Pope Francis: Thursday Mass in Santa Marta

2015-01-23 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The most important thing is not the grace of a physical healing, but the fact that Jesus saves us and intercedes for us: this was the focus of Pope Francis’ remarks following the readings of the day at Mass on Thursday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican.

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Commenting on the Gospel of the day (Mark 3:7-12), which tells of great crowds rushing to Jesus from every region, Pope Francis said that the people of God see in the Lord “a hope, because His way of acting, teaching, touches their heart, reaches the heart, because it has the power of the Word of God”:

“The people feel this, and see that promises are fulfilled in Jesus, that in Jesus there is hope. The people were a bit bored by the way of teaching the faith, by the teachers of the Law of that time, who burdened the shoulders of the people with so many commandments, so many precepts, but did not come to people’s hearts. And when the people see Jesus and hear Jesus - His proposals, the Beatitudes – they feel something moving inside – it is the Holy Spirit that is causing people to stir – and they go to see Jesus.”

Purity of intention in seeking God

The crowd goes to Jesus to be healed: that is, they seek their own good. “Never,” said Pope Francis, “can we follow God with purity of intention right from the start: it is always a search undertaken a little for us, and a little for God – and the journey itself purifies this intention.” The Pope went on to say, “People go, yes, they look for God, but they also look for health, for healing – and they threw themselves upon Him to touch Him, that some power might go out of Him and heal them.”

Jesus saves

The most important thing, however, is not that Jesus healed. Those healings were a sign of another healing, the Holy Father explained. Nor is the fact that Jesus says words that reach the heart the most important thing – though that certainly helps to meet God. The most important thing is in the Letter to the Hebrews (7:25), where it is written, “Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them.”:

“Jesus saves!” said Pope Francis. “These healings, these words that reach the heart, are the sign and the beginning of  salvation – the path of salvation for many who begin to go to hear Jesus or to ask for a healing and then come back to Him and feel salvation.” He went on to ask, “What, though, is most important? That Jesus heals? No, that is not the most important thing. That He teaches us? That is not the most important thing [either]. [The most important thing] is that He saves! He is the Savior and we are saved by him: this is the most important thing, and this is the strength of our faith.”

Jesus intercedes

Jesus ascended to the Father, “and from thence He continues to intercede, every day, every moment for us.”:

“This is relevant today. Jesus stands before the Father, offering His life – the redemption – He shows His wounds to the Father, the price of salvation – and so it is that every day, Jesus intercedes. When we, for one thing or the other, are feeling a little down, let us remember that it is He who prays for us, intercedes for us continually. So many times we forget this: ‘Jesus ... but yes, it’s finished, he’s gone to heaven, sent us the Holy Spirit, the story’s over.’ No! Even now, in every moment, Jesus intercedes. In this prayer: ‘Lord Jesus, only have mercy on me,’ He intercedes for me. Turn to the Lord, asking for this intercession.”

The “sensitivity” of the people of God

That Jesus is savior and intercessor is the central point, and we do well to remember this. “Thus, the crowd seeks Jesus with that instinctive sense of hope that is proper to the people of God, which was at that time awaiting the Messiah, and they look to find in Him health, truth, salvation, for He is the Savior and as Savior even now, at this moment, intercedes for us. That our Christian life might be ever more convinced that we are saved, that we have a Savior, Jesus at the right hand of the Father, interceding. May the Lord, the Holy Spirit, make us understand these things.”

(from Vatican Radio)