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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Articles related to Casa Santa Marta


Pope Francis: May God give us the grace to proclaim an end to war
Pope Francis: May God give us the grace to proclaim an end to war

War begins in a person's heart, for this reason we are all responsible for caring for peace. This was Pope Francis' message during his morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. The Holy Father spoke about the sufferings of so many people whose lives are upset by wars waged by the powerful and arms traffickers. The dove, the rainbow, and the Covenant. The Holy Father spoke about these three images, present in the day's First Reading from the Book of Genesis,

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Pope Francis: Preach with courage, prayer, and humility
Pope Francis: Preach with courage, prayer, and humility

Courage prayer, and humility: these are the traits that distinguish the great "heralds" who have helped the Church grow in the world and have contributed to its missionary character - Pope Francis said this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Taking his inspiration from the Liturgy and from the example of Sts Cyril and Methodius, the patrons of Europe, who are honoured today, the Holy Father said there is need of "sowers of the Word," - for "missionaries, for true heralds to form the people of God, like Cyril and Methodius, "good heralds," intrepid brothers and witnesses of God who are honoured today,

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 Pope Francis: Bitterness is not Christian
Pope Francis: Bitterness is not Christian

During his morning homily at Casa Santa Marta on Monday, Pope Francis spoke of the importance of the bond of brotherhood and of how easy it is for petty jealousies and envy to damage that bond and set off a process that can lead to the destruction of families and peoples. The Pope offered the Mass for Father Adolfo Nicolás, the former Superior General of the Society of Jesus who is preparing to continue in his mission in Asia. Reflecting on the first reading of the day which speaks of Cain and Abel, Pope Francis said that in this reading, for the first time in Bible we hear the word 'brother'

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 Pope:  There is no dialogue with Satan - temptation calls for prayer
Pope: There is no dialogue with Satan - temptation calls for prayer

During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday, the Holy Father reflected on the devil's temptation of Adam and Eve, in the first Reading, and of Jesus in the Gospel. With Satan, the Pope said, there is no dialogue, because dialogue with the devil ends in sin and corruption. Temptations lead us to hide ourselves from the Lord, so that we remain with our "fault," our "sin," our "corruption." Beginning with the first Reading, from the Book of Genesis, Pope Francis focused on the temptation of Adam and Ee, and then considered that of Jesus in the desert.

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Pope: Without women there is no harmony in the world
Pope: Without women there is no harmony in the world

"Without women, there is no harmony in the world." That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily during morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. At the center of his reflection was the creation of woman, as told in Genesis. Men and women are not equal - one is not superior to the other. But it is the woman, and not the man, who brings that harmony which makes the world a beautiful place. Pope Francis was continuing his reflections on creation, the subject of the Readings for the past few days, taken from the Book of Genesis.

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Pope Francis: We have been given God's 'DNA'
Pope Francis: We have been given God's 'DNA'

In his homily during morning Mass on Tuesday, at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis focused on verses of Psalm 8: "Lord, what is man that you are mindful of him? Yet you have made him little less than a god, crowned him with glory and honour," and on the Book of Genesis' account of the Creation of man and woman. Pope Francis said: "First of all, He gave us His 'DNA', that is, He made us children, created us in His image, in His image and likeness, like Him. And when one makes a child, he cannot take it back: the son is made, he exists.

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Pope Francis: The Christian is a slave of love, not duty
Pope Francis: The Christian is a slave of love, not duty

In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday, the Holy Father focused on the theme of Christian freedom, saying that the follower of Christ is a "slave" but of love, not of duty, and urging the faithful not to hide in the "rigidity" of the Commandments. Taking the Responsorial Psalm, 103 (104) as his starting point: a "song of praise" to God for His wonders. "The Father," said Pope Francis, "works to make this wonder of creation and with His Son to accomplish this wonder of re-creation." Pope Francis also recalled an episode in which a child asked him what God was doing before

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Pope prays for martyrs who don't make the news
Pope prays for martyrs who don't make the news

Pope Francis offered Mass on Monday morning in Casa Santa Marta, for "today's martyrs", persecuted and imprisoned Christians, and for Churches which are not free to express the faith. With the understanding that "a Church without martyrs is a Church without Jesus", the Pontiff stressed that these martyrs sustain the Church and carry her forward. Even when "the media doesn't speak about them, because it is not news", today "many Christians in the world today are blessed because they are persecuted, insulted, imprisoned just for carrying a cross or for confessing to Jesus

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Pope prays for victims of attack on Quebec mosque
Pope prays for victims of attack on Quebec mosque

On Monday morning, after Mass at Casa Santa Marta, the Holy Father met with Cardinal Gérald Cyprien LaCroix, assuring the Archbishop of Quebec City of his prayers for the victims of the attack on a mosque there on Sunday night. Pope Francis stressed the importance of for all, Christians and Muslims, to be united in prayer. Following his meeting with the Pope, Cardinal Lacroix returned immediately to Canada. The Holy Father also formally expressed his condolences for the victims of the terrorist attack in a telegram addressed to Cardinal Lacroix,

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Pope Francis on priesthood of Christ
Pope Francis on priesthood of Christ

The priesthood of Christ was at the centre of the Pope's homily during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday. His reflection was taken from the day's first Reading, from the Letter of Hebrews, which speaks about Christ as the Mediator of the Covenant God has made with human beings. Jesus is the High Priest, and the priesthood of Christ is the great wonder, the greatest wonder, which makes us sing a new song to the Lord, as the Responsorial Psalm says. The priesthood of Christ takes place in three stages, the Pope said.

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Pope Francis: 'Christians need to overcome a self-centered mindset'
Pope Francis: 'Christians need to overcome a self-centered mindset'

Pope Francis has called on Christians to overcome the self-centered mindset of the doctors of the law who know only how to condemn. Reflecting on the day's reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, during morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta, the Pope said the new covenant which God makes with us in Jesus Christ renews our heart. God renews all things "from the roots, not only in appearance," he said. "This new covenant has its own characteristics." First, he said, "the law of the Lord is not an external way of acting" rather, it enters the heart and "changes our mindset", as well as

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Pope Francis: Don't be a 'parked' Christian - be courageous
Pope Francis: Don't be a 'parked' Christian - be courageous

The life of a Christian ought to be courageous, Pope Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. The day's reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, speaks about zeal, the courage to go forward, which should be our approach toward life, like the attitude of those who train for victory in the arena. But the Letter also speaks of the laziness that is the opposite of courage. "Living in the fridge," the Pope summarised, "so that everything stays the same."

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Pope Francis: Get moving if you want to follow Jesus
Pope Francis: Get moving if you want to follow Jesus

During his homily at morning Mass in Santa Marta on Friday, Pope Francis said that authentic faith must be ready to take risks and that real hope is the reward. Commenting on the Gospel account of the paralytic who is lowered from the roof of the house where Jesus is teaching, the Pope said people follow Jesus out of self interest or because they are looking for a comforting word. Even if no intention is totally pure or perfect, he said, the important thing is to follow Jesus. People were drawn to Him because of the "things He said and the way he said them.

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Pope Francis: Make the most of each day
Pope Francis: Make the most of each day

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning Pope Francis reflected on the unique and unrepeatable opportunities each day offers to grow in faith and love of God. Reflecting on the day's readings, the Holy father noted there is "only one 'today', in our lives," - only one real, concrete today. Our temptation and everyone's temptation is to say: "Yes, I will do tomorrow," though this is the temptation of a "'tomorrow' there will not be," as Jesus says in the parable of the ten virgins - the five foolish ones who had not taken oil with them along with their lamps,

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Pope Francis: Jesus had authority because He was close to people
Pope Francis: Jesus had authority because He was close to people

Jesus had authority because He served the people, He was close to them and He was coherent. These three characteristics of Jesus' authority were highlighted by Pope Francis in his homily at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father noted, on the other hand, that the scribes behaved like princes. They taught with a clericalist authority. They were distant from the people - and didn't practice what they preached. The day's Gospel speaks of the amazement of the people because Jesus taught "as one who has authority" and not like the scribes: they were the 'authorities'

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Pope: Christians should point the way to Jesus
Pope: Christians should point the way to Jesus

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday morning, Pope Francis reflected on John the Baptist, who, as a model of humble witness to Jesus, denied himself, even to the point of death, in order to point out the coming of the Son of God. The Mass was attended by Bishops and religious celebrating the 50th anniversary of their ordination, and married couples celebrating the 50th anniversary of their wedding vows. In his homily Pope Francis said the vocation of St John the Baptist, was to "to give witness to Jesus," "to point out Jesus.."

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Pope: Pastors should welcome people's first steps, let God do the rest
Pope: Pastors should welcome people's first steps, let God do the rest

Pastors should speak the truth, but at the same time welcome people for what they are able to give. This is the first step - the rest we leave to the Lord. That was the message of Pope Francis at Mass this morning in Casa Santa Marta... Many people went out into the desert to find John the Baptist. Among the crowds were the Pharisees and the doctors of the law who went out with a certain detachment, intending not to be baptized by John, but to judge him.

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Pope: Clericalism distances people from the Church
Pope: Clericalism distances people from the Church

The spirit of clericalism is an evil that is present in the Church today, Pope Francis said, and the victim of this spirit is the people, who feel discarded and abused. That was the Pope's message in his homily during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today. Among those taking part in the Mass were the members of the Council of Cardinals, who are meeting with the Pope this week in Rome. In his homily, Pope Francis warned pastors of the dangers of becoming "intellectuals of religion" with a morality far from the Revelation of God.

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Pope Francis: rigidity and worldliness are a disaster for priests
Pope Francis: rigidity and worldliness are a disaster for priests

During Friday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the need for priests to serve as authentic mediators of God's love, rather than as intermediaries - "go-betweens" or "middle-men" - concerned only with advancing their own interests. "The mediator gives himself to unite the parties, he gives his life. That is the price - he pays with his life, his fatigue, his work, so many things, but - in this case the pastor - to unite the flock, to unite people, to bring them to Jesus. The logic of Jesus as mediator is the logic of annihilating oneself.

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Pope Francis: 'God's tenderness is our salvation'
Pope Francis: 'God's tenderness is our salvation'

A person who does not know the tenderness of God, does not know the Christian doctrine, Pope Francis explained his homily at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Most of his homily focused largely on the story of Judas. Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day which recounts the Parable of the lost sheep, Pope Francis spoke of how the Lord never stops looking for us. The Lord is like a caring judge, who does everything to save us. "He does not come to condemn, but to save" the Pope said,

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Pope: Let us allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ
Pope: Let us allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ

During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday, Pope Francis focussed on the theme of the renewal that the Lord brings. Let us allow ourselves to be transformed by Christ; let us allow ourselves to be able to be re-created, freeing us from our sins, he said. Only by calling our sins by their name, he said, will we be able to allow God to make us new women and men. The desert will bloom, the blind will see, the deaf will hear. The first reading, from the Prophet Isaiah, speaks to us about renewal, the Pope said.

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Pope Francis. True Christian humility is 'childlike' not 'theatrical'
Pope Francis. True Christian humility is 'childlike' not 'theatrical'

Pope Francis said yesterday that true Christian humility is the virtue of the childlike and is never a 'theatrical humility'. His words came during his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the day's readings in his homily, Pope Francis said God reveals himself to the humble and childlike rather than the wise and learned as recounted in the gospel of Luke. He noted that the first reading from the book of Isaiah is also full of references to little things such as the small shoot that "shall sprout from the stump of Jesse" rather than an army that will bring about liberation.

