Quotes from Pope Francis

Speaking about hope, Pope Francis asked priests to cultivate this virtue, “which for Christians has the name of Jesus” Hope is “a gift of the Holy Spirit and for this reason Paul was to say that it never disappoints”. It also has a name; and “this name is Jesus”. It is impossible to say one hopes in life unless one hopes in Jesus. “It would not be a question of hope, rather, it would be good humour or optimism, as in the case of those sunny, positive people who always see a glass as half full and not half empty”. The true teaching to draw from the day’s Gospel is that Jesus “is not healer, he is a man who recreates life. And this gives us hope, because Jesus came precisely to work this great miracle,

From his homily at Domus Sanctae Martae 9th September 2013

“Only by contemplating the suffering humanity of Jesus can we become meek, humble, and tender as he is. There is no other way”. Certainly, we must make an effort to “find Jesus; to dwell on his passion, on how much he suffered; to think of his meek silence”. That is our effort; then “the rest is up to him, and he will take care of everything that is missing. But you have to do this much: hide your life in God with Christ”.

Thus, to be good Christians you have to contemplate the suffering humanity of Jesus. “How can we bear witness? Contemplate Jesus. How can we forgive? Contemplate Jesus suffering. How can we not hate our neighbour? Contemplate Jesus suffering. How can we avoid gossiping about our neighbour? Contemplate Jesus suffering. There is no other way”. These virtues are the those of the Father, who forgives us always, and Our Lady, Our Mother, shares in these virtues too. “Let us entrusts ourselves to Our Lady. And when today we give her our best wishes on her feast day, let us ask her that she ask for the grace for us to experience her sweetness”.

From his homily at Domus Sanctae Martae 12th September 2013

Pope Francis spoke of the attitude of an evangelizer: someone open to all, ready to listen to everyone, without exception. He said:

Jesus excluded no one. He built bridges, not walls. His message of salvation is for everyone.

The example given by the Pope was from the Apostle Paul in the Areopagus (Acts 17:15-22, 18-1) proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ among the worshipers of idols. It is the way in which he did this, said the Pope, that is so important: “He did not say: Idolaters! You will go to hell… ”. No, he “tried to reach their hearts”; he did not condemn from the outset but sought dialogue. “Paul is a Pope, a builder of bridges. He did not want to become a builder of walls”. Building bridges to proclaim the Gospel, “this was the Paul’s outlook in Athens: build a bridge to their hearts, and then take a step further and proclaim Jesus Christ”. Paul followed the attitude of Jesus, who spoke to everyone, “he heard the Samaritan woman… ate with the Pharisees, with sinners, with publicans, with doctors of the law. Jesus listened to everyone and when he said a word of condemnation, it was at the end, when there was nothing left to do”. But Paul, too, was “aware that he must evangelize, not proselytize”. The Church “does not grow by proselytizing, as Benedict XVI has told us, but grows by attracting people, by its witness, and by its preaching”. Ultimately, “Paul acted because he was sure, sure of Jesus Christ. He had no doubt of his Lord”.

From his homily at Domus Sanctae Martae 8th May 2013

Knowing Jesus

In order to truly know Jesus we need to speak with him, we need to talk to him as we follow him along the path of his ways. Pope Francis focused on knowing Jesus in his homily at Mass on Wednesday morning, 26 September, in the Chapel of Santa Marta. The Pontiff drew inspiration from the passage in St Luke’s Gospel (9:7-9) in which Herod asks himself who this Jesus is, this man about whom he has heard so much. The person of Jesus, the Pope noted, often prompted questions of this sort: “Who is he? Where does he come from? We think of Nazareth, for example, when Jesus went to the synagogue of Nazareth for the first time: where did he learn these things? We know him well; he is the carpenter’s son. We think of Peter and the apostles after that storm, that driving wind that Jesus silenced: who is this that even the heavens and the earth, the wind, the rain and even the storms obey him? Who is he?”

As the Holy Father explained, these questions may be asked out of curiosity or for the sake of having some assurance about how to act before him. However, the fact remains that whoever knows Jesus asks himself these questions. Indeed, “there were some people,” the Pope continued, returning to the Gospel passage, “who began to be afraid of this man, since he could have led them into a political conflict with the Romans”. Therefore, they considered not giving any further thought to “this man who creates so many problems”.

