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Pope Francis: Chrism Mass, homily “brief, if possible”. No to “abstract truth” and “false commiseration”

foto SIR/Marco Calvarese

When the priest preaches – “briefly, if possible” – he does so with “the joy that touches people’s hearts with that same Word with which the Lord has touched his own heart in prayer”. Pope Francis said this in his homily for the Chrism Mass in which he reflected on the characteristics of the “good news”, “the precious pearl” of the Gospel, which contains and sums up in itself “something essential: the joy of the Gospel”. The first advice to priests who renew their vows today is: attention to the little things, for “– as we all know – it is in the little things that joy is best seen and shared: when by taking one small step, we make God’s mercy overflow in situations of desolation; when we decide to pick up the phone and arrange to see someone; when we patiently allow others to take up our time”. The “good news” might appear as just another way of saying “the Gospel”. “We should never attempt to separate these three graces of the Gospel: its truth, which is non-negotiable; its mercy, which is unconditional and offered to all sinners; and its joy, which is personal and open to everyone”, Pope Francis remarked. “The truth of the good news can never be merely abstract, incapable of taking concrete shape in people’s lives because they feel more comfortable seeing it printed in books”, the Pope’s first imperative. “The mercy of the good news can never be a false commiseration, one that leaves sinners in their misery without holding out a hand to lift them up and help them take a step in the direction of change”, the second imperative. “This message can never be gloomy or indifferent, for it expresses a joy that is completely personal. It is the joy of the Father, who desires that none of his little ones be lost”, the third imperative: “It is the joy of Jesus, who sees that the poor have the good news preached to them, and that the little ones go out to preach the message in turn”.

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