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Pope Francis: Faith is not a theory - it is an encounter with Jesus
Pope Francis: Faith is not a theory - it is an encounter with Jesus

Christian faith is not a theory or a philosophy - it is the encounter with Jesus. That was the message of Pope Francis at the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Monday morning. The Pope emphasized that in order to truly encounter Jesus we undertake the journey with three attitudes: to be vigilant in prayer, industrious in charity, exultant in praise. Pope Francis based the homily on the theme of the encounter with the Lord. He noted first that in this period of the year, the Liturgy shows us many encounters with Jesus: with His Mother in the womb, with Saint John the Baptist, with

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Pope: Death is nothing to fear if we're faithful to God
Pope: Death is nothing to fear if we're faithful to God

..the Pope's homily focused on the reality of how all of us will face Jesus on the day of judgement. He said a call from the Lord to think about the end of our lives, the end for each of us because all of us will die, comes as the Church heads into the final week of the Liturgical Year. Pope Francis acknowledged that we do not like to think of these things but said this is the reality facing all of us. He then disclosed that he keeps a diary where he writes down when a person dies and each day "I see that anniversary" and I see how time has passed.

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Pope: Have the courage to embrace Christian poverty
Pope: Have the courage to embrace Christian poverty

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday, Pope Francis appealed for God to grant believers the courage to embrace Christian poverty, saying people cannot forgive a priest who is attached to money. Reflecting on the day's Gospel in which where Jesus drove out the traders from the temple, accusing them of transforming it into a den of thieves, the Pope spoke of the power and allure of money. He said Jesus's action helps us to understand where the seed of the antichrist is contained, the seed of the enemy that ruins his Kingdom: attachment to money.

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Pope warns against  religion as short-lived entertainment
Pope warns against religion as short-lived entertainment

In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis warned Christians against the temptation of a show or entertainment religion that constantly seeks novelty and revelations. He compared that to fireworks that provide us with a fleeting brightness. The Holy Father was reflecting on the day's reading about Jesus' reply to the Pharisees' question on when the Kingdom of God would come, where He stresses how Christians must guard hope every day whilst waiting for the fullness of the Kingdom. Noting that Jesus told the Pharisees "the Kingdom of God is among you,"

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Pope: 'If we hunger after power and wealth we cannot serve God well'
Pope: 'If we hunger after power and wealth we cannot serve God well'

If we hunger after power and wealth, we cannot serve God well, Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. The Holy Father began his homily saying, if we want to be good and faithful servants of the Lord, we must guard against dishonestly and the pursuit of power. But how often, do we see or hear ourselves saying, even in our own homes, that "I'm in charge here?" Jesus taught us that leaders are those who serve others, and if we want to be first, we must become the servant of all.

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Pope: Jesus is the cornerstone of our life, praying for us
Pope: Jesus is the cornerstone of our life, praying for us

Jesus is the cornerstone of our life, Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning. Reflecting on the Gospel recounting how Jesus spent the night in prayer before choosing his disciples, the Pope's homily reflected on the fundamental importance of prayer for Christians. He said whilst Jesus is the cornerstone of the Church and there is no Church without Him, the key to this cornerstone is Jesus who is praying for us. "'Jesus went up to the mountain to pray and he spent the night in prayer to God.'

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Pope: God  weeps over today's wars waged for money
Pope: God weeps over today's wars waged for money

In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, Pope Francis said God weeps over today's calamities, the wars waged to worship 'the idol of money' and over the many innocent victims killed by the bombs. He stressed that God weeps because humanity does not understand "the peace that He offers us." Reflecting on the day's reading from the Gospel of Luke where Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, the "closed" city that "kills the prophets and stones those sent" to it, Pope Francis' recalled some of the moments of weeping during Christ's ministry.

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Pope: God calls us to be merciful not rigid
Pope: God calls us to be merciful not rigid

Pope Francis warned against rigidity in his homily at Casa Santa Marta on Monday. God gives us the freedom and the gentleness to be merciful, he said. Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day in which Jesus, who was teaching in the synagogue, healed a crippled woman and ignited the anger of the righteous, Pope Francis said "it is not easy to keep to the path indicated by God's Law." Matthew's Gospel tells us that Jesus' action provoked the fury of the leader of the synagogue who was "indignant that he had cured the woman on the Sabbath"

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Pope urges Christians to rediscover gentleness
Pope urges Christians to rediscover gentleness

Humility, gentleness and magnanimity are the three key attitudes to build unity within the Church, Pope Francis said during his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta today. He urged Christians to reject envy, jealousy and conflicts. Reflecting on the greeting at Mass: 'peace be with you', the Pope focused his homily on what is required to nurture peace and unity and avoid war and conflicts. He said our Lord's greeting "creates a bond" of peace and unites us to create a unity of spirit and warned that if there's no peace and if we aren't able to greet each other in the widest sense of the word,

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Pope Francis: Catechism is not enough to know Jesus
Pope Francis: Catechism is not enough to know Jesus

The catechism on its own is not sufficient to truly know Jesus, we need prayer, worship and to recognize ourselves as sinners, Pope Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today. The Holy Father was reflecting on St Paul's letter to the Ephesians where the Apostle prayed that they may be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit and that Christ may dwell in their hearts. Noting that Paul spoke of plunging into the immense sea that is the person of Christ, Pope Francis asked: "how can we know Christ, How can we understand His love that is beyond all

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Pope: Examine your conscience and avoid hypocrisy
Pope: Examine your conscience and avoid hypocrisy

During Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis urged Christians to always tell the truth, to avoid succumbing to hypocrisy which he described as a kind of 'spiritual schizophrenia' that makes us say many things without putting them into practice. Reflecting on the day's readings the Pope noted that there's a good leaven and a bad leaven. The former builds the kingdom of God whereas the latter only creates the appearance of the Kingdom of God.

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Pope Francis: God isn't interested in 'cosmetic' religion
Pope Francis: God isn't interested in 'cosmetic' religion

Jesus asks us to perform good deeds with humility and rejects 'cosmetic' religion that is only concerned with outward appearance and pretends to be what it's not - that was the message of Pope Francis at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. Reflecting on the day's readings from St Paul's letter to the Galatians and the Gospel account in which Jesus rebukes a Pharisee for being totally concerned with the outward appearance of cleanliness rather than on the inner substance of his faith, the Pope noted that Jesus's answer to the Pharisee who was unequivocal.

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Pope: Ask yourself 'am I open to the Holy Spirit, or lukewarm?'
Pope: Ask yourself 'am I open to the Holy Spirit, or lukewarm?'

True doctrine is not a rigid attachment to the Law, which bewitches as ideologies do. Rather, it is the revelation of God, which allows itself to be discovered more and more fully each day by those who are open to the Holy Spirit. That was the message of Pope Francis at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The readings of the day speak of the Holy Spirit, the "great gift of the Father," the power that allows the Church to go forth courageously even to the ends of the earth.

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Pope Francis speaks on difference between 'good' and 'bad' anxiety
Pope Francis speaks on difference between 'good' and 'bad' anxiety

Pope Francis contrasted the anxiety that comes from the Holy Spirit and the anxiety that comes from a bad conscience during his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Thursday he also spoke about vanity, which "masks" life, making it look like something it is not. The Gospel of the day describes King Herod (Antipas) as being perplexed or anxious because, after having John the Baptist killed, he now felt threatened by Jesus. He was worried just as his father, Herod the Great, was troubled after the visit of the Magi.

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Pope Francis: Don't be a 'mafioso' but live in the light of faith
Pope Francis: Don't be a 'mafioso' but live in the light of faith

Don't envy the rich and powerful or conspire against your neighbour, but instead nurture the light of faith in your lives. That was the Pope's message on Monday morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the day's reading from St Luke's Gospel the Pope talked about the many ways in which we hide the light of faith, through jealousy and arguments, by plotting evil against our neighbours or simply by putting off until tomorrow the good that we should do today. The light of faith, he said, is a gift that each one of us receives

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 Pope Francis: Take refuge under the mantle of the Mother of God
Pope Francis: Take refuge under the mantle of the Mother of God

In a world that suffers the crisis of "a great orphanhood," we have a Mother that accompanies and defends us - that was That was the message of Pope Francis during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Pope Francis said: "The Gospel of the day brings us to Calvary. All the disciples had fled, except for St John and a few women. At the foot of the Cross is Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Everyone is looking at her, saying: 'That's the mother of this delinquent! That is the mother of this subversive!'

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Pope Francis: Put away your mobiles and really be present
Pope Francis: Put away your mobiles and really be present

Pope Francis warned against bad habits, with our loved ones that prevent us from truly listening and empathising with them. Reflecting on the day's Gospel, during morning Mass on Tuesday at Casa Santa Marta in which Jesus brought back from the dead the only son of a widow, the Pope said that so often, when people meet each other, "each of them is thinking of themselves, they can see the other person but are not looking at him or her, they can hear that person but are not listening...An encounter is something different.

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Pope Francis: Devil seeks to divide the Church
Pope Francis: Devil seeks to divide the Church

Divisions destroy the Church, and the devil seeks to attack the root of unity - the celebration of the Eucharist - Pope Francis said during Mass on Monday morning at Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the reading from the First Letter to the Corinthians, in which St Paul rebuked the Corinthians for their contentiousness, the Holy Father said: "The devil has two very powerful weapons to destroy the Church: divisions and money." This has happened from the beginning, he said.

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Pope Francis evangelise with your whole life - don't proselytise
Pope Francis evangelise with your whole life - don't proselytise

Evangelisation, is an art and a discipline, not easy, not something that can be done by rote, Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. Reflecting on the Readings of the day - the feast of the Jesuit priest St Peter Claver, who ministered to African slaves in the Americas, the Holy Father said the essence of evangelization is to witness to Christ with one's whole life. Sadly, however, there are some Christians today, who live their lives of service as though they were mere functionaries, priests and lay people who boast of what

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Pope Francis: Conferences won't achieve peace if hearts are at war
Pope Francis: Conferences won't achieve peace if hearts are at war

In the first daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta after the summer break, Pope Francis spoke about the importance of working for peace in small, daily actions, because, he said, it is in small daily gestures that peace on a global scale is born. It is not so much great international meetings that produce peace, he said. Rather, peace is a gift from God which is born in small places: in the heart, for instance; or in a dream, as happened to St Joseph when the angel told him not to fear to take Mary as his wife, because she would give

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Pope has lunch with Syrian refugees
Pope has lunch with Syrian refugees

Pope Francis had lunch with a group of 21 Syrian refugees today at Casa Santa Marta. During the meal, families had a chance to chat with Pope Francis about how they are settling in to life in Italy. The children gave the Holy Father a collection of their drawings, and the Pope showered them with toys and other gifts. The refugees, who live in Rome and are hosted by the S. Egidio Community, were brought to Rome from Lesbos by Pope Francis at the conclusion of his visit to the Greek island on 16 April 2016.