And why, Pope Francis asked, does Jesus create problems. “You cannot know Jesus”, he responded, “without having problems”. You cannot know Jesus “by sitting in first class” or “in the calm”, much less “in the library”. We only come to know Jesus on the daily path of life.

We can also come to know him in the Catechism, the Holy Father affirmed. “It is true! The Catechism”, he continued, “teaches us many things about Jesus, and we should study it, we should learn it”. However, the fact remains that knowing about Jesus through the Catechism “is not enough”: knowing him with the mind is a step in the right direction, but “in order to know Jesus, we need to enter into a dialogue with him. By talking with him, in prayer, on our knees. If you don’t pray, if you don’t talk to Jesus,” he said, “you don’t know him”.

Lastly, there is a third way to know Jesus: “It is by following him, by going with him, by walking with him, by travelling along the road of his ways”. If you know Jesus with these three languages: of mind, heart and action, then you can say that you know Jesus”. Therefore, in order truly to know him, it is necessary to read “what the Church tells us about him, to speak with him in prayer and to walk along the path of his ways with him”. This is the road, he concluded, and “everyone has a decision to make”.

From his homily at Domus Sanctae Martae 26th September 2013

On the path of Jesus

The choice we have to make is between being “Christians of comfort” and “Christians who follow Jesus”. This was the heart of Pope Francis’ homily delivered on Friday morning, 27 September, at the Mass he celebrated at the Chapel of Santa Marta. Expanding on various ways we can come to know Jesus, Pope Francis recalled the question that begins this search: “Who is he?”. Today, however, he said, “Jesus is the one who asks a question,” as St Luke records in the day’s Gospel (9:18-22). Jesus’ question is a general one: “Who do the people say that I am?”. However, it is then transformed into a question addressed to specific persons, in this case to the Apostles: Jesus asks them: “but who do you say that I am?”

This question, the Pontiff continued, “is addressed also to us at this moment with the Lord present among us in this celebration, in his Word and in the Eucharist on the altar, in his sacrifice. Today, he asks each one of us: Who am I to you? The owner of this company? A good prophet? A good teacher? Simone who brings comfort to your heart? Someone who walks with you in life, who helps you to go forward and to be somewhat good?” Pope Francis then affirmed, “Yes, all of that is true, but it doesn’t end there,” since “it was the Holy Spirit who touched Peter’s heart and made him say to Jesus: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Whoever among us, the Holy Father continued, “who looks upon that tabernacle in prayer, and says to the Lord, ‘you are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ has to know two things”. The first is that “he cannot say this of his own accord; it has to be the Holy Spirit who says it through him”. The second is that he has to be prepared “because he will answer you”.

The Holy Father then described the different ways that Christians may respond. There are those, he said, who follow him up to a certain point, and there are those who follow him to the end. The risk we run, he warned, is “to give into the temptation of spiritual comfort” i.e., of thinking we have everything we need: the Church, Jesus Christ, the sacraments and Our Lady, and that we don’t need to look for anything more”. However, he explained, this “is not enough”. “Spiritual well being can only take us so far”. What remains in order to be a true Christian is “the anointing of the Cross, the anointing of humiliation. He humbled himself even to death, death on the Cross. This is the touchstone, the proof of who we are as Christians”.

“Am I a Christian of the culture of comfort, or am I a Christian who accompanies Jesus to the Cross?” What is the sure sign that we are Christians who follow Jesus to the Cross? He responded: “the ability to endure humiliation. The Christian who doesn’t agree with the Lord’s plan is only halfway down the road: he is tepid. He is good and he does good things”, but he continues on unwilling to endure humiliation, and he wonders “why does this happen to him, and not to me? … And why do they make him a Monsignor and not me?” “We think of James and John, when they asked the Lord for honours. ‘You don’t know, you don’t understand anything’, the Lord replied. The choice is clear: the Son of man must suffer much, be rejected by the elders, by the leaders among the priests and scribes, and be killed and rise on the third day”.

“And what about us? … We all want to rise on the third day, and this is good, it is good, we should want this”. But not everyone, the Pope said, is ready to follow the way, the way of Jesus, in order to reach the goal. The sign that “a Christian is a true Christian” is “his ability to bear humiliation with joy and patience”. And yet, he affirmed, “there are many Christians who look upon the Lord and ask for humiliation in order to be more closely conformed to him”.

From his homily at Domus Sanctae Martae 27th September 2013