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Pope’s Homily at Eucharistic Concelebration with 500 Missionaries of Mercy (FULL TEXT)

April 10, 2018. ‘It is not a matter of becoming ‘invaded’ priests, as if you were depositories of some extraordinary charisma. No. Ordinary priests.’

Below is a Zenit-provided working translation of the Holy Father’s homily during the Eucharistic Concelebration, on April 10, 2018, in St. Peter’s Basilica, he presided over with 500 missionaries of mercy:

***

We have heard in the Book of Acts: “With great strength, the Apostles gave witness to the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:33).

Everything starts from the Resurrection of Jesus: from it comes the testimony of the Apostles and, through this, faith and the new life of the members of the community are generated, with its clear evangelical style.

The readings of today’s Mass bring out well these two inseparable aspects : personal rebirth and community life. So, turning to you, dear brothers, I think of your ministry, that you carry out starting from the Jubilee of Mercy. A ministry that moves in both these directions: serving the people, so they are “reborn from above”, serving the communities, so that they may live the commandment of love with joy and coherence.

Today, the Word of God offers two instructions that I would like to point out to you, thinking precisely of your mission.

The Gospel recalls that those who are called to bear witness to the Resurrection of Christ must himself, in the first person, “be born from above” (cf. Jn 3: 7). Otherwise you end up becoming like Nicodemus who, despite being a teacher in Israel, did not understand the words of Jesus when He said that to “see the Kingdom of God” we must “be born from above”, be born “of water and the Spirit” (cf. 3-5). Nicodemus did not understand the logic of God, which is the logic of grace, of mercy, where those who become small are great, those who were last, become first, [and] those who recognize themselves as ill, are healed. This means truly leaving the primacy to the Father, to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit in our life. Pay attention: it is not a matter of becoming [“invaded”] priests, as if you were depositories of some extraordinary charisma. No. Ordinary priests. Simple, gentle, balanced, but capable of letting yourselves be constantly regenerated by the Spirit, docile to His strength, interiorly free – above all by themselves – because they are moved by the “wind” of the Spirit Who blows where He wants (cf. Jn 3, 8).

The second indication concerns serving the community: to be priests capable of “raising” in the “desert” of the world the sign of Salvation, that is, the Cross of Christ, as a source of conversion and renewal for the whole community and for the world itself (see Jn 3: 14-15). In particular, I would like to stress that the Lord Who died and rose again is the force that creates communion in the Church and, through the Church, in the whole of humanity. Jesus said it before the Passion: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself” (Jn 12: 32). This strength of communion was manifested from the beginning in the community of Jerusalem where – as the Book of Acts attests – “the multitude of those who had become believers had one heart and one soul” (4,32). It was a communion that made concrete sharing of goods, so that “everything was common among them” (v. Ibid.) And “none of them was needy” (verse 34). But this lifestyle of the community was also “contagious” to those outside: the living presence of the Risen Lord produces a force of attraction which, through the witness of the Church and through the various forms of proclamation of the Good News, tends to reach everyone, nobody excluded. Dear brothers, put your specific ministry as Missionaries of Mercy at the service of this dynamism. In fact, both the Church and the world today have a particular need of mercy because the unity desired by God in Christ prevails over the negative action of the evil one who takes advantage of many things that are in themselves good to be misused, in order to divide rather than unite. We are convinced that “unity is superior to conflict” (Evangelii Gaudium, 228), but we also know that without mercy, this principle does not have the strength to be implemented concretely in life and history.

Dear brothers, leave this meeting with the joy of being encouraged in the ministry of mercy. First of all, confirmed in the grateful confidence of your always being called to be reborn “from above,” by God’s love. And at the same time, confirmed in the mission of offering everyone, the sign of Jesus “lifted up” from the Earth, because the community is a sign and instrument of unity in the midst of the world.

[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]