“The Lord does not save us with a letter, with a decree, but he has saved us” and continues to save us with “his love”, restoring human beings “dignity and hope”. During morning Mass, celebrated in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, on Wednesday 10 April, Pope Francis spoke about Christian salvation, focusing on its most authentic sense: that love of God that through his only begotten Son “became one of us, walked among us”.
Commenting on the Collect, the Pontiff stressed that the first prayer of the mass is spoken to the Lord: “You at Easter have done two things: you re-established man to his lost dignity” and, consequently, “gave hope”. Salvation according to Francis, this, he explained, “is salvation. The Lord gives us the dignity we have lost”. The dignity of children restores our dignity, and gives us hope. It is a dignity that moves forward until the definitive encounter with him. This is the road of salvation, and it is beautiful: only love makes it. We are worth, we are men and women of hope”.
It happens, however, that at times “we want to save ourselves and we believe we can do it. ‘I save myself!’. We don’t say it, but we live it, just so”. For example when we think: “I save myself with money. I am secure, I have some money, there is no problem… I have dignity: the dignity of the rich”. But, Pope Francis interjected, all that “is not enough. Think of the Gospel parable, of that man who had the full granary and said: ‘I will make another, to have more and more, and then I will sleep peacefully”. And the Lord responds: ‘You fool! You will die tonight’. That kind of salvation is wrong, it is a temporary, apparent”, like those times when we delude ourselves with thoughts of “salvation by vanity, or by pride”, believing ourselves “powerful”, masquerading “our poverty, our sins in vanity, pride: all things that end, while true salvation has to do with the dignity and hope received thanks to the love of God”, he added referring to the pass of the Gospel of John (3:16-21) proclaimed a few minutes before, who sent his only Son to save us.
At this point the Pope invited everyone to make “an act of faith”, saying: “Lord, I believe. I believe in your love. I believe that your love has saved me. I believe that your love has given me a dignity that I had not. I believe that your love gives me hope”. Here thus it becomes “beautiful to believe in love”, because “it is the truth. It is the truth of our life”.
The Pope repeated his invitation to believe in the love of God again at the end of the homily, with with a closing exhortation to us to open “our heart so that his love may enter, fill us and spur us to love others”.
Con-celebratingggg with the Pope, among others, were Cardinals Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, and Angelo Comastri, President of tFabicbic of St Peter’s; Archbishop Mario Aurelio Poli – appointed by Pope Bergoglio as his direct successor in the See of Buenos Aires – and Bishop Vittorio Lanzani, delegate of the Fabric of St Peter, and the Augustinian Mario Bettero, Parish priest of the Vatican Basilica. Among those present were: Minister of the Interior of the Italian Government, Anna Maria Cancellieri, with a few family members, the sisters of Santa Marta who work in the residence of the Cardinal Dean, a group of women religious of the order of the Most Holy Saviour of St Brigid, with their Superior General Tekla Famiglietti, and employees of the Fabric of St Peter.
“Our faith is not only centred on a book, but on a history of salvation and above all on a Person, Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh”. The Pope said this to members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission whom he received in Audience on Friday morning, 12 April in the Vatican’s Hall of Popes at the end of the Plenary Assembly.
The theme this year was “Inspiration and Truth in the Bible”. In his discourse Pope Francis also stressed that “the texts inspired by God were entrusted to the community of believers, to Christ’s Church, in order to nourish faith and guide the life of charity”. For his part, in presenting the work to the Pope Archbishop Müller, the President, emphasized several challenges: “one of these”, he explained, “is caused by the fact that certain texts “seem full of violence. Christian readers are shocked and bewildered by these texts, whereas some non-Christian readers accuse Christianity of professing and spreading a religion that is loaded with violence”.
How beautiful is the gaze with which Jesus regards us – how full of tenderness! Let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God.