Pro Ecclesia Homily of Pope Francis

Vatican Radio News

Today Pope Francis offered his first homily during the Pro Ecclesia Mass in the Sistine Chapel with the Cardinals.  The Vatican Information Service indicates that the homily of Pope Francis was given without a script.   

In the homily Pope Francis reflected on the major theme of the three readings: movement, which he went on to specify three specific movements, walking, building, and witnessing.  The way in which he addressed these topics, it seems that these could become the hallmarks of his papacy.  In reflecting on Peter’s words to Jesus, the Pope remarked:

In the Gospel, even Peter who confessed Jesus as Christ, says to Him: ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. I will follow you but let’s not talk about the Cross. That doesn’t have anything to do with it. … I’ll follow you, without the Cross.” But, “when we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess a Christ without the Cross … we aren’t disciples of the Lord. We are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord. And I wish that all of us, after these grace-filled days, might have the courage, yes, the courage to walk in the Lord’s presence with the Cross of the Lord, to build the Church on the blood of the Lord that is poured out on the Cross and to witness to the sole glory: to the crucified Christ. And thus the Church will move forward.

The media has already spotlighted the humility and simplicity of our Holy Father.  His own reflection proves that this is innate, it is who he is.  The Vatican Information Service also clarified today that the Pope has chosen Francis after the great Francis of Assisi.  Initially some believed it to be Francis Xavier in order to pay homage the pope’s Jesuit roots, but even more so because Francis Xavier was a great evangelist.  Alas, this is not the case.  As some have already commented, Francis of Assisi was told by the Lord to rebuild the Church.  The Church has indeed faced its share of scandal; and now we have another Francis, who who will help to rebuild the Church.  Just as Francis of Assisi’s vision was connected to the cross of Christ, Pope Francis desires to build the Church on the blood of Christ and witness to the crucified Christ.  

In closing the homily, Pope Francis invoked the Holy Spirit through the intercession of Mary, “I wish for us all that the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of Mary, our Mother, grant us this grace: to walk, to build, and to witness to Jesus Christ.”

He invoked the Holy Spirit through the powerful intercession of Mary, our Mother.  Mary can be considered the spouse of the Holy Spirit because it was by the overshadowing of the Spirit that Jesus was conceived in her womb.  The Marian Movement of Priests has a prayer that specifically invokes the Holy Spirit through Mary’s intercession:  “Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well-beloved Spouse.”  (The locutions received by Fr. Gobbi have not, to my knowledge, been approved by the Church.)  While Pope Francis did not remark on how Mary fit into this movement, nonetheless, it is true that she walked, built, and witnessed to Christ throughout her life.  The beginning of her witness was to St. Elizabeth at the Visitation but continued throughout her entire life.  Mary, also helps to build the Church through her role as Mother of the Church.  And she witnessed to Christ throughout her life because of her initial yes to the Lord.  

Read his full homily here.

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