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Pope Francis: Look in the mirror before judging others
Pope Francis: Look in the mirror before judging others

Before judging others we should look at ourselves in the mirror, Pope Francis said in his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday. In his last Mass with a homily there ahead of the summer break, the Holy Father pointed out that what distinguishes God's judgment from ours is not "omnipotence" but "mercy. Judgment belongs to God alone, so if we do not want to be judged, we should not judge others says Pope Francis. Reflecting on the day's Gospel, the Pope said "all of us want the Lord to look upon us with kindness" on Judgment Day and that

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Pope Francis: 'Our Father' is cornerstone of our prayer life
Pope Francis: 'Our Father' is cornerstone of our prayer life

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning, Pope Francis said prayers are not magic words for Christian, but when we pray the 'Our Father' we can feel God looking at us and this prayer should be the cornerstone of our prayer life. Taking his inspiration from the Gospel reading where Jesus teaches his disciples to pray the Our Father, the Pope's homily was a reflection on the value and meaning of prayer in the life of a Christian. He noted that Jesus always used the word "Father" in the most important or challenging moments of his life,

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Pope Francis: Praying for our enemies can heal our hearts
Pope Francis: Praying for our enemies can heal our hearts

Praying for our enemies can heal our hearts: that was Pope Francis' message at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning. Recalling his own childhood in Argentina, when people prayed that dictators would go to hell, the Pope recalled how Jesus himself tells us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Reflecting on the day's Gospel of St Matthew where Jesus tells his disciples to love their enemies, Pope Francis noted that this instruction was in contrast to what the Doctors of the Law taught in those days:

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Pope Francis on the lesson of Elijah
Pope Francis on the lesson of Elijah

Pope Francis focused on three attitudes that are characteristic of the Christian, during Mass at Casa Santa Marta yesterday; 'standing' before God in 'silence' to hear His voice and readiness to 'go out' into the world to proclaim what one has heard to others. The Pope warned against the danger of paralyzing fear in one's life. In the First Reading of the Day, the Holy Father recalled how Elijah was victorious, how he "fought so much for the faith," and defeated hundreds of idolaters on Mount Carmel. But then, he reaches breaking point.

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 Pope: Those who say 'its this or nothing' are heretics not Catholics
Pope: Those who say 'its this or nothing' are heretics not Catholics

Pope Francis warned against excessive rigidity, saying those within the Church who tell us "it's this or nothing" are heretics and not Catholics. His comments came during morning Mass on Thursday at Casa Santa Marta. In his homily the Pope reflected on the harm caused by those who do the opposite of what they preach and urged them to free themselves from a rigid idealism that prevents reconciliation between each other.

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Pope Francis: Prayer lights up Christian life
Pope Francis: Prayer lights up Christian life

"In this age lacking in social friendship, our first task is that of building community" Pope Francis said today in his Twitter message. The Holy Father expressed the same ideas during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the Gospel of the day, Pope Francis recalled how Jesus told his disciples "you are the salt of the earth"... "you are the light of the world." Christians must be salt and light, but never self-serving. Salt must add flavour and light must illuminate the other.

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Pope: 'The Beatitudes offer roadmap for Christian life'
Pope: 'The Beatitudes offer roadmap for Christian life'

Pope Francis urged Christians to follow the guidance of the Beatitudes, in his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning (Monday}. Reflecting on the Sermon on the Mount, Pope Francis said Jesus' teaching on that occasion did not erase the old law; rather it 'perfected' it bringing it to its fullness: "This is the new law, the one we call 'the Beatitudes'. It's the Lord's new law for us." He described this teaching as the "roadmap for Christian life" which gives us the directions to move forward on the right path.

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Pope: 'The Beatitudes offer the roadmap for Christian life'

Pope Francis urged Christians to follow the guidance of the Beatitudes, in his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning (Monday}. Reflecting on the Sermon on the Mount, Pope Francis said Jesus' teaching on that occasion did not erase the old law; rather it 'perfected' it bringing it to its fullness: "This is the new law, the one we call 'the Beatitudes'. It's the Lord's new law for us." He described this teaching as the "roadmap for Christian life" which gives us the directions to move forward on the right path.

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Pope Francis: Christians serve with joy, not a frown
Pope Francis: Christians serve with joy, not a frown

Pope Francis urged Christians to serve other people, without delay or hesitation, saying if we learnt how to reach out in this way, the world would be a very different place. His remarks came during his homily at the morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta today where he used the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary for his reflections on the theme of Christians at the service of others. May 31st was the final day of the month dedicated to Mary and the Pope used the day's readings to illustrate Mary's courage, her helping hand and concern for others and above

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Pope reflects on memory, prophecy, hope
Pope reflects on memory, prophecy, hope

In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday morning, Pope Francis focused on the threefold theme of the dynamic unity in Christian life, the signs of which are living memory, the prophetic spirit, and the sure horizon of hope. In the Gospel passage of the day - from the Gospel according to St Mark (12:1-12), Jesus addresses the Priests, Scribes and Pharisees with the parable of the murderous tenant-farmers.

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Pope Francis: We cannot achieve holiness on our own
Pope Francis: We cannot achieve holiness on our own

During his homily at Mass at Santa Marta on Tuesday morning, Pope Francis reflected on one of the readings, from the First Letter of St Peter, which he called a "small treatise on holiness." Holiness means "to walk in the presence of God without reproach," he said. Holiness cannot be bought. Neither can it be earned by human strength. No, "the simple holiness of all Christians ... ours - the kind we are called to every day," said the Pope, "can only be attained with the help of four essential elements: courage, hope, grace, and conversion."

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Pope: We need attachment to truth, understanding of human frailty
Pope: We need attachment to truth, understanding of human frailty

Announcing the word of God should never be separated from an understanding of human weakness. That was Pope Francis' message during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. Commenting on the Gospel in which Christ speaks with the Pharisees about adultery, he said the Lord overcomes the human vision which would reduce the vision of God to a casuistic equation. The Gospel, the Pope said, is full of examples of the Pharisees and doctors of the law attempting to trap Jesus by catching Him off guard,

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Pope: Rich people who exploit the poor are bloodsuckers
Pope: Rich people who exploit the poor are bloodsuckers

Exploiting working people to enrich oneself is like sucking blood - it's a mortal sin. That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The day's first reading, taken from the Letter of Saint James, is a forceful warning to the rich who accumulate wealth by exploiting the people. "Riches in themselves are good," the Pope explained, but they are "relative, not absolute" goods. He criticized the so-called "theology of prosperity" -

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Pope: Social climbers, money and power, harm the Church
Pope: Social climbers, money and power, harm the Church

Pope Francis urged Christians to overcome the lure of worldliness and human ambition and warned against social climbers who are tempted to destroy the other in order to reach the top. The path of Jesus is in serving others, the Holy Father said during his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta today. In the Gospel reading, Jesus' disciples were arguing among themselves over who was the greatest. Pope Francis reflected on the dangers of power, money, ambition and vanity, noting that Jesus was warning his disciples about

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Pope: Christians seek unity, those who sow weeds divide
Pope: Christians seek unity, those who sow weeds divide

Jesus prays for the unity of Christians, but within the Church there are those who sow weeds (Pope Francis used the Italian word 'zizzanieri') - those who divide and destroy the community with their tongues. That was the message of Pope Francis at Thursday's morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Before the Passion, Jesus prays for "the unity of believers, of the Christian community," so that they might be one--as He and the Father are one--that the world might believe. Pope Francis took this passage as the starting point for his homily.

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Pope: The Holy Spirit makes us real Christians, not virtual ones
Pope: The Holy Spirit makes us real Christians, not virtual ones

Pope Francis says it is the Holy Spirit that moves the Church but for many Christians today, the Holy Spirit is a stranger. Speaking on Monday morning during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta the Pope urged believers to allow themselves to be propelled by the Holy Spirit whom, he said, shows us the way to freedom. He also had a special greeting for the Vincentian Sisters of Charity who work at the Casa Santa Marta and who are marking the feast day of their founder: St Louise de Marillac.

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Pope advises young people to listen to the Holy Spirit
Pope advises young people to listen to the Holy Spirit

Pope Francis said missionaries are compelled by the Holy Spirit to dedicate their lives to service even in the most distant places. The Holy Father was reflecting on the day's Gospel, during Tuesday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, which describes Paul's departure from the community at Miletus. He felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem, knowing he would never see the community in Melitus again. This call from the Spirit was an irresistible drive to give his life in the service of Christ.

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Pope Francis: No pain can take away Christian hope and joy
Pope Francis: No pain can take away Christian hope and joy

A Christian will experience joy even in the midst of pain because we live in the hope that God will give us a joy nobody can take away - that was the main message in Pope Francis' homily this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the day's reading where Jesus warns his disciples of a coming sadness but says it will be transformed later into a cry of joy, Pope Francis reflected in his homily on how Christians should always maintain their joy and hope, even in the midst of pain. He used the example of a woman in labour,

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Pope: Many Christians are confused or  'mummified' in their faith
Pope: Many Christians are confused or 'mummified' in their faith

Many people are following Christianity in a confused way, forgetting that Jesus is the only true path, Pope Francis said in his morning homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. In the day's Gospel reading, Jesus tells the Apostles 'I am the way' - Pope Francis reflected on the need for Christians to consistently follow Jesus and not get waylaid or blocked on their journey of faith. He said there are many different types of Christians who are following Jesus in a confused manner like the mummified Christian, the vagabond Christian, the

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Pope: The Holy Spirit strengthens us even during persecution
Pope: The Holy Spirit strengthens us even during persecution

The Holy Spirit gives us strength, so that we may bear witness to the Lord in times of persecution - even to the point of sacrificing our lives - but also through the small persecutions such as gossip and criticism. This was theme of Pope Francis' homily during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday. As we near Pentecost, the readings increasingly focus on the Holy Spirit. The Acts of the Apostles tell us that the Lord opened the heart of a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatria who came to hear St Paul.

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Pope warns Christians against leading double lives
Pope warns Christians against leading double lives

During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday, Pope Francis warned Christians against having double lives - displaying an outer facade of light but having darkness in their hearts. He urged them to walk in the light and not tread dark paths, saying God's truth cannot be found there. Reflecting of St John's First Letter, Pope Francis spoke of the eternal struggle against sin, saying we must be pure like the Father but even if we sin we can count on his pardon and his tenderness. He stressed the Apostle's warning to believers to tell the truth

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Pope:  There has always been resistance to 'surprises of the Spirit'
Pope: There has always been resistance to 'surprises of the Spirit'

The Holy Spirit has been the guiding light of the Church from the beginning, Pope Francis said in his homily this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, but he said, from the beginning there has always been resistance to 'surprises of the Spirit'. The Holy Father was reflecting on the reading from Acts of the Apostles which describe the division and resistance within the early Church in Jerusalem. It's the Spirit who, from the very beginning, gives strength to the apostles to proclaim the Gospel and it's the Spirit who

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Pope Francis: A Christian is a person of hope
Pope Francis: A Christian is a person of hope

A Christian is a person of hope, who knows and witnesses that Jesus lives, that he is among us, that he prays to the Father for each of us and that he will come again. This is how Pope Francis summed up the relationship between every Christian and the Risen Jesus, during Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, Friday 22 April. Reflecting on the day's readings, the Pope focussed on three key words for Christian life: message, intercession and hope.

