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Pope Francis’ Homily at Roman Parish of the Blessed Sacrament

May 08, 2018 . ‘Many times it’s only words.  Instead, love is concrete’

Pope Francis on May 6, 2018, made a pastoral visit to the Parish of the Blessed Sacrament in Tor De ‘Schiavi, Rome.  He was joined by Cardinal Luis Tagle, Archbishop of Manila and President of Caritas Internationalis. There, the Pontiff inaugurated the “House of Joy” for disabled persons, realized in the attic rooms.

Here is a ZENIT translation of the homily that the Holy Father pronounced off-the-cuff in the course of the Eucharistic Celebration, during which he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation, as well as the texts of the words the Pontiff pronounced during the various meetings in the course of the visit to the parish.

* * *

The Holy Father’s Homily

Jesus, before going to the Garden of Olives to begin His Passion – Jesus suffered so much in the Garden of Olives – had this long discourse at table with His disciples. And He counselled something strong; He gave a very strong counsel: “Abide in my love.” This is the counsel that Jesus gives to His own before suffering and dying.  And it’s also the counsel He gives us, to each one of us. Jesus says to us: “Abide in my love. Don’t go out of my love.” And each one of us can ask himself in his heart – in his own heart –“Do I abide in the Lord’s love? Or do I go out seeking other things, other amusements, other directions of life?” However, to “abide in love” is what Jesus did for us.  He gave His life. He was our Servant: He came to serve us. To “abide in Love” means to serve others, to be at the service of others. What is love? Do we want to think what love is? “Ah, yes, I saw a television film on love, it was beautiful . . . And that engaged couple . . . And then it ended badly, too bad! It’s not like this. Love is something else. Love is to take charge of others. Love is not playing violins, everything romantic . . . Love is work. How many among you are mothers, think of when the children were small: how did you love your children? With work. Taking care of them. They cried . . . they had to be nursed, changed, this, that . . . Love is always work for others, because love is seen in deeds, not in words.

Remember that song: “Words, words, words.” Many times it’s only words.  Instead, love is concrete. Each one must think: is my love for my family, in the neighborhood, at work service to others? Am I concerned about others?” I was up there – they call it the “House of Joy” – but it might well be called the “House of Love,” because this parish has taken care of so many in need of being cared for, of being watched. And this is love. Love is work, work for others. Love is in works, not in words. “I love you.” “And what do you do for me if you love me?” Each one of the sick of the neighborhood asks: What do you do for me?” In the family, if you love your children, whether small, grownup, parents, the elderly, what do you do for them? To see how love is, it’s always said: what do I do? “But, Father, where do we learn this?” From Jesus, and in the Second Letter there is a phrase that can open our eyes: “In this God’s love for us is manifested: God sent His Son into the world.” Love is in this. It was not we who loved God, but it was He who first loved us. The Lord always loves first. He waits for us with love.

We can also ask ourselves the question: do I wait for others with love? And then do the list of questions. For instance, is gossip love?  What is gossip about others . . . No, it’s not love. To run people down isn’t love. “Oh . . . I love God. I do five novenas a month. I do this <and> this . . . “ Yes, but . . . what is your tongue like? How is your tongue? This is precisely the yardstick to see love. Do I love others? Ask yourselves: how is my tongue? It will tell you if it’s true love. God loved us first. He always waits for us with love. Do I love first or do I wait for them to give me something to <then> love? As puppies that wait for a gift, a piece to eat and then they celebrate their master. First of all, love is free, but the thermometer to know the temperature of my love is my tongue. Don’t forget this.

When you are about to do an examination of conscience, before Confession or at home, ask yourself: have I done what Jesus said to me: “Abide in my love”? And how can I know it? By the way my tongue is. If I’ve spoken badly of others, I haven’t loved. If this parish succeeds in not speaking badly of others, it should be canonized! And, at least, as I’ve said other times: make the effort not to run others down. “But, Father, can you give us a remedy not to run others down?” It’s easy; it’s within everyone’s reach. When you get the desire to speak badly of others, bite your tongue! It will swell, but you certainly won’t speak badly anymore.

Let us ask the Lord to “abide in love,” and to understand that love is service; it’s to take charge of others, and the grace to understand that the thermometer <to know> how love is the tongue.

We will all accompany Maia who will receive Confirmation.

[Rite of Confirmation]

 [Working translation by Zenit]