At Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland, last Sunday, Pope Francis said: “But let us also humbly acknowledge that, if we are honest with ourselves, we too can find the teachings of Jesus hard. How difficult it is always to forgive those who hurt us; how challenging always to welcome the migrant and the stranger; how painful joyfully to bear disappointment, rejection, betrayal; how inconvenient to protect the rights of the most vulnerable, the unborn or the elderly, who seem to impinge upon our own sense of freedom.

“Yet it is precisely at those times that the Lord asks us: ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ (Jn 6:67). With the strength of the Spirit to ‘encourage’ us, and with the Lord always at our side, we can answer: ‘We believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God’ (v. 69). With the people of Israel, we can repeat: ‘We too will serve the Lord, for he is our God’ (Jos 24:18).”

Saints next door

At the Festival of Families in Croke Park Stadium, Dublin, the Pope said: “I like to speak of the saints ‘next door’, all those ordinary people who reflect God’s presence in the life and history of our world. The vocation to love and to holiness is not something reserved for a privileged few. No. Even now, if we have eyes to see, we can see it being lived out all around us. It is silently present in the heart of all those families that offer love, forgiveness and mercy when they see the need, and do so quietly, without great fanfare. The Gospel of the family is truly joy for the world, since there, in our families, Jesus can always be found, dwelling in simplicity and poverty as he did in the home of the Holy Family of Nazareth.”

People robbed of their innocence

During his visit to the chapel of the shrine of Knock, last Sunday, the Pope said: “In my prayer before her statue, I presented to her in particular all the survivors of abuse committed by members of the Church in Ireland. None of us can fail to be moved by the stories of young people who suffered abuse, were robbed of their innocence, were separated from their mothers and were left scarred by painful memories. This open wound challenges us to be firm and decisive in the pursuit of truth and justice.

“I beg the Lord’s forgiveness for these sins and for the scandal and betrayal felt by so many others in God’s family. I ask our Blessed Mother to intercede for all the survivors of abuse of any kind and to confirm every member of our Christian family in the resolve never again to permit these situations to occur. And to intercede for all of us, so that we can proceed always with justice and remedy, to the extent it depends on us, such violence.”  

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)


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