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Pope Francis: Remembering brings us closer to God
Pope Francis: Remembering brings us closer to God

The parallel between the history of the people of Israel and that of the individual Christian was the theme of Pope Francis homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. Along the path of life we never walk alone, and in order to remember that God is beside us, he helps us understand that salvation is not a momentary event but a history that unfolds day by day, amid successes and failures, until the final encounter. The day's reading from The Acts of the Apostles (13:13-25) regarding the first preaching

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Pope: Those who refuse to be drawn towards Christ are like orphans
Pope: Those who refuse to be drawn towards Christ are like orphans

Those who harden their hearts and refuse to be drawn towards Christ are like orphans, without a father, Pope Francis said during his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. The Holy Father began his reflection by recalling the question that the sceptical Jews kept asking Jesus every time he performed a miracle, preached in the temple or pointed the way to the Father: "How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

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Pope Francis: Jesus speaks using simple images
Pope Francis: Jesus speaks using simple images

The image of Jesus the Good Shepherd was the focus of Pope Francis' homily during Mass at Santa Marta on Monday morning (18 April). Commenting on the Gospel of John (10:1-10), the Pontiff highlighted three realities on which he chose "to reflect: the door, the path, and the voice. First the door. The Gospel passage presents Jesus' words: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber."

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Pope reflects on conversion of Saint Paul
Pope reflects on conversion of Saint Paul

During morning Mass today at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the account of the conversion of Saul, in the Acts of the Apostles (9:1-20) and the importance of docility to the action of the Holy Spirit. Yesterday the liturgy highlighted how both the Apostle Philip and the queen's minister had their hearts open to the voice of the Spirit. Today brought "the story of a man who lets God change his heart: the transformation from a closed, hard, misguided heart to a man with a heart docile to the Holy Spirit."

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Pope Francis: Be docile to the Holy Spirit
Pope Francis: Be docile to the Holy Spirit

One must be docile to the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis said on Thursday, during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Pope Francis warned against those who resist the Spirit with "so-called fidelity to the law" and invited the faithful to pray for the grace of the docility to the Spirit. Philip evangelized the Ethiopian, a senior official of Queen Candace. Pope Francis was inspired by this fascinating account in the Acts of the Apostles, in the first reading, focusing his attention on the docility to the Holy Spirit.

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Pope Francis: Christians are being persecuted in two ways
Pope Francis: Christians are being persecuted in two ways

Christians around the world are being persecuted in two ways, Pope Francis said during his homily at Casa Santa Marta yesterday morning. There is the explicit kind, such as the martyrs killed at Easter in Pakistan, and the kind of persecution that is "polite, disguised as culture, modernity and progress", and ends up taking away man's freedom and even the right to conscientious objection. But through suffering persecution, Christians know that that the Lord is always at their side, the Pope said.

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Pope Francis: Celebrate the 'yes'
Pope Francis: Celebrate the 'yes'

On Monday, 4 April, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, during Mass at Santa Marta, the Pope invited a "celebration of 'yes'". Among the concelebrants were a group of priests commemorating the 50th anniversary of their ordination, who stated a definitive "yes" - and Vincentian nuns who work at Santa Marta also renewed their vows. "It is all a history that ends and begins in this solemnity that we are celebrating today: the history of mankind, when he leaves paradise," the Pope noted at the beginning of his homily.

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Pope Francis launches 'Franciscus' Instagram account
Pope Francis launches 'Franciscus' Instagram account

Pope Francis today launched his new Instagram account 'Franciscus', from Casa Santa Marta, with an image of himself in prayer, and the words: "I am beginning a new journey, on Instagram, to walk with you along the path of the mercy and tenderness of God." To create his startup profile, the Holy Father was assisted by Kevin Systrom, the CEO and co-founder of Instagram, and Mgr Lucio Adrian Ruiz, secretary of the Secretariat for Communication.

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Pope: The Lord walks with us through the dark valleys of our lives
Pope: The Lord walks with us through the dark valleys of our lives

We all experience dark times in our lives, Pope Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday. Reflecting on the day's Reading which tells the story of Susanna, a just woman who is blackmailed by two judges, but chooses to trust in God rather than succumb to their wish, he said that even when we find ourselves walking in a "valley of darkness" we need not fear evil. The Lord always walks with us, loves us and does not abandon us. "When we look at the many dark valleys, at the many misfortunes, at the fact there

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Pope: When your heart is hard you cannot understand God's mercy
Pope: When your heart is hard you cannot understand God's mercy

Jesus asks each one of us directly: "are you with me or against me?" - Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. Admitting that we are sinners, open ourselves unconditionally to God's mercy, and being able to ask for forgiveness is the first step in a decisive response to that question, he said. At the beginning of the first reading, Francis noted, the prophet Jeremiah (7:23-28), "reminds us of God's pact with his people: 'Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people.

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Pope Francis: Real mercy means forgiving and forgetting
Pope Francis: Real mercy means forgiving and forgetting

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning, Pope Francis spoke on the season of Lent, as a privileged time in which to prepare our hearts to receive God's forgiveness and to forgive our neighbours in turn, forgetting the faults of others. The Holy Father's reflection focused on God's infinite capacity for forgiveness as a perfection of his nature, which contrasts sharply with the inability of fallen human nature to make even the slightest concession to its own frailty.

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Pope Francis: we are not saved by political or clerical parties
Pope Francis: we are not saved by political or clerical parties

God's salvation does not come from power or wealth, nor from clerical or political parties, but from the small and simple things of God, Pope Francis explained in his homily at Mass on Monday morning at Casa Santa Marta. In the first Reading, Naaman the Syrian, a leper, asked the prophet Elisha to heal him, but could not appreciate the simple means by which this healing would be accomplished. The Gospel spoke of the disdain the inhabitants of Nazareth felt at the words of Jesus, their fellow countryman. It was

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Pope Francis: Am I a Christian in name only?
Pope Francis: Am I a Christian in name only?

... to truly live our Christian faith, we must recognize the poor who are near to us. In them, Jesus Himself is knocking at the door of our heart, he said. In the day's Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man "who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day," and who did not recognize that at his door there was a poor man named Lazarus, who was covered with sores. The Pope invited us to ask ourselves the question: "Am I a Christian in name only, on the path of lies; or am I on the path of life,

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Pope Francis: God is real, too many Christians are fake
Pope Francis: God is real, too many Christians are fake

Pope Francis described Christianity as a religion that by its very nature must act for good, not a "religion of saying" made of hypocrisy and vanity. The Holy Father was speaking at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. Following the readings of the day, Pope Francis reflected on God's reality and the "fakeness" of so many Christians who treat the faith as though it were window dressing, devoid of obligation, or, as an occasion for aggrandizement rather than an opportunity for service, especially to our neediest neighbours.

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Pope saddened by death of Casa Santa Marta family member
Pope saddened by death of Casa Santa Marta family member

Pope Francis spoke yesterday of his sadness at the death of one of the workers at Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father said the woman, who was called Elvira, had been sick for some time. He was speaking at the end of his first Jubilee audience during this Year of Mercy in St Peter's Square and he asked the pilgrims present to pray a Hail Mary for the woman and her family. Casa Santa Marta is a big house, the Pope said, where about 40 priests, and some bishops who are working in the Curia live. There are also, he added, guests who stay, such as

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  Pope Francis:  The Christian heart is magnanimous
Pope Francis: The Christian heart is magnanimous

In his reflection on the Gospel reading today during Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said heart of the Christian is magnanimous because we were born of a loving Father and our arms should be open wide to welcome everyone with generosity. "The mystery of God is light", the Holy Father said, commenting on the passage in which Jesus says that the lamp does not come to be put under a bushel, or under the bed, but to be put on the lampstand to illuminate. "A Christian who has received the light in Baptism must give it. That is, the Christian is a

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Pope Francis: God's people suffer if their bishops fail to pray
Pope Francis: God's people suffer if their bishops fail to pray

If a bishop does not pray and does not announce the Gospel but is concerned with other things, God's people suffer, Pope Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. The day's Gospel (Mk 3: 13-19) describes how Jesus chose the twelve Apostles - "to be with him and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons." Pope Francis said. They were the first bishops, he explained. After the death of Judas, Matthias was elected in "the first episcopal ordination of the Church." And, the Pope pointed out, "the bishops are

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Pope Francis:  'Jealousy and envy are sins that kill with words'
Pope Francis: 'Jealousy and envy are sins that kill with words'

During Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, the feast of Saint Agnes, Pope Francis prayed that God might preserve us from envy and jealousy - ugly sins that kill others with words and that exist even in our Christian communities. The first reading (1 Sam 18:6-9; 19:1-7) tells the story of Saul, the king of Israel, and his jealous feelings towards David. After the victory over the Philistines, the women joyfully sang, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." From that day forward, Saul looked on David with suspicion,

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Pope Francis: 'No saint is without a past, no sinner without a future'
Pope Francis: 'No saint is without a past, no sinner without a future'

God looks beyond appearances and into the heart, Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning. Reflecting on the First Reading of the day that tells of the choice of the young David as king of Israel, the Pope pointed out that even in the lives of the saints there are temptations and sins, as demonstrated by the life of David. The Lord rejected Saul "because his heart was closed", he had not obeyed Him, and so God chose another king. The Pope pointed out that the choice He made was far from human standards since David was the

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Pope Francis: If your heart is closed to the newness of the Holy Spirit, you will never reach the full truth
Pope Francis: If your heart is closed to the newness of the Holy Spirit, you will never reach the full truth

A Christian who hides behind the notion that "this is how it's always been done..." is committing a sin, becomes idolatrous and disobedient, and lives a "patched up, half and half life", because his heart is closed to the "newness of the Holy Spirit". The invitation to free oneself from "customs" in order to make room for "God's surprises" was offered by Pope Francis during Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, Monday, 18 January. Reflecting on the first Reading, from the First Book of Samuel (15:16-23), the Pope began:

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Pope Francis: We ask God for the grace to pray with faith
Pope Francis: We ask God for the grace to pray with faith

Faith turns even defeat into victory, but it is not something 'magical' - it is a personal relationship with God that cannot be learned in books. Faith is a gift from God, a gift that is our for the asking - Pope Francis said during his reflections on the day's readings at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. The First Reading from the Book of Samuel, told of the defeat of the People of God at the hands of the Philistines. "the slaughter was very great," and the people lost everything, even their dignity.

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Pope Francis: 'Prayer works miracles'
Pope Francis: 'Prayer works miracles'

Prayer works miracles and prevents hardening of the heart, Pope Francis said this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. "It's the prayer of the faithful that brings change to the Church; it's not us popes, bishops or priests who carry the Church forward, but the Saints", the Holy Father said. Pope Francis was reflecting on the Bible reading of the day which tells the story of Hannah, who was deeply distressed by her infertility and desperately prays to the Lord to give her a child, and of the priest Eli, who looks on vaguely from afar and superficially

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 Pope: The embrace of God's love silences our sins
Pope: The embrace of God's love silences our sins

The embrace of God's love has the power to silence all our sins, no matter how many, Pope Francis said during his homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta. Following the Gospel reading from the letter of John the Apostle, Pope Francis's homily was a reflection on the different meanings of the word 'love' and the two most important commandments for a Christian: to love God and to love our neighbour. "This word 'love' is a word that is used so many times and when we use it we don't know exactly what it means. What is love?

