Pope Francis went on a pastoral visit yesterday to the parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at Castro Pretorio, in the central sector of the diocese of Rome.
The Holy Father presided over the Eucharistic Celebration in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, at the end of which he greeted the sick, then he met with the Salesian Community, to whom the parish is entrusted, and with the parish priest, Fr. Valerio Baresi, S.D.B., and the Missionary Sisters of the Risen Christ.
Finally, before returning to the Vatican, Pope Francis met with the young people of the parish.
Here is a translation of the homily that the Pope gave in the course of the Holy Mass.
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This passage of the Gospel is beautiful. John who was baptizing and Jesus, who was baptized earlier – a few days earlier – came and passed before John. And John felt within himself the strength of the Holy Spirit to give witness of Jesus. Looking at Him, and looking at the people who were around Him, he says: “Behold the Lamb of God, He who takes away the sin of the world.” And he gives witness of Jesus: this is Jesus, this is He who comes to save us; this is He who will give us the strength to hope.
Jesus is called the Lamb: He is the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. We might think: but how, a lamb, which is so weak, a little weak lamb, how can it take away so many sins, so many malicious actions? With Love, with His meekness. Jesus never stopped being a lamb: meek, good, full of love, close to little ones, close to the poor. He was there, among the people. He healed all, taught, prayed. Jesus was as weak as a lamb, but he had the strength to take our sins upon Himself, all of them. “But Father, you don’t know my life: I have a load that I cannot even carry in a truck.” So many times, when we look at our conscience, we find some things that are very big! But He carries them. He came for this: to forgive, to make peace in the world, but first in hearts. Perhaps each one of us has something that is tormenting him in his heart, perhaps he has darkness in his heart, perhaps he feels a bit sad because of a fault. He came to take all this away; He gives us peace. He forgives everything. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away sin”: He takes the sin away with the root and all! This is the salvation of Jesus, with His love and His meekness. And being what John the Baptist says of Him, who gives witness of Jesus as Savior, we must grow in trust in Jesus.
So many times we trust a doctor: that is good, because the doctor is there to cure us; we trust a person: brothers, sisters can help us. It’s good to have this human trust among ourselves, but we forget to trust the Lord: this is the key of success in life. Trust in the Lord, let us entrust ourselves to the Lord! “Lord, look at my life: I am in darkness, I have this difficulty, I have this sin …”all that we have: “Look at this: I entrust myself to you!” And this is a wager we must do: to entrust ourselves to Him, who never disappoints. Never, never! Listen well, you boys and girls, who begin life now: Jesus never disappoints. Never. This is John’s testimony: Jesus, the good One, the meek One , who will end like a lamb, killed, without crying out. He came to save us, to take sin away. Mine, yours, and that of the world: all, all.
And now I invite you to do something: let us close our eyes and imagine that scene, on the bank of the river, John who is baptizing and Jesus who is passing by. And let us hear John’s voice: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” We look at Jesus and, in silence, each one of us will say something to Jesus from his heart, in silence. [Silent pause]
May the Lord Jesus, who is meek and good – He is a lamb – who came to take sins away, accompany us on the path of our life. So be it.