Francis: the Church is an “we” who includes and lives the Gospel with joy

To the approximately 10 thousand faithful gathered for Mass at the Nicosia Stadium, the Pope recommends that they be united, dialogue and walk together: the proclamation is not proselytism but witness, not moralism that judges but mercy. And greeting the Cypriot Church at the end of the celebration, he adds: this typical atmosphere of the Holy Land is good for me, where antiquity and the variety of Christian traditions enrich the pilgrim

Tiziana Campisi – Vatican City

“Going to Jesus to heal”, “bringing the wounds together”, “proclaiming the Gospel with joy”: this is to be learned, for Pope Francis, from today’s Gospel passage that tells of two blind men healed by Jesus. homily delivered at the Pancyprian Gymnastic Association Stadium in Nicosia, on his second day in Cyprus, Francis dwells on their experience, relating it to today’s reality. He enters with a simple wooden crosier while the sun shines on the football field, where the altar decorated with yellow flowers is placed in the center and facing the grandstand packed with about 10 thousand people. From there the faithful can see a large Crucifix and on both sides the symbols of the apostolic journey: the apostle Barnabas and the island of Cyprus. (Listen to the report with the Pope’s voice)

The setting up of the stage during the Mass




The setting up of the stage during the Mass

The Pontiff points out first of all that the two protagonists of the Gospel “are blind, yet they see what matters most: they recognize Jesus as the Messiah who has come into the world”, they trust him “and follow him in search of light for their eyes”. Then, the Pope continues, “each one does not think about their own blindness, but they ask for help together”. For Francis this is “the eloquent sign of Christian life”, “the distinctive trait of the ecclesial spirit: to think, speak, act as an ‘we’, emerging from individualism and the claim to self-sufficiency that make the heart sick”. “You cannot face the darkness alone – the Pope affirms -. If we carry our inner blindness alone, we are overwhelmed ”. Instead, there is a need to “stand side by side, to share the wounds, to face the road together”, says the Pope who exhorts:

Dear brothers and sisters, in the face of all personal darkness and the challenges we face in the Church and in society, we are called to renew fraternity. If we remain divided among ourselves, if each thinks only of himself or his group, if we do not huddle together, we do not dialogue, we do not walk together, we cannot fully recover from blindness.

But healing comes when the wounds are brought together, explains Francis, when problems are faced together, when we listen to each other and talk to each other. “AND the grace of living in community, to understand the value of being a community “. Hence the Pontiff’s invitation to the faithful to “always be united”, to “go on like this and with joy”.

The blindness of the heart and the refreshment offered by Jesus

Francis considers that today we too “carry blindness to the heart” and “like the two blind men, we are travelers often immersed in the darkness of life”, and then “the first thing to do is to go to Jesus”, to accept his invitation to approach to Him, tired and oppressed, to have refreshment. Yet many times one prefers to remain closed in on oneself, to be alone with one’s own darkness, to cry on oneself, the Pope remarks, accepting the bad company of sadness, while instead “Jesus is the doctor”, “the true light that illuminates every man” , which gives warmth, love and frees the heart from evil.

The Pope during the celebration of the Mass




The Pope during the celebration of the Mass

Sin blinds us by distorting reality

The two protagonists of the Gospel, then, have much to teach, “with the sharing of their sufferings and with their fraternal friendship, the Pope reflects, adding that:

Each of us is blind in some way due to sin, which prevents us from “seeing” God as Father and others as brothers. And this sin does, it distorts reality: it makes us see God as master and others as problems. It is the work of the tempter, who falsifies things and tends to show them to us in a negative light to throw us into despair and bitterness.

Joy is the hallmark of the Christian

Finally, Francis highlights the enthusiasm of the two blind men “for having been healed” and “the joy for what they lived in the encounter” with Jesus which pushes them to evade the recommendation not to say anything to anyone and to spread the news of their recovery. For the Pope, more than a disobedience, here there is “another distinctive sign of the Christian: the joy of the Gospel, which is irrepressible, ‘fills the heart and the whole life of those who meet with Jesus’, frees from the risk of an intimate, serious and plaintive faith, and introduces into the dynamism of testimony “. A joy that Francis also found among the faithful present at the stadium:

Dear friends, it is nice to see you and to see that you live the liberating proclamation of the Gospel with joy. I thank you for that. It is not a question of proselytizing, please, never proselytizing, it is not a question of proselytizing, but of witnessing; not of moralism that judges, no, don’t do it, but of mercy that embraces; not of external worship, but of lived love. I encourage you to go forward on this path: like the two blind men of the Gospel, let us too renew the encounter with Jesus and let us go out of ourselves without fear to bear witness to those we meet!

Sow the Gospel in everyday life

For the Pope “there is a need for Christians illuminated but above all bright, that they touch with tenderness the blindness of the brothers; who with gestures and words of consolation turn on lights of hope in the dark. Christians who sow shoots of the Gospel in the dry fields of everyday life, who bring caresses in the solitude of suffering and poverty ”. At the end of his homily, Francis reassures that Jesus also passes through the streets of Cyprus healing wounds and infirmities and renewing fraternity and invites the faithful to invoke with him, three times, “Come, Lord Jesus”.

The affectionate greeting to the Cypriots

At the end of the Mass, the Pope sends a farewell greeting to the Church of Cyprus, thanking from the heart for the welcome and affection shown to him:

Here in Cyprus I am breathing some of that typical atmosphere of the Holy Land, where antiquity and the variety of Christian traditions enrich the pilgrim. This is good for me, and it is good for me to meet communities of believers who live the present with hope, open to the future, and share this horizon with those most in need.

Then the Pope’s thought goes to the migrants he will meet in the afternoon together with the faithful of various Christian confessions. And before leaving the altar, the homage to the Virgin accompanied by a Marian song.

Watch the full video of the Mass

The meeting with the chief rabbi and the director of the island prison

On his return to the Nunciature, the Holy See Press Office informs, Francis briefly met the Chief Rabbi of Cyprus Arie Zeev Raskin and, through him, sent a greeting to the Cypriot Jewish community. He then greeted the director of the island prison who brought him a greeting and a gift from the inmates, including migrants imprisoned because they were undocumented.

Last updated 12.01

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