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Pope Francis During Mass in Santa Marta

Pope Francis During Mass in Santa Marta © L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Pope’s Morning Homily: No Witness Where Christians Aren’t United

At Casa Santa Marta, Francis Urges Faithful to Not Be ‘Weed-sowers’

Christians seek unity; those who “sow weeds” divide.

According to Vatican Radio, the Holy Father stressed this during his daily morning Mass today at Casa Santa Marta, as he discussed how Jesus wanted Christians to be in harmony, not warring.

The Pontiff drew his inspiration from when Jesus, before the Passion, prays for “the unity of believers, of the Christian community,” so that they might be one—as He and the Father are one—that the world might believe.

“The unity of the Christian community, of the Christian family, is a witness: a witness to the fact that the Father has sent the Son,” yet, the Pope lamented, “our Church history makes us ashamed so often.”

Where “Christians make war among themselves,” Pope Francis said, “there is no witness.”

“We have to ask, very often, for forgiveness from the Lord for this history! A history so many times of division—but not just in the past… Also today!”

“And the world sees that we are divided and says: “But let them come to an agreement among themselves, then we’ll see… How, if Jesus is Risen and alive, are these, His disciples, not in accord with one another?”

The Pope then recalled a conversation in which a Latin-rite Catholic asks another Catholic from the East.“My Christ rises the day after tomorrow. When does yours rise?”

“We are not even united in Easter!” the Pope lamented, “And this in the whole world. And the world does not believe.”

‘Weed-sowers’

It was through “the envy of the devil,” the Pope explained, “that death entered the world.”

Also, in the Christian community, selfishness, jealousy, envy, divisions are “almost habitual,” the Pope lamented, noting this leads to people speaking about one another behind their backs.

In Argentina, he shared, “these people are called ‘weed-sowers.’” (It: “zizzaniere”).

“They sow weeds, they divide. And here divisions begin with the tongue. Through envy, jealousy, and also being closed! ‘No! The doctrine is this!’” Words, Francis said, “are capable of destroying a family, a community, a society; of sowing hatred and war.”

Rather than seek clarification, “it is easier to talk behind people’s backs” and to destroy “the reputation of the other.”

“Speaking about others behind their back is like this: it dirties the other. The one who does so makes things dirty! He destroys! He destroys the reputation, he destroys the life, and so many times—so many times!—without reason, contrary to the truth. Jesus has prayed for us, for all of us, that we might remain here, and for our communities, for our parishes, for our dioceses: ‘That they might be one.'”

Since the strength of the devil and of sin pushing us to disunity is so great, the Pope invited those present to pray for the Holy Spirit to grant harmony. Pope Francis concluded, praying for Christian unity and the grace”to bite our tongues!”

Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 300

Reading 1 ACTS 22:30; 23:6-11

Wishing to determine the truth
about why Paul was being accused by the Jews,
the commander freed him
and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene.
Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees,
so he called out before the Sanhedrin,
“My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees;
I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.”
When he said this,
a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees,
and the group became divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection
or angels or spirits,
while the Pharisees acknowledge all three.
A great uproar occurred,
and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party
stood up and sharply argued,
“We find nothing wrong with this man.
Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”
The dispute was so serious that the commander,
afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them,
ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst
and take him into the compound.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.
For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem,
so you must also bear witness in Rome.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 16:1-2A AND 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia JN 17:21

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
May they all be one as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that the world may believe that you sent me, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel JN 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
“I pray not only for these,
but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
so that they may all be one,
as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
that they also may be in us,
that the world may believe that you sent me.
And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me,
that they may see my glory that you gave me,
because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you,
but I know you, and they know that you sent me.
I made known to them your name and I will make it known,
that the love with which you loved me
may be in them and I in them.”

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis': https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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