We must be prudent, so the pandemic does not return…
According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed today, April 28th, during his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta.
At the start of the Mass, while remembering all victims of Coronavirus, Francis prayed for prudence at this time, as quarantine restrictions start to ease during the so-called ‘Phase two’ in Italy set to begin gradually on May 4th.
“At this time, when indications have been given to exit out of quarantine,” Pope Francis said, “we pray the Lord will grant to His people, all of us, the grace of prudence and obedience to these indications, so that the pandemic does not return.”
In his homily, the Holy Father commented on a passage from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 7:51-8:1), where Stephen courageously speaks to the people, the elders and the scribes, who judge him with false testimony, drag him out of the city and stone him.
Francis observed that the Doctors of the Law did not tolerate the clarity of doctrine, and asked someone to say that they had heard Stephen blaspheme against God and the Law.
Just like Stephen, the Pontiff underscored, “they did the same with Jesus too, trying to convince the people that He was a blasphemer.”
The Shoah, Asia Bibi
Similarly, this happens with the martyrs of today, like Asia Bibi, Pope Francis remembered, recalling her imprisonment for many years, judged by slander.
Faced with the avalanche of false news, the Pontiff lamented, creates opinions and reputation that are hard or almost impossible to reverse.
“I think of the Shoah”, said the Pope, when opinion was created against a people in order to cast them out.
No Lynching With Our Words
“Then,” he pointed out, “there is the small daily lynching that tries to condemn people, to create a bad reputation, the small daily lynching of gossip that creates opinions in order to condemn people.”
Whereas the truth, emphasized Pope Francis, “is clear and transparent, it is the testimony of truth, of what is believed.
“Let’s think about our tongues,” Francis exhorted, noting: “many times with our comments we start such lynching.”
“Even in our Christian institutions,” he lamented, “we have seen so many daily lynchings born out of gossip.”
Pope Francis concluded, praying: “May the Lord help us to be righteous, in our judgments, not to begin to follow this mass condemnation that provokes gossip.”
The Pope ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, inviting the faithful to make a Spiritual Communion.
The Masses in Francis’ chapel normally welcome a small group of faithful, but due to recent measures’ taken by the Vatican, are now being kept private, without their participation. The Holy Week and Easter celebrations in the Vatican were also done without the presence of faithful, but were able to be watched via streaming.
Likewise, the Pope had a private Mass for Divine Mercy Sunday, with very limited participation by others, at the Roman Church of Santo Spirito in Sassia. One could watch via streaming.
It was announced at the start of the lockdowns in Italy that the Pope would have these Masses, in this period, be available to all the world’s faithful, via streaming on Vatican Media, on weekdays, at 7 am Rome time, along with his weekly Angelus and General Audiences.
In Italy where 25,000 people have died from coronavirus, public Masses are still prohibited. To date, in the Vatican, there have been nine cases of coronavirus in the Vatican.
The Vatican Museums are closed, along with the Vatican’s other similar museums. There have also been various guidelines implemented throughout the Vatican, to prevent the spread of the virus.
For anyone interested, the Pope’s Masses at Santa Marta can be watched live and can be watched afterward on Vatican YouTube. Below is a link to today’s Mass. Also, a ZENIT English translation of the Pope’s full homily is available below:
FULL HOMILY [translated by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester]
In the First Reading of these days we have listened to Stephen’s martyrdom, a simple thing, how it happened. The Doctors of the Law didn’t tolerate the clarity of the Doctrine and, as soon as it was proclaimed, they went to ask someone to say that he had heard <another> say that Stephen was blaspheming against God <and> against the Law (Cf. Acts 6:11-14). And, after this, they fell upon him and stoned him: simply so (Cf. Acts 7:57-58). It’s a structure of action that isn’t the first: they did the same with Jesus too (Cf. Matthew 26:60-62). The people that were there sought to convince that He was a blasphemer and they cried out: “Crucify him!” (Mark 15:13). It’s brutality, brutality to start from false testimonies to “do justice.” This is the scheme. There are also such cases in the Bible: they did the same to Susanna (Cf. Daniel 13: 1-64), they did the same to Naboth (Cf. 1 Kings 21:1-16); then Haman, who sought to do the same with the People of God (Cf. Esther 3:1-14). <It’s> false news, slanders that heat up the people and call for justice. It’s a lynching, a true lynching.
And so, they take him to the judge, so that the judge will give a legal form to this: but he’s been judged already. The judge must be very, very courageous to go against “such a popular” judgment, done intentionally, prepared. It’s Pilate’s case: Pilate saw clearly that Jesus was innocent, but he saw the people and washed his hands (Cf. Matthew 27:24-26). It’s a way of doing jurisprudence. We see this also today; it is ongoing today in some countries, when they want to carry out a coup d’état or “take out” a politician, this is done so he won’t go to the elections: false news, slander, then he entrusts himself to a judge of those that like to create jurisprudence with this “situational” positivism, which is fashionable and he then condemns. It’s a social lynching. And they did it to Stephen, Stephen’s judgment was done so: they led to judgment one who had already been judged by the deceived people.
This is happening also with today’s martyrs: the judges have no possibility to do justice because <the falsely accused> have already been judged. We think of Asia Bibi, for instance, that we have seen: ten years in prison because she was judged by a slander and a people that wanted her death. In face of this avalanche of false news, which creates opinions, often, nothing can be done; nothing can be done.
In this regard, I think of the Shoah. The Shoah is such a case: opinion against a people was created and then it was normal: “Yes, yes: they must be killed, they must be killed.” <It’s> a way of proceeding to “take out” the people that annoy, that disturb. We all know this isn’t good, but what we don’t know is that there is a daily little lynching that seeks to condemn people, to create an evil reputation of people, to reject them, to condemn them: the little daily lynching of gossip that creates an opinion. Many times, one hears someone speak badly of <another> and <someone> says: “But no, this person is a just person!” – “No, no, it’s said that …” and with that “it’s said that” an opinion is created to do away with a person. The truth is other: the truth is the testimony of the true, of the things a person believes; truth is clear, it’s transparent. Truth doesn’t tolerate pressures. We look at the martyr Stephen, the first martyr after Jesus, the first martyr. We think of the Apostles: they all gave witness. And we think of the many martyrs, also him that we celebrate today, Saint Peter Chanel: it was gossip that created that he was against the king . . . a reputation is created and one is killed. And we think of ourselves, of our tongue: so many times, with our comments we initiate a lynching of the sort. And we have seen so many daily lynchings in our Christian institutions, which were born of gossip.
May the Lord help us to be just in our judgments, not to begin or follow this massive condemnation that gossip causes.
The Pope ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, inviting <the faithful> to make a Spiritual Communion.
Here Is the Prayer Recited by the Pope:
I prostrate myself at your feet, O my Jesus and I offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abases itself in its nothingness in Your holy Presence. I adore You in the Sacrament of your Love, the ineffable Eucharist. I desire to receive You in the poor abode that my heart offers You, while waiting for the happiness of Sacramental Communion, I wish to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, that I may come to You. May your Love be able to inflame my whole being in life and in death. I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You.
Before leaving the Chapel, dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the Marian antiphon “Regina Caeli” was intoned, sung in Eastertide.
Regina caeli laetare, alleluia.
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
(Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
Christ, whom you bore in your womb, alleluia,
Is Risen as He promised, alleluia.
Pray for us to the Lord, alleluia).