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Mass at Santa Marta © L'Osservatore Romano

Mass at Santa Marta © L'Osservatore Romano

Pope’s Morning Homily: Rise and Rejoice

Pope Also Reminds That Pessimism Is Not Christian

Rise and rejoice, for the Lord walks with you.
According to VaticanNews, Pope Francis gave this reminder today, Dec. 21, 2017, during his daily morning Mass in his residence Casa Santa Marta, as he reflected on the day’s reading and Gospel which both speak of the joy which comes from within, and particularly that which comes from being forgiven.
In the homily, the Pontiff discussed three types of joy.
The first, he said, is the joy of being forgiven. “The Lord has removed the judgment against you.” And so we are called to rejoice, and not to live a tepid life, precisely because we have been forgiven.” To illustrate, Francis told the story of a philosopher who criticized Christians.

“He said he was an agnostic or an atheist, I’m not sure, but he criticized Christians, and said this, ‘But those people – the Christians – say they have a redeemer. I will believe it, I will believe in the redeemer when they have the look of the redeemed, joyful for being redeemed.’ But if you have the face of one at a wake, how can they believe that you are redeemed? That your sins have been forgiven? This is the first point, the first message of today’s liturgy: You are forgiven, each one of us is forgiven.”

Being joyful because the Lord “walks with us,” Francis said, is the second aspect, noting this has been clear since He called Abraham.

In the midst of our daily lives–including our trials, difficulties, and joys–the Pope said we should take time to speak with Him Who is “by our side.”

True joy’s third aspect, the Holy Father explained, involves not allowing ourselves to be dispaired over that which does not go our way.

“That pessimism is not Christian. It is rooted in not knowing that one is forgiven, rooted in never feeling the caresses of God. And the Gospel, we could say, makes us see this joy: ‘Joyful Mary rose up and went in haste…’ Joy brings us in haste, always, because the grace of the Holy Spirit does not recognize slowness, it doesn’t recognize it… The Holy Spirit always goes in haste, always pushes us: going forward, forward, forward, like the wind in the sails, on the boat.”

Francis then recalled the joy that made the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leap when she welcomed Mary.

“This is the joy that the Church tells us about: please, we are joyful Christians, we make every effort to show that we believe we are redeemed, that the Lord has forgiven us everything, and if we sometimes slip up, He will also forgive us, because He is the God of forgiveness; that the Lord is in the midst of us; and that we will not allow ourselves to throw up our arms in despair. This is the message for today: ‘Rise up!’ This is the call of Jesus to the sick: ‘Rise up, cry out with joy, rejoice, be glad and exult with all your heart!’”

Pope Francis concluded saying, God wants to help us and heal us, so remember to rise and rejoice.

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior 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); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. 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, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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