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Pope prays for priests’ courage as they bring Eucharist to those who are sick

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 03/10/20

In morning Mass, Pope Francis says God asks us to come and talk over our sins with Him, since He is the one who can change them from 'scarlet to white'

Pope Francis at Mass on March 10 prayed for “all those who are sick, medical personnel, and all those suffering from the epidemic.”

He asked prayers particularly for priests, so that they might have the courage to visit those who are sick, bringing them “the strength of the Word of God and the Eucharist” and that they might accompany health care workers.

Since March 9, the Italian government has the country under quarantine, asking people to stay home except for work, or to go for groceries, medicines, or medical care. Movement in and out of Italy and between regions is restricted. These measures are in addition to previously enacted closures of museums and tourist attractions. As well, public Masses are suspended, including funerals, until April 3. Most churches are open for confessions, and so people can pray before Our Lord in the tabernacle. 

The pope’s homily at Mass continued with his reflection from March 9, on awareness of sin. He focused on a passage from the Book of Isaiah: “Come now, let us set things right, says the LORD: Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow.”

Like Adam and Eve, we tend to hide ourselves because of the shame we feel because of the things we have done, the Holy Father said. Sin makes us close in ourselves. God calls to us to talk about it with Him instead.

And the Lord calls us, “Come on let’s talk this over,” the Lord says. Let’s talk about your sin. Let’s talk about your situation. Don’t be afraid.  No…. Come here. I’m able to change everything, the Lord says. Don’t be afraid to come and speak about it. Be courageous even before your misery.

Pope Francis told the story about a saint who was discouraged. No matter what he did, he always felt that the Lord wasn’t satisfied. So, he asked the Lord what was missing. “Give me your sins. That’s what’s missing,” the Lord responded.

We deceive ourselves by not speaking with the Lord, Pope Francis affirmed. We pretend we are not sinners. This is what the Lord reproves the Doctors of the Law for. They did everything for appearance, he said, referring to the Gospel of Matthew 23.

Appearance…  Vanity…  Covering the truth of our heart with vanity… Vanity never heals… Rather, it’s poisonous. It increases our hardness of heart. [Vanity] says, “Don’t go to the Lord. Remain alone.” Vanity is a place where we close ourselves to the Lord’s call. But the invitation of the Lord is that of a father, a brother. “Come on. Come here. Let’s talk. In the end, I’m the one who can change your life from red to white.”

The pope concluded his homily, saying that the Word of the Lord shows us that our prayer can be real. We can even pray about the reality of our sins:“The Lord knows who we are … but vanity invites us to cover that up. May the Lord help us.”


Given the restrictions due to coronavirus, the pope’s morning Mass is being broadcast live. You can view it in real time at 7:00 am EST on or via the Vatican News App. It is posted for later viewing on the Vatican News English YouTube channel, the Vatican News Facebook account, and on the Vatican News portal in the article summarizing the pope’s homily.

Pope FrancisPope's Morning Mass
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