Pope Francis celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s Square to conclude “Evangelium Vitae” Day, a Year of Faith event that celebrates “the gift of life in all its forms.” The Holy Father focused his homily on three main points: the Bible reveals the living God to us; Jesus Christ gives life; and the Holy Spirit who keeps us in that new life.
Commenting on the first reading from the Second Book of Samuel, Pope Francis said that despite the gravity of David’s sin of adultery and murder, God has mercy on David when he begs for forgiveness.
“What is the image we have of God?” the Pope asked. “Perhaps he appears to us as a severe judge, as someone who curtails our freedom and the way we live our lives. But the Scriptures everywhere tell us that God is the Living One, the one who bestows life and points the way to fullness of life.”
The Pope went on to say that from the story of Creation in the Book of Genesis, where God is the source of life when creating Man to the Book of Exodus, where God’s Ten Commandments gave a path towards a life that is free and fulfilling, God has shown that he is the “Living One.”
The Giver of Life
Reflecting on the Gospel of the sinner who approached Christ and washed His feet with her tears, the Pope said that in forgiving her sins, brought “life amid so many deeds of death.”
“Jesus accepts, loves, uplifts, encourages, forgives, restores the ability to walk, gives back life,” the Holy Father said. “Throughout the Gospels, we see how Jesus by his words and actions brings the transforming life of God. This was the experience of the woman who anointed the feet of the Lord with ointment: she felt understood, loved, and she responded by a gesture of love: she let herself be touched by God’s mercy, she obtained forgiveness and she started a new life.”
In a moment of spontaneity, Pope Francis invited the crowd to shout together “God, the living One, is merciful.”
Reflecting on his third and final point, the Holy Father said that the Holy Spirit sustains us in the new life that Jesus brings to us from God. However, many reject the Gospel of Life and are led by ideologies that are “dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love.”
“It is the eternal dream of wanting to build the city of man without God, without God’s life and love – a new Tower of Babel,” the Pope said.
“It is the idea that rejecting God, the message of Christ, the Gospel of Life, will somehow lead to freedom, to complete human fulfilment. As a result, the Living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis called on the faithful to carry the Gospel message that enables us to look to God as the God of Life. “Only faith in the Living God saves us: in the God who in Jesus Christ has given us his own life by the gift of the Holy Spirit and has made it possible to live as true sons and daughters of God through his mercy,” the Pope said.