“How often do we say: “But he is a sinner, he has done this, and that …”, and we judge others. And you? Each one of us should ask ourselves: Yes, he is a sinner, and what about me?” Francis said this, continuing his series of catecheses on mercy, with a reflection on the Old Testament, followed by another on “how Jesus himself fully embodied this”. In the week the Pope is to publish his Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”, all of us, he stressed “are sinners but all of us are forgiven because Jesus took every sin “to the Cross”.
After reflecting on God’s mercy in the Old Testament, “today,” Francis said, “we begin to meditate on how Jesus himself brought the mercy of God to fulfilment. Indeed, Jesus is the mercy of God made flesh. Jesus has always expressed, realized and communicated mercy, in every moment of his earthly life.” The Gospel “is indeed the ’Gospel of Mercy’, because Jesus is Mercy!”
Jesus, before beginning his ministry, Bergoglio recalled, wanted to be baptized by John the Baptist and “he did not present himself to the world in the splendour of the temple, as he could have done, he did not announce himself to the sound of trumpets, as he could have done nor come in the guise of a judge, as he could have done. Instead, after thirty years of hidden life in Nazareth, Jesus went to the River Jordan, along with so many people of his people, and got in line with sinners, he had no shame, he was there with everyone, with sinners to be baptized. Therefore, from the beginning of His ministry, He was manifested as the Messiah who takes on the human condition, moved by solidarity and compassion.” “All that Jesus did after His Baptism was the realization of the initial program: to take to all the love of God that saves; Jesus did not bring hatred, He did not bring enmity: He brought us love! – a great love, a heart open to all, to all of us! – a love that saves! He made Himself close to the least, communicating to them God’s mercy, which is forgiveness, joy and new life.”
“We can contemplate the great mystery of this love even more clearly by turning our gaze to Jesus crucified,” the Pope continued. “While He is about to die for us sinners, He entreats the Father: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. It is on the Cross that Jesus presents to the Father’s mercy the sin of the world, the sin of all, my sins, your sins. And there, on the Cross, He presents them to the Father. And with the sins of the world all our sins are cancelled. Nothing and no one remains excluded from this sacrificial prayer of Jesus. This means that we must not be afraid to acknowledge and confess ourselves sinners. How many times we say: “But he is a sinner, he has done this, and that …”, and we judge others. And you? Each one of us should ask himself: Yes, he is a sinner, and I?” We are all sinners, but we are all forgiven: we all have the possibility of receiving this forgiveness, which is God’s mercy. Therefore, we must not be afraid to acknowledge ourselves sinners, to confess ourselves sinners, because every sin was born by the Son on the Cross. And when we confess it repentant, entrusting ourselves to Him, we are certain of being forgiven. The Sacrament of Reconciliation renders actual for each one the strength of the forgiveness that flows from the Cross and renews in our life the grace of mercy that Jesus acquired for us! We must not be afraid of our miseries: each one of us has his own. The power of the love of the Crucified knows no obstacles and is never exhausted, and this mercy cancels our miseries.”
“In this Jubilee Year,” the Pope concluded, “let us ask God for the grace to experience the power of the Gospel: the Gospel of mercy that transforms, which makes us enter in God’s heart, which enables us to forgive and to look at the world with greater kindness. If we receive the Gospel of the Risen Crucified One, the whole of our life is moulded by the strength of His love, which renews.”
At the end of the audience Francis said that “today marks the third World Day of Sport for Peace and Development convened by the United Nations. Sport – he continued – is a universal language that brings people together and can help to bring people together and overcome conflicts. Therefore I encourage you to live the sporting dimension as the gym of virtue in the integral development of individuals and communities”.
After the Audience, the Pope blessed Lizzy Myers, a 6-year-old girl from Ohio, who suffers from Usher syndrome (type 2), a rare genetic disorder that gradually deprives the person affected of their vision and hearing. Her wish to meet the Pope was granted today.
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