Pope Francis delivered the homily at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica on Sunday morning. The central theme of his homily focused on the weak and the vulnerable, saying that it’s the weak and vulnerable who are most valuable in God’s eyes.
“God meets the men and women of every time and place in the concrete situation in which they find themselves. He also comes to encounter us, it’s always he who makes the first step,” he said.
Francis explained that Mercy is the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. “God comes to visit us with his mercy, to lift us from the dust of our sins; he lends us a hand in rising from the abyss into which our pride has made us fall.”
Addressing the crowd in St. Peter’s Square during his weekly Angelus address, he said, “God comes to take us by the hand to make us come out from the abyss in which our pride has made us fall into, and invites us to welcome the consoling truth of the Gospel and to walk on the path of the good. God always comes to find us, to look for us.”
Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading in which Jesus, speaking at the Synagogue, mentions great prophets like Elijah and Elisha who were not given credit. He reminded them of two events in Jewish history. One was during the life of Elijah, the prophet. The Hebrews in Elijah’s time were suffering from a horrible drought; people were dying of starvation. A prophet had come from God to a widow and because of her faith. God had saved her. The problem was she was not a Jew, she was a Gentile. The same was true in the story of Elisha. Leprosy was a plague spreading throughout Israel but God used a prophet to save only one leper, and he, too, was a Gentile.
This was all terribly painful for the Jews of the time of Jesus because they had come to believe that they were God’s Chosen, that non-Jews would not be saved, and that God’s love and favor were manifest only in and among Jews.
Young members of Rome’s Azione Cattolica were in the square for the annual Peace Caravan.
After recounting the passage, the Pope said:
“This is precisely what the prophetic ministry of Jesus consists of: announcing that no human condition can constitute grounds for exclusion from the heart of the Father, and that the only privilege in the eyes of God is that of not being privileged, of being abandoned into his hands.”
Extending his greeting to pilgrims present, concluding his address after the traditional Marian prayer, he pleaded for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, turning his attention to the World Day of Leprosy he prayed for people living with leprosy, calling it a disease that still “affects mostly the poorest and the most marginalized.”
Emphasizing on how it is important to show solidarity to these brothers and sisters who are disabled as a result of this disease, the Pope called on the Faithful to pray for them and assured them of his prayers, pledging his support to those who assist them.