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Pope: God is not afraid to touch the wounds of our bodies

Pope: God is not afraid to touch the wounds of our bodies

In his homily, at the penitential celebration “24 hours for the sake of the Lord,” Francis called for “an examination of conscience, for the Pharisee and the tax collector dwell in us. Let us not hide behind the hypocrisy of appearances, but trust in the mercy of man.” O Lord, our opacities, our mistakes, and our misery.”

Mariangela Jajuraba – Vatican News

Pope Francis led a penitential celebration in the parish of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in the Trionfale district, in Rome, on Friday (03/17) noon, as part of the Lent initiative of prayer and reconciliation “24 hours to the Lord”. .

Francis began his homily by quoting an excerpt from the Apostle Paul from the Epistle to the Philippians: “For Christ’s sake, what I regard as gain, I now regard as loss.”

Save appearances and do not give place to God

“If we ask ourselves what things he ceased to regard as essential in his life, happy to lose them to find Christ, we realize that it is not a question of material facts, but of ‘religious riches.’ A devout and zealous, faithful and observant Pharisee. However, these habits Religious, which can constitute an advantage, ostentation, sacred riches, was in fact a hindrance. Then Paul declares: “I have lost everything and consider it dung to gain Christ,” said the Pope.

Those who feel rich in themselves and in their religious integrity assume themselves to be just and better than others, and content themselves with preserved appearances; He considers himself satisfied, but he cannot make room for God, because he does not feel the need for Him. He has taken God’s place with his own “I” and so, though he recites prayers and performs acts of piety, he does not really converse with the Lord.

“24 hours for God”

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The Pharisee and the tax collector

Next, Jesus gives us instruction in the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. “They both go to the temple to pray, but only one reaches the heart of God. More than the gestures they make, their physical condition speaks: the Bible says that The Pharisee prayed “standing”while the The publican, “kept his distance, not even daring to raise his eyes to heaven.”And the Pope thought about it two modes.

“The Pharisee is on his feet. He is self-confident, ready, and victorious as a person who is admired for his integrity. In this position, he prays to God, but in reality he celebrates himself: I go to the temple, I observe the commandments, I give alms … Formally, his prayer is impeccable, and outwardly he appears to be a pious and devout man, but instead of opening himself to God, and bringing Him to the truth of his heart, he hypocritically conceals his weakness.Francis said.

The publican, on the other hand, keeps his distance, does not try to open a path, and stays in the background. But it is precisely this distance, which expresses his being a sinner before the holiness of God, that allows him to experience the blessed and merciful embrace of the Father. God was able to reach him because that man had left him a place far away. Oh! How true this is also in our family, social and even church relationships! There is real dialogue when we know how to keep a distance between ourselves and others, a healthy space that allows each individual to breathe without being sucked in or annihilated. So this dialogue, that encounter, can shorten the distance and create rapprochement,” the Pope stressed.

"24 hours to the Lord"

“24 hours for God”

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God is waiting for us at the bottom

Brethren, let us remember this: The Lord comes to us when we turn away from our costly selves. He can shorten the distances with us when we bring our vulnerability to him honestly and without pretense. He reaches out to lift us up when we realize we’ve “touched bottom” and entrust ourselves to Him in the sincerity of our hearts. God is waiting for us at the bottom, because He is not afraid to descend into the abyss into which we fall, touches the wounds of our bodies, accepts our poverty, the failures of life, the mistakes we make through weakness or negligence. God is waiting for us there, especially in the Sacrament of Confession.

Then the Pope invites us to “examine conscience, because the Pharisee and the tax collector dwell in us. Let us not hide behind the hypocrisy of appearances, but confidently compromise our obscurity, our faults and our miseries. Go to confession, putting ourselves in the background like the tax collector, so that we too can recognize the distance that separates us What God dreamed of in our lives and what we really are in our daily lives.”

Francis invites us, in this Lent, with a contrite heart, to whisper like a publican: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

When I forget you or condone you, when I put my words and the words of the world before yours, when I assume justice and despise others, when I grumble at others, when I take no care of those around me, when I show myself indifferent to the poor and the afflicted, the fragile or marginalized, for sins against life, For the bad testimony that stains the beautiful face of the Mother Church, for sins against creation, for my lies, my deceit, my lack of transparency and integrity, for my hidden sins, for the harm that – without realizing it – that I have done to others, for the good that I could have done and not done “, I finish.

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