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Pope Francis: Works of mercy are at heart of our faith
Pope Francis: Works of mercy are at heart of our faith

Many people appear to be spiritual but live in a way that is totally detached from the presence or needs of others, Pope Francis said on Thursday, in his first homily after Christmas at Casa Santa Marta. Warning against false spirituality and worldliness the Holy Father stressed that works of mercy are at the heart of our faith in God and the visible sign of that faith. Reflecting on the first letter of John where the Apostle writes of remaining in the Lord, the Pope explained that a Christian is somebody who remains in God, who has the Holy Spirit and

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Pope Francis: Allow yourself to be embraced by God's mercy
Pope Francis: Allow yourself to be embraced by God's mercy

Pope Francis spoke of God's love and encouraged the congregation to allow themselves to be "embraced by God's mercy" during Thursday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Basing his homily on a passage from Isaiah, in which we are told that God chose His people out of love, Pope Francis explained that he chose them "not because they were big and powerful but because they were the smallest and most wretched of all."

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Pope Francis: Church must not be obsessed by money or power
Pope Francis: Church must not be obsessed by money or power

The Church must not be obsessed by money or power, nor worship "holy bribes", instead her strength and joy should come from the words of Christ, Pope Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. The Holy Father reflected on the reading from Maccabees, which tells of the people's joy following the reconsecration of the Holy Temple, which had been destroyed by pagans and those obsessed by worldliness.

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Pope Francis: The Lord weeps for a world at war
Pope Francis: The Lord weeps for a world at war

"The whole world is at war," and the rejection of the "path of peace" means that God Himself, that Jesus Himself, weeps. This was the message of Pope Francis to the faithful following the readings of the day at Mass this morning in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the day's Gospel reading which describes Jesus approaching Jerusalem, and seeing the city on a hill from a distance. There he weeps, and says: "If this day you only knew what makes for peace - but now

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Pope warns against temptation of leading a double life
Pope warns against temptation of leading a double life

Pope Francis focussed on the importance of safeguarding our Christian identity and not living double lives in his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning. daily readings which focus on the need for coherence between our spiritual and our temporal lives. The Holy Father began by reflecting on the elderly Rabbi Eleazar who chose to be martyred rather than submit to unjust laws. The 90 year-old Eleazar refused to eat pork and rejected the offer of his "worldly" friends to compromise his integrity, choosing instead to die a martyr's death.

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Pope Francis: Growing worldliness can destroy  Christian identity
Pope Francis: Growing worldliness can destroy Christian identity

In his his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta today, Pope Francis pointed out that worldliness can take the place of Jesus and destroy Christian identity. The first reading of the day from the first Book of the Maccabees, tells of "a root of evil" that arose in those days. The Hellenistic King Antiochus Epiphanes imposes pagan customs in Israel, to the " chosen people ", that is, the" Church of that time. " Pope Francis commented that "the image of the root is under the ground." The "phenomenology of the root" is this: "What is not seen does not seem to do any harm, but then it

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Pope Francis: The Church is called to serve, not to be served
Pope Francis: The Church is called to serve, not to be served

In his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday morning, Pope Francis said the Church is called to serve, not to be concerned solely with business affairs; and that Bishops and priests must overcome the temptation to live a "double life." He warned, too, about "climbers," those who are attached to money. Pope Francis developed his homily based on two images of servants presented in the readings from the day's liturgy. First, he presented the figure of Saint Paul "who gave himself completely to service, always" such that he ended up in Rome

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Pope Francis: Christian include - Pharisees exclude
Pope Francis: Christian include - Pharisees exclude

The Christian includes, he does not close the door to anyone, even if this provokes resistance. He who excludes, because he believes himself to be better, generates conflicts and divisions, and forgets that "we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God." That was the message of Pope Francis during this morning's Mass in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. In the Letter to the Romans, Saint Paul exhorts us not to judge and not to despise our brothers, because, the Pope said, this leads to excluding them from "our little group," to being selective, and this is not Christian."

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Pope: A good priest gets involved in all human problems
Pope: A good priest gets involved in all human problems

Pope Francis says a good priest knows how to empathize and gets involved in the life of his flock. He said God pardons us like a father and not like an official in a law court. The Pope's words came during his homily at Mass yesterday (30th October) at Casa Santa Marta. The focus of Pope Francis's homily was God's compassion for each one of us and for the whole of humanity and how He sent His Son to "heal, regenerate and renew" the human race.

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Pope Francis: God can only love, not condemn
Pope Francis: God can only love, not condemn

God can only love, not condemn and we are so closely bound to God's love that nothing can separate us from it. That was the message at the heart of the Pope Francis homily during the Thursday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Focussing on St Paul's letter to the Romans, Pope Francis's homily was a reflection on God's unwavering love for us and how no person, or power or thing can separate us from this love. He said St Paul explains how Christians are the victors because "if God is for us, who can be against us."

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 Pope Francis: We must change, while remaining fixed to our faith
Pope Francis: We must change, while remaining fixed to our faith

The times are changing and we Christians must change continuously, freely but within the truth of the faith, Pope Francis said today, in his homily during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting of the reading of St Paul's letter to the Romans, Pope Francis spoke of the discernment that the Church needs to employ whilst looking at the signs of the times and doing what Christ wants. He noted how St Paul's preaching stressed the freedom which has saved us from sin whilst Christ himself spoke of reading the signs of the times.

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Pope Francis: Love of money is idolatry
Pope Francis: Love of money is idolatry

Pope Francis bluntly reminded the congregation at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta, that we cannot serve two masters: either one serves God, or one serves wealth. Jesus, "is not against wealth as such," but he warns against placing one's security in money. This is something which risks, "turning religion into an insurance agency." In addition, attachment to money is divisive, as illustrated by the Gospel account of the "the two brothers arguing over the inheritance". "Let us consider how many families we know, whose members have fought, who are fighting,

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Pope Francis: A Christian must always use discernment
Pope Francis: A Christian must always use discernment

During his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Friday, Pope Francis reflected on the necessity to discern at all times, whether something comes from God or from the Evil One "who always seeks to deceive, to make us choose the wrong path". In Friday's Gospel reading, Jesus drives out a demon, doing good to the man once afflicted, but some from the crowd of witnesses accuse him of being in league with Beelzebul.

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Pope: God wants his ministers to be merciful
Pope: God wants his ministers to be merciful

Pope Francis urged people not to put their own convictions or a list of commandments before the Lord's mercy, in his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta, today, before joining the Synod. Reflecting on the first reading of the Book of Jonah, the Pope pointed out that Jonah is initially resistant to God's will, but eventually learns that he must obey the Lord. Eventually, the city of Nineveh converts thanks to Jonah's preaching, Pope Francis said: "it really was a miracle, because in this case he abandons his stubbornness, his rigidity, to obey the will of God, and he did

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Pope Francis: Respect and listen to your Guardian Angel
Pope Francis: Respect and listen to your Guardian Angel

Pope Francis says God has given everybody a Guardian Angel to accompany us and offer advice and protection, an Angel to whom we should listen with meekness and respect. He was speaking during his homily at Mass on Friday, the Feast of Guardian Angels, at Casa Santa Marta . The Holy Father reflected on the Guardian Angel in our lives, describing this divine presence as God's ambassador who accompanies each one of us. He noted how the proof of this was illustrated when God chased Adam out of Paradise: He didn't leave Adam on his own or say to him:'fend for yourself

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Pope Francis:  Joy of the Lord is our strength
Pope Francis: Joy of the Lord is our strength

The joy of the Lord is our strength, and in Him we discover who we really are - this was the focus of Pope Francis' reflection on the readings of the day at Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning, the feast of St Therese of Lisieux. The Holy Father focused especially on the need to cultivate a deep yearning for God our lives. Focussing on the First Reading, from the Book of the Prophet Nehemiah, Pope Francis reflected on the people of Israel, who, after long years of exile,

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Pope Francis: Church is a mother, not a rigid association
Pope Francis: Church is a mother, not a rigid association

The Church is a mother and must have that loving and tender maternal feeling and human warmth as otherwise all that remains is rigidity and discipline. Pope Francis said in his homily during Mass on Tuesday morning at Casa Santa Marta. The liturgy was attended by the C-9 Cardinals who are meeting in the Vatican this week. The inspiration for Pope Francis' reflections came from Jesus' words spoken from the Cross to Mary and to the apostle whom he loved when he entrusted each of them to the other's care. Jesus, he stressed, does not leave us orphaned, we have a mother who protects

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Pope Francis: We all risk being hypocrites - including me
Pope Francis: We all risk being hypocrites - including me

We must learn to not judge others or we all risk becoming hypocrites, Pope Francis said during his homily at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. And we need to have the courage to acknowledge our own faults in order to become merciful towards others, he said. Pope Francis's homily was a reflection taken from St Paul's teaching on mercy, forgiveness and the need to avoid judging others. He said the Lord speaks to us about the reward contained within this: do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn and you will not be condemned.

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Pope concelebrates Mass with Armenian Patriarch
Pope concelebrates Mass with Armenian Patriarch

History was made on Monday when Pope Francis concelebrated morning Mass in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta with the recently-elected Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians, His Beatitude Gregory Peter XX Ghabroyan, as well as with the Bishops of Synod of the Apostolic Armenian Catholic Church and the Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri. Following the readings of the day, the Holy Father spoke of the many Christians, who continue to be persecuted, and of the complicit silence of many powerful world leaders.

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Pope Francis: A person who gossips is like a terrorist
Pope Francis: A person who gossips is like a terrorist

Pope Francis said sowing divisions and discord is a sickness within the Church and a person who indulges in gossip as like a terrorist who throws bombs. His comments came during his homily at his Mass today in the chapel at Santa Marta. Taking his inspiration from St Paul's letter to the Colossians where the Apostle spoke of how Christ was sent by God to sow reconciliation and peace among humanity, Pope Francis's homily was a reflection on the need to sow peace rather than discord in our daily lives

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 Pope Francis: Christian comfort is in Jesus not in chatter
Pope Francis: Christian comfort is in Jesus not in chatter

Pope Francis said Christians should comfort each other through good works and kind words and not with useless chatter. He was speaking on Tuesday (1st September) during his homily at his first morning Mass in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta since the summer break. Taking his inspiration from the St Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians about the need for a strong faith and hope in a final meeting with Christ, the Pope noted that the apostle wrote that the day of the Lord can arrive without warning "like a thief" but Jesus is coming to bring salvation to those who believe in Him.

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 Pope Francis:  We must free our hearts to welcome the Lord
Pope Francis: We must free our hearts to welcome the Lord

During his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Monday, Pope Francis said Christians must learn to free themselves from 'worldly noise and passions' so that they can receive the grace of God in their hearts. Reflecting on the day's reading from St Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, Pope Francis noted that the Lord freely gives us his grace and that we must be ready, right now, to receive that gift. We need to prepare our hearts, he said, so that we do not "receive the grace of God in vain".

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Pope Francis: Poverty is at the centre of the Gospels
Pope Francis: Poverty is at the centre of the Gospels

During his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning, Pope Francis said the Gospel becomes incomprehensible if poverty is removed from it, and that it is unfair to label priests who show a pastoral concern for the poor as "Communists". The first reading describes how St Paul organized a collection in the Church of Corinth, for the benefit of the Church of Jerusalem, whose members were facing great hardship. Pope Francis noted that, today as then, poverty is "a word that always embarrasses."

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Pope Francis:  True Christians are called on a journey, to serve
Pope Francis: True Christians are called on a journey, to serve

In his homily at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday Pope Francis said followers of Jesus are called to a life of service, to proclaim the Gospel freely - and not to believe that Salvation comes through worldly things. Drawing inspiration from the Gospel passage in which Jesus sends out his disciples to proclaim the Good News, he said a disciple of the Lord, is called to set out on a journey that is not a "stroll" but a mission to proclaim the Gospel and spread the good news of Salvation.

