the Lord is everlasting” (cf. Psalm 103). Instead, of us men and women another Psalm states: “the faithful have vanished from among the sons of men” (cf. Psalm 12:2). Today in particular fidelity is a value in crisis because we are induced to seek always change, an alleged novelty, negotiating the roots of our existence, of our faith without fidelity to its roots. However, a society does not go forward: it can make great technological progress, but not an integral progress, of the whole man and of all men.
God’s faithful love for His people was manifested and realized fully in Jesus Christ, who, to honor God’s bond with His people, made Himself our slave, stripped Himself of His glory and assumed the form of a servant. In His love He did not bow before our ingratitude and not even before our rejection. Saint Paul reminds us of this: “If we are faithless, He – Jesus – remains faithful , for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13). Jesus remains faithful, He never betrays, even when we have made a mistake, He always awaits us to forgive us: He is the face of the merciful Father.
This love, this fidelity of the Lord manifests the humility of His heart. Jesus did not come to conquer men as the kings and powerful of this world, but He came to offer love with meekness and humility. This is how He described Himself: “learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29). And the meaning of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which we celebrate today, is that of discovering increasingly and of letting ourselves be enveloped by the humble fidelity and meekness of the love of Christ, revelation of the Father’s mercy.
We can experience and savor the tenderness of this love in every season of life: in the time of joy and in that of sadness, in the time of health and in that of infirmity and sickness.
God’s fidelity teaches us to receive life as an event of His love and enables us to witness this love to our brothers in a humble and meek service. It is especially what doctors and paramedic personnel are called to do in this Clinic, which belongs to the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. Here, each one of you takes to the sick some of the love of the Heart of Christ, and you do so with competence and professionalism. This means to remain faithful to the founding values that Father Gemelli placed at the base of the Athenaeum of Italian Catholics, to combine scientific research illuminated by faith and the preparation of qualified Christian professionals.
Dear brothers, in Christ we contemplate God’s fidelity. Every gesture, every word of Jesus reflects the merciful and faithful love of the Father.
And now, before Him we ask ourselves: how is my love for my neighbor? Do I know how to be faithful? Or am I voluble, follow my humors and my likes? Each one of us can answer in his own conscience. But above all we can say to the Lord: Lord Jesus, render my heart ever more like yours, full of love and fidelity.[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]