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Pope Francis: don't water down Christian identity
Pope Francis: don't water down Christian identity

What exactly is our Christian identity? Pope Francis asked this question at the start of his homily this morning in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. He suggested the congregation think of it as "a long journey" from ambiguity to a strong faith that we can bear witness to in our daily lives. It is true that we are sinners, he said, and that we fall down, but with God's strength we can get up again and continue our journey. "Sin is part of our identity", he stressed, but we are sinners with faith in God "who has anointed us, put his seal upon us" and given us the Holy Spirit as a pledge in our hearts.

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Pope Francis tells seriously ill children:  'You are heroes'
Pope Francis tells seriously ill children: 'You are heroes'

Yesterday afternoon, in the Chapel of Casa Santa Marta, the Pope received in audience a group of twenty seriously ill children, accompanied by their parents, along with volunteers and leaders from the UNITALSI association, which organises pilgrimages to Lourdes and Loreto. The majority of the children were aged between seven and 14 years, although there were also some as young as two and three. The Pope approached each child warmlly. One child spoke to the Holy Father about their meeting two years ago, recalling all those who had been present and some who died,

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Pope: coherent Christians draw people to Christ
Pope: coherent Christians draw people to Christ

In his homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis focused on the Gospel account of Bartimaeus, the blind man who cried out to Jesus to be healed, and whom the disciples called to be silent. This Gospel led the Holy Father to reflect on three different groups of Christians. First, there are Christians who are concerned only with their own relationship with Jesus, a "closed, selfish" relationship, who do not hear the cries of others. "This group of people, even today, do not hear the cry of so many people who need Jesus. A group of people who are indifferent. They do not hear,

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Pope warns against being 'halfway Christians'
Pope warns against being 'halfway Christians'

A Christian is called to make a radical choice in life, Pope Francis said during his morning homily at Casa Santa Marta yesterday. You can't be "half Christian". You can't "follow Jesus and the things of this world." Pope Francis reflected on Peter's query to Jesus: what would he and the disciples get in return for following Him? Peter asks the question after the Lord told the rich young man to sell all his possessions and give everything to the poor. The Pope noted that Jesus responds in an unexpected way. He does not speak of riches to his disciples, but promises instead the Kingdom of Heaven

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Pope Francis: Wealth that is not shared generates corruption
Pope Francis: Wealth that is not shared generates corruption

If you are wealthy, you should make sure your riches serve the 'common good', Pope Francis said in his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning (Monday) An abundance of things lived selfishly is sad, steals hope, and is the origin of all kinds of corruption, large or small, he said. Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading in which Jesus meets the rich young man who enthusiastically asks to follow Him and assures Him he will always live by the commandments. But when Jesus tells him one last thing is needed - to sell his things, give everything to the poor and then follow

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Pope Francis: How is Jesus looking at me today?
Pope Francis: How is Jesus looking at me today?

How is Jesus looking at us - Pope Francis asked during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. The Holy Father said we should consider whether Jesus looks at us with a call, with forgivenesss - or with a mission. Taking his inspiration from the day's readings, in his homily Pope Francis reflected on the three different types of looks which Jesus gave to the Apostle Peter. He said these three different looks were one of choosing, one of forgiveness and one of mission.

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Pope Francis: We should think about our final farewell
Pope Francis: We should think about our final farewell

We should all reflect on our own final farewell from this life, and what it means for Christians to entrust themselves to God, Pope Francis said during Mass on Tuesday morning at Casa Santa Marta. The Pope's homily was a reflection on how our lives are marked by saying goodbye, how we do it and the reasons why we do it. He took as his inspiration the day's readings where Jesus bids farewell to the disciples before his Passion and death and where St Paul bids farewell before going to Jerusalem and weeps on the beach with those who have come to say goodbye to him.

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Pope Francis: Fear is not a Christian attitude
Pope Francis: Fear is not a Christian attitude

Pope Francis reflected on the destructive impact of fear, in his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday 15 May. Fear and sadness cause illness in people and even in the Church he explained. They cause paralysis and selfishness, and in the end spoil the air of a community, which hangs a "forbidden" sign on its door, fearful of everything. However, a Christian sustained by the fear of God and by the Holy Spirit has the courageous attitude of joy, which in pain becomes peace.

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Pope Francis: We are called to bear witness to our faith every day
Pope Francis: We are called to bear witness to our faith every day

We are all called to bear witness to our faith every day, Pope Francis said during his morning Mass homily in Casa Santa Marta on Monday. And through the gift of the Holy Spirit we can bear the trials come in our lives. Christians are still persecuted and killed in the name of God at the present time, but the Holy Spirit gives them the strength to face martyrdom as they bear witness to their faith, he said. Reflecting on the day's Gospel, in which Jesus says to his disciples: "When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,

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Pope Francis: true love works, communicates
Pope Francis: true love works, communicates

Pope Francis focused on the concrete and communicative character of authentic love in his homily at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. In the Gospel reading, from the Gospel according to St John (15:9-11), Our Lord asks us to abide in His love. "There are two criteria," said Pope Francis, "which will help us to distinguish the true love, from that which is not true." The first criterion is that love is, "more in deeds than in words," it is not, "a soap opera tale," or "a fantasy," stories that "make our hearts beat a little faster, but nothing more." True love is, "in hard facts."

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Pope: Christians are not masochists, when faced with suffering we rely on the Lord with hope
Pope: Christians are not masochists, when faced with suffering we rely on the Lord with hope

Christians do not have a "sadomasochistic attitude" when confronted with difficulties, but rely on the Lord with confidence and hope - this was the theme of Pope Francis' homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, when St Paul is persecuted but despite a thousand tribulations, remains firm in his faith and encourages others to hope in the Lord.to dwell on these three points: tribulations, trust and peace - saying that to enter the Kingdom of God, one must "go through dark times, difficult times."

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Pope Francis: A Christian does not walk alone
Pope Francis: A Christian does not walk alone

A Christian doesn't walk alone. A Christian is included within a people and a history, and is called to be at the service of others, Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. Memory and service are the "two features of Christian identity, he said. The Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (13:13-25) speaks of Paul, who arrived in Antioch and "went as usual into the synagogue on the Sabbath day". There, "he was invited to speak". This, in fact, was "a custom of the Jews of that time" when a guest arrived.

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Pope Francis: Christian life must not be a 'museum of memories'
Pope Francis: Christian life must not be a 'museum of memories'

On Tuesday morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke about the pilgrim journey of the Church through history under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Reflecting on the preaching of the Gospel to all nations, narrated in the Acts of the Apostles, the Pope pointed to the need - especially today - for Apostolic courage, in order that Christian life not become a "museum of memories." He noted how many at the time of the events narrated in the book of Acts were troubled to hear the Gospel was preached to non-Jews, though Barnabas in Antioch - the reading tells us - is

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Pope Francis: We must never forget our first encounter with Jesus
Pope Francis: We must never forget our first encounter with Jesus

Jesus never forgets the day we encountered Him for the first time ans we should ask God for the "grace of memory" so that we can always remember it, Pope Francis said during his homily this morning at Mass in Casa Santa Marta chapel. Jesus uses encounter to change lives, the Pope said. A good example of this is Paul of Tarsus, the anti-Christian persecutor who, by the time he reached Damascus, had already become an Apostle. Pope Francis spoke about this episode in the first reading of the day's liturgy, and related it to the many encounters that appear in the Gospel narratives.

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Pope reflects on 'the Church of martyrs'
Pope reflects on 'the Church of martyrs'

During Mass on Tuesday morning at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the day's reading from the Acts of the Apostles, which recounts the story of Saint Stephen, the first martyr. "Today the Church is the Church of martyrs," Pope Francis said, recalling the many Christians who have been killed or suffered greatly for their faith in many countries around the world recently. The Pope began his homily by pointing out what all martyrs have in common: they are those "who in the history of the Church bore testimony of Jesus" without having "need of other bread. For them Jesus alone was

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Pope: Avoid  temptation of transforming faith into earthly power
Pope: Avoid temptation of transforming faith into earthly power

May the witness of the martyrs help us avoid the temptation of transforming our faith into power - Pope Francis said this morning during Mass at Casa Marta. The Holy Father was reflecting on the Gospel account of the crowds who came searching for Jesus after the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes. Noting that people came looking for Jesus, not out of a sense of religious awe and adoration, but rather for their own material interests, Pope Francis said when we take advantage of faith and are tempted towards power, we run the risk of failing to understand the true mission of Our Lord.

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Pope Francis: Christian humility is not masochism, but love
Pope Francis: Christian humility is not masochism, but love

Humiliation for its own sake is masochism, but when it is suffered and endured in the name of the Gospel it makes us like Jesus. That was what Pope Francis said in his homily at morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today. Reflecting on the day's reading from the Acts, when the Apostles were called before the Sanhedrin, accused of preaching the Gospel that the doctors of the law did not want to hear. Is it possible for people to react to difficult situations in the way God does, Pope Francis asked. Yes, it is, he said, but it is all a question of time - time to allow ourselves to be

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Pope Francis offers Mass for Pope Benedict on his 88th birthday
Pope Francis offers Mass for Pope Benedict on his 88th birthday

Pope Francis offered Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, for Benedict XVI on his 88th birthday and nviting the faithful present to join him in praying "that the Lord sustain him and grant him much joy and happiness". In his homily, the Holy Father spoke of obedience, a prominent theme in the day's liturgy. He began by quoting words from the end of the passage from the Gospel according to John (3:31-35): "he who does not obey the Son shall not see life". Then, referring to the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (5:27-33), the Pontiff also recalled what "the Apostles said to the high priests:

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Pope Francis: Christian communities need harmony, poverty and patience
Pope Francis: Christian communities need harmony, poverty and patience

Christians must not hoard their riches, but offer them in service to the needy, Pope Francis said during Mass on Tuesday morning at the Casa Santa Marta chapel. Taking his cue from a passage of the Acts of the Apostles that describes life in the first Christian community, Pope Francis said that a community that is renewed in the Spirit seeks harmony and endures suffering with patience. Referring to the four characteristics that defined the first Christian community of Jerusalem as a place of unity and love, the Pope said the first is harmony; the second is common good.

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Pope Francis: We must speak openly, frankly, about our faith
Pope Francis: We must speak openly, frankly, about our faith

At morning Mass today in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said the Church is a place of "openness" where people should be able to speak frankly. Only the Holy Spirit is able to change our attitude, the story of our lives, and to give us courage - just as the Apostles were inspired by Christ's Resurrection, he said. "We cannot keep silent over] what we have seen and heard," Pope Francis said in his homily, reflecting on the day's First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles The Pontiff recalled that Peter and John, having performed a miracle, had been jailed and threatened by

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Pope leads worldwide prayer for peace
Pope leads worldwide prayer for peace

Pope Francis held special prayers for peace yesterday, as part of 500th anniversary celebrations marking the birth of St Teresa of Avila. The Pope led the hour of prayer at the Casa Santa Marta before concelebrating Mass with the Superior General of the Discalced Carmelite Order, Father Saverio Cannestrà. Pope Francis' letter to the Discalced Carmelites follows: .... "The world is all in flames [...] and are we to waste time asking for things that if God were to give them we would have one soul less in heaven? No, my Sisters, this is not the time to be discussing with God matters that have little

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Pope Francis: Faith, not cold doctrine, brings joy
Pope Francis: Faith, not cold doctrine, brings joy

It is faith that brings joy - not 'cold doctrine' , Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning. Commenting on the day's readings, Pope Francis remarked that Abraham and his wife Sarah are old, but he believes and opens "his heart to hope" and is "full of consolation." Jesus reminds the doctors of the law that Abraham "rejoiced" to see his day "and was full of joy": "And that's what these doctors of the law did not understand. They did not understand the joy of promise; they did not understand the joy of hope;

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           Pope Francis: How many people are 'Christians - yes, but...'?
Pope Francis: How many people are 'Christians - yes, but...'?

How many people say they are Christians but don't accept 'the way' that God wants to save us? They are the ones Pope Francis defined as "Christians, yes, but...", incapable of understanding that salvation passes through the cross. And Jesus on the Cross. This is the very core of the message in tpday's readings, Pope Francis explained, during Mass at Santa Marta this morning. In the passage from the Gospel according to John (8:21-30), Jesus says: "When you have lifted up the Son of man..." and, foretelling of his death on the cross, evokes the bronze serpent that Moses raised "to heal the

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Pope Francis: Where there is no mercy there is no justice
Pope Francis: Where there is no mercy there is no justice

During his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta today, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel readings of the day and on another Gospel passage pointing out that "where there is no mercy there is no justice". Referring to three women in the Bible, Pope Francis said they represent three allegorical figures of the Church. The women he said are: Susanna - an innocent woman; an adulteress - a sinner; and a poor and needy widow.

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Pope Francis: Christians are experts at closing the door
Pope Francis: Christians are experts at closing the door

Lent is a good time to ask the Lord, for each of us and for the whole Church for conversion to the mercy of Jesus, Pope Francis said during Mass today at Casa Santa Marta. Too often, in fact, he said, Christians "are experts at closing the door to people" who, worn down by life and by their mistakes, would be ready for a new start, "people whose hearts the Holy Spirit is stirring to move forward." The law of love was at the core of Pope Francis' reflection on the day's readings. In the First Reading the Prophet Ezekiel (47:1-9, 12) talks about water flowing from the temple,

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Pope Francis: Make space for God's love so He can change you
Pope Francis: Make space for God's love so He can change you

We are loved by God in a way that no theologian can explain - Pope Francis said during Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning. Reflecting on the first letter of the prophet Isaiah in which the Lord says He is "about to create new heavens and a new earth", Pope Francis said that God's second creation is even more "wonderful" than the first because when he makes the world over he does so in Jesus Christ. He renews everything and manifests his immense joy. "We find that the Lord has so much enthusiasm: he speaks of joy and says 'I will exult in my people'.

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Pope Francis: there is no middle way to love God
Pope Francis: there is no middle way to love God

A true Christian must not compromise: he must let himself be touched by God's mercy and love his brother wholeheartedly or else he will end up being a hypocrite and do more harm than good - Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. From the beginning through the Prophets, and later with the testimony of Saints, God has built up his relationship with men in time. And yet, the Pope said, in spite of the excellence of those chosen to bring His message through their teachings and actions - the history of Salvation is far from perfect, it is paved with

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Pope Francis, to receive forgiveness, we must forgive

In order to ask forgiveness from God, we must follow the teaching of the 'Our Father': we must repent sincerely for our sins, knowing that God always forgives, and just as willingly forgive others. This was the main theme of Pope Francis' homily at morning mass today at Casa Santa Marta. Focusing primarily on the reading from the Gospel according to St Matthew (18:21-35), in which the Lord counsels His disciples to forgive "seventy times seven" times, ie. always and with no holding back, the Holy Father addressed the close connection between God's forgiveness of our sins and our forgiveness of others.

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Pope Francis: God does things simply, He speaks to us in silence
Pope Francis: God does things simply, He speaks to us in silence

God works in humility and in silence; "spectacle" is not His style - that was Pope Francis' message at Mass on Monday morning in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. In the Gospel of the day, Jesus rebukes the inhabitants of Nazareth for their lack of faith. At first, the Pope said, they listened with admiration, but later they exploded with anger and outrage: "In that moment, these people, who had heard with pleasure what Jesus had said, but did not like what He had said to one, two, or three of them; and perhaps some gossip had stood up and said, 'But who is this

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Pope Francis: worldliness blinds us to the needs of the poor
Pope Francis: worldliness blinds us to the needs of the poor

Worldliness darkens the soul, making us unable to see the poor who live next to us. The rich have cars with tinted windows so they cannot be seen - but they are also unable to see out. This was Pope Francis main message during his homily at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. Commenting on the parable of the rich man, a man dressed "in purple and fine linen," who "every day gave lavish banquets," the Pope said that we never hear ill spoken of this man, we are not told that he was a bad man. In fact, "He was, perhaps, a religious man, in its own way.

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Pope Francis: God prefers reformed sinners  to 'fake saints'...
Pope Francis: God prefers reformed sinners to 'fake saints'...

During his homily this morning at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said that there has never been any doubts that God prefers "sanctified sinners" - people who, despite their past sins, learn how to do a greater good, to "fake saints", people who are more concerned with appearing saintly than doing good. Pope Francis was reflecting on the first reading from Isaiah, which he described as an "invitation and an imperative" that comes directly from God - "Cease to do evil, learn to do good"- defending orphans and widows, namely "those who no one remembers".

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Pope Francis: Never use God as a cover for injustice
Pope Francis: Never use God as a cover for injustice

During at Casa Santa Marta on Friday morning, Pope Francis used his homily to reflect on how Christians, especially during Lent, should not confine themselves to outside signs of piety like fasting and charity and instead must reach out to those in need. He said Jesus wants from us a fasting that breaks the evil chains, frees those who are oppressed, clothes those who are naked and carries out justice. This, he said, is true fasting,

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Pope Francis: It takes courage to choose God every time
Pope Francis: It takes courage to choose God every time

During Thursday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the Bible passage in which God says to Moses: “Today I have set before you life and prosperity, death and doom. Obey the commandments of the Lord, Your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him and walking in his ways”. The choice of Moses is one Christians are faced with every day. And it is a difficult choice, Pope Francis said. It is easier to let oneself be carried along by inertia, by situations, habits.

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Pope offers Mass for martyred Coptic Christians, condemns arms trade
Pope offers Mass for martyred Coptic Christians, condemns arms trade

Pope Francis offered Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning for the repose of the souls of the 21 Coptic Christians martyred for their faith in Christ. The Mass was attended by the Pope’s personal secretary, Abuna Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, who is Coptic Catholic. Before the Mass, the Holy Father invited the congregation to join him in prayer for ‘our brother Copts, whose throats were slit for the sole reason of being Christian, that the Lord welcome them as martyrs, for their families, for my brother Tawadros, who is suffering greatly’.

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Pope Francis: The search for God takes courage
Pope Francis: The search for God takes courage

The search for God means having the courage to set out on a risky path, it means following our restless hearts, Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father began his reflections drawing on the reading from Genesis that speaks of man's creation "in the image of God". He spoke of the right and wrong paths that a Christian can take in search of his origins and identity. Pope Francis noted that we certainly cannot find the image of God “on a computer, or in encyclopedias”.

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Pope Francis: Christians are called to protect God's creation
Pope Francis: Christians are called to protect God's creation

God creates the universe but creation does not end, "he continues to sustain what he has created." That was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday morning, as he reflected on a passage from Genesis, in the first reading, which recounts the creation of the universe. “In today's Gospel, we see the other creation of God", "that of Jesus, who came to re-create what had been ruined by sin." We see Jesus among the people, he said, and "those who touched him were saved" it is the "re-creation".

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Pope Francis: Church must proclaim the Gospel 'in poverty'
Pope Francis: Church must proclaim the Gospel 'in poverty'

At Mass this Thursday morning in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis returned to one of his favorite images for the Church: that of a field hospital - inspired by the Gospel of the day, in which Jesus sends his disciples out, two by two, to the villages to preach, heal the sick and drive out "unclean spirits". Pope Francis said that there are many “wounded” waiting in the aisles of the Church for a minister of Christ to heal, raise and liberate them from the demons that plague them. He added that Christ’s ministers must always remember, 

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Pope Francis: Daily contemplation of the Gospel brings true hope
Pope Francis: Daily contemplation of the Gospel brings true hope

Daily contemplation of the Gospel helps us to have true hope, Pope Francis said during morning Mass today at Casa Santa Marta. In his homily, the Pope again encouraged people to take 10 minutes out of their day to pick up the Gospel and talk to the Lord, rather than waste it on TV soap operas or listening to other peoples’ gossip. Focusing on the passage from the Letter to the Hebrews on hope, Pope Francis said that “keeping our gaze fixed on Jesus” is the core of hope.

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Pope Francis: Lukewarm Christians in grave danger
Pope Francis: Lukewarm Christians in grave danger

Pope Francis warned that lukewarm Christians who’ve lost the memory and enthusiasm of their first encounter with Christ are in grave danger of letting the devil into their homes. Christians, he explained, must always retain that memory of their first meeting with Christ and their hope in Him to help them go forward with the courage of their faith. The Pope’s words came at his morning Mass on Friday, 30 January at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the Letter to the Hebrews,

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Pope says no to 'ecclesial elites'
Pope says no to 'ecclesial elites'

'Ecclesial elites' who form cliques and scorn others are privatizing the faith and not following the way of Jesus, Pope Francis said during his homily at morning Mass on Thursday at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the day's readings, Pope Francis said: “It’s true, Jesus has saved us all, but not in a general fashion. All of us, each one with their name and surname. And this is our personal salvation. I am truly saved, the Lord looked at me, gave his life for me.... But there’s a danger of forgetting that He saved us individually but at the same time as part of his people 

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Pope Francis on role of women in transmitting Faith
Pope Francis on role of women in transmitting Faith

The primary and indispensable role of women in transmitting the faith to new generations was the focus of Pope Francis’ reflections on the readings at Mass this morning in the chapel at Santa Marta. On the day when the Church celebrates Saints Timothy and Titus – bishops and disciples of St Paul the Apostle, Pope Francis commented in particular on the second letter of Paul to Timothy. Paul reminds Timothy of where his “sincere faith” comes from: his faith comes from the Holy Spirit, “through his mother and grandmother.”

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Pope Francis: Confession is not a judgment
Pope Francis: Confession is not a judgment

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is not a judgment but a meeting with God who forgives all our sins, without exception, Pope Francis said, during his homily at his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday. Basing his reflections on an extract from St Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, the Pope said our God forgives all our sins, always and without exception and He rejoices when somebody asks him for pardon. This God who pardons us, he continued, choose Jesus to set up a new pact with humanity and the cornerstone of this pact is forgiveness for our sins.

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Pope: Only the Holy Spirit opens our hearts to love of  God - not courses in catechism, yoga or Zen
Pope: Only the Holy Spirit opens our hearts to love of God - not courses in catechism, yoga or Zen

You can take a thousand courses in catechism, spirituality, yoga or Zen - but only the Holy Spirit has the power to open our hearts to the love of God, Pope Francis said this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. The Pope’s reflections came from the day's Gospel reading that recounted how the apostles were terrified when they saw Jesus walking on water. And the reason for their terror, he explained, was that their hearts were hardened.

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Pope Francis: love leads us to God
Pope Francis: love leads us to God

Christian love is to be expressed with concrete acts - words are not enough - Pope Francis said in his homily on Thursday morning, during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope said God leads the way with love, and that it is through love that we get to know God. Reflecting on what he called the 'key word' in the liturgy during this time of the year, Pope Francis said Jesus ‘manifests’ himself at the Epiphany, at the Baptism, at the Wedding of Cana, but he asked: “how can we know God?”

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Pope Francis: God saves a humble heart
Pope Francis: God saves a humble heart

Reflecting on the day's readings during Mass at Casa Santa Marta, today, (Tuesday) Pope Francis spoke on the need for humility. God saves "a repentant heart" while he who does not trust in Him draws "condemnation" upon himself. Humility saves man in God’s eyes, while pride is a loser. The key lies in the heart. The heart of a humble person is open, knows repentance, accepts correction and trusts in God. The heart of the proud person is the exact opposite: it is arrogant, closed, knows no shame, 

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 Pope Francis: Rigidity is a sign of a weak heart
Pope Francis: Rigidity is a sign of a weak heart

At Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Monday, Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel reading, in which the chief priests asked Jesus by what authority He did His works. This was a demand that demonstrates the “hypocritical heart” of those people, Pope Francis said. They were people who were not interested in the truth, who sought only their own interests, and went where the wind blew: you should go this way, you should go that way…” They were weathervanes, all of them! All of them! Without consistency. A heart without consistency."

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Pope Francis:  We can't be book-keepers of God's love
Pope Francis: We can't be book-keepers of God's love

God is like a mother, He loves us unconditionally, but too often we want to take control of this grace in a kind of a spiritual book-keeping - Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass this morning in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting om the reading from the prophet Isaiah, Pope Francis said that God saves his people not from afar but being close and tender. “God’s closeness is such that he is presented like a mother, a mother who talks to her baby, and sings lullabies to her baby” 

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Pope Francis: There are many hidden saints
Pope Francis: There are many hidden saints

There are many hidden saints: men, women, fathers and mothers of families, sick people, priests who every day put into practice the love of Jesus; and this give us hope, Pope Francis said this morning during Mass at Casa Santa Marta. It is not enough to say that you have faith. The true Christian puts the Word of God into practice. Commenting on the parable of the house built on rock or on sand, taken from the day’s Gospel, Francis said we should not be “Christians in appearance,” made-up Christians, because when the rain comes, the make-up runs off.

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Pope Francis: A humble heart knows God, theology is done on one’s knees
Pope Francis: A humble heart knows God, theology is done on one’s knees

God reveals more to a humble heart, Pope Francis said at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta today. Others who claim to fathom the mystery of God with the resources of intelligence must first get down on their knees, in an act of humility, otherwise "they will not understand anything," he said. Focussing on the day's Gospel of St Luke, which reflects on Christ’s relationship to the Father, Pope Francis said: "He makes us know the Father, introduces us to this inner life that He has. And to whom does the Father reveal this?

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Pope Francis: Do not give way to depression
Pope Francis: Do not give way to depression

Reality can be ugly, but despite the wars, the suffering, corruption and indifference in today’s world, as Christians we must hold our heads high in hope, Pope Francis said during Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. Basing his reflections on the day's readings, Pope Francis spoke of the fate of the two cities of Babylon and Jerusalem. He pointed out that both the First Reading from Revelation and the Gospel from St Luke Chapter 21, draw our attention to the end of this world.

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Pope: When the Church is humble and poor then it is faithful
Pope: When the Church is humble and poor then it is faithful

During Monday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel story of the poor widow who offered the two coins that she had to the Temple, while the rich made offerings from their surplus wealth. This Gospel captures two tendencies always present in the history of the Church, Pope Francis said - the Church tempted by vanity and the 'poor Church' which must have no other riches than her Spouse. "I like to see the Church in this figure, the Church which is, in a sense, a widow, because she waiting for her Bridegroom who will return ...

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Pope Francis: Don't make church into a business
Pope Francis: Don't make church into a business

People will forgive a weak priest or pastoral minister, but they will not forgive a greedy one or one who mistreats people, Pope Francis during morning Mass today (Friday) at Casa Santa Marta, as he marked the feast of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary with a prayer that she help us keep the Lord's Temple clean. Basing his homily on the Gospel of the Day in which Jesus drives the merchants from the Temple because they had turned the house of prayer into a den of thieves, Pope Francis said in doing so Jesus was purifying the Temple of God

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Pope Francis: Jesus weeps when the doors of our hearts are closed
Pope Francis: Jesus weeps when the doors of our hearts are closed

Jesus weeps today when the doors of our hearts are closed - not recognizing the One who brings peace, Pope Francis said during his reflection on the day's Gospel at Thursday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. Pope Francis said Jesus wept over Jerusalem because its people did not recognize the One who brings peace. He said the Lord weeps because of the “closure of heart" of His "chosen city, His chosen people. They had no time to open the door. They were too busy, too self-satisfied.

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Pope Francis: Actions speak louder than words
Pope Francis: Actions speak louder than words

Actions speak louder than words, particularly in transmitting the faith to children and young people today... If we want to help them experience “truth and love” then we adults must lead by example, Pope Francis said at morning Mass today in Casa Santa Marta. The pews were filled with children from a local Roman parish. After an initial awkwardness, the children overcame their shyness to engage in a lively question and answer session with the Holy Father.

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Pope Francis: the Kingdom of God is within us
Pope Francis: the Kingdom of God is within us

The Kingdom of God is growing every day thanks to those who witness without making any "noise", praying and living their faith in the family, at work, in communities, Pope Francis said during his homily at Mass this morning in Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father said, in the silence of a home, where there may only be 50 cents left until the end of the month, but where there is always prayer, care for children and grandparents, there is the Kingdom of God. Far from the noise of the crowd, because the Kingdom of God "does not attract attention" in the same way

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Pope Francis: We cannot serve God and money
Pope Francis: We cannot serve God and money

We must resist temptations that distance us from our service to others, Pope Francis said during his homily this morning (Tuesday) at Casa Santa Marta. Like Jesus, we must serve without asking for anything in return and avoid transforming our service "into a power structure".  Basing his homily on the Gospel of the Day from St Luke which recounts the parable of the "unprofitable servant". Pope Francis said it teaches us what service means for a Christian. Jesus speaks of a servant who, after working all day,

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Pope Francis: Scandal destroys faith
Pope Francis: Scandal destroys faith

Scandal destroys faith, Pope Francis said during his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Monday. He was commenting on the day's Gospel, in which Jesus says to the Apostles: “It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin”. The Pope then divided his homily into three key words: scandal, forgiveness, faith. "Woe to those who scandalize," says Christ, while in the passage from his letter to Titus, St Paul gives precise directions on how a priest 

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Pope Francis on 'pagan' Christians who are enemies of the Cross
Pope Francis on 'pagan' Christians who are enemies of the Cross

Some Christians are 'pagans' who "behave like enemies of the Cross of Christ", Pope Francis said during Mass on Friday morning at Casa Santa Marta. He warned that we must guard against the temptations of a worldly society. The Pope was reflecting on the words of St Paul to the Philippians speaking of two groups of Christians, still present today as they were in the time of the Apostle of the Gentiles: Christians who go forward in faith and Christians who "live like enemies of the Cross of Christ”.

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Pope: A true Christian is not afraid to get his hands dirty
Pope: A true Christian is not afraid to get his hands dirty

A true Christian is not afraid to get his hands dirty reaching out to sinners, even at the risk of losing his reputation, Pope Francis said during Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin, Pope Francis said the Pharisees and scribes were scandalized because Jesus "welcomes sinners and eats with them". "It was quite a scandal at the time, for these people," observed the Pope. "Just imagine if there had been press there at that time!”

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Pope Francis:  Rivalry and pride weaken the Church
Pope Francis: Rivalry and pride weaken the Church

Rivalry and pride are two worms that weaken the Church; instead we must act in a spirit of harmony and humility, without seeking our own interests, Pope Francis during his homily at Mass on Monday morning at the chapel Casa Santa Marta.Reflecting on the Letter of St Paul to the Philippians, the Pope noted that a bishop’s joy lies in seeing love, unity and harmony in his Church. He said: "This harmony is a grace, which the Holy Spirit creates, but we must do our part, we must do everything to help the Holy Spirit to create this harmony in the Church".

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Pope Francis: Deep down, we are afraid of God's gratuity
Pope Francis: Deep down, we are afraid of God's gratuity

Deep down people are afraid of God’s gratuity, God's free gift. We find excuses not to go to Him and end up thinking the world revolves around us - Pope Francis said, during his Tuesday morning homily at Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the parable recounted in the day's Gospel of the man who gave a great banquet to which he invited many, the Pope said this makes us think, because “we all like being invited to dinners”. But there was something about this dinner that three guests did not like, and these guests are an example of many of us.

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Pope Francis: Love and justice bring us closer to God  than excessive attachment  to laws
Pope Francis: Love and justice bring us closer to God than excessive attachment to laws

Pope Francis lamented Christians who are so attached to the laws that they neglect the concepts of love and justice, during his homily at Casa Santa Marta on Friday morning. Examining the day’s Gospel reading, where Jesus asked the Pharisees whether it was lawful to heal a sick person on the Sabbath, the Pope reflected on how love and justice are the path to Christ rather than an excessive attachment to the laws. He reminded how Jesus described the Pharisees as hypocrites for criticizing him behind his back

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Pope Francis: Christian life is a continuous battle against Satan
Pope Francis: Christian life is a continuous battle against Satan

Pope Francis said Christian life is a continuous battle against the Devil, the world and the passions of the flesh. His comments came during his homily at morning Mass in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta today. He stressed that the devil exists and we must fight against him with the armour of truth. The Holy Father was reflecting on the words of St Paul in his letter to the Ephesians where he urges Christians to put on the full armour of God in order to resist Satan’s temptations. A Christian life, he said, has to be defended and it requires both strength and courage. 

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 Pope tells Evangelical group: We must focus on unity not divisions
Pope tells Evangelical group: We must focus on unity not divisions

In a private meeting with leaders of the inter-denominational Ark Community, Pope Francis said Christians should not wait for theologians to reach agreement, but should walk, pray and work together now. His words came during a 10 October gathering at Casa Santa Marta with members of the community founded by Evangelical leader Tony Palmer who was killed in a road accident last July. Palmer became friends with Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio when he worked in Buenos Aires as international ecumenical officer of the Communion of Episcopal Evangelical Churches,

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Pope Francis tells Christians: don't hover at the door, come in
Pope Francis tells Christians: don't hover at the door, come in

Pope Francis today encouraged all Christians to feel they are an integral part of the Church. Speaking during his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta, the Pope said that Jesus does not seek out man’s sins, but looks to his heart, and he invited all believers not to hover on the threshold of the Church, but to come right in. The Holy Father said Jesus did the “work” 2000 years ago when he chose twelve pillars upon which to build His Church, and positioned himself as the basis and the corner stone.

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Pope Francis: We are called to be children of light
Pope Francis: We are called to be children of light

During Mass this morning (Monday) in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said, a conscientious examination of our words will help us understand whether we are Christians of light, Christians of darkness or Christians of grey areas. Reflecting on the First Reading from St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said men are recognizable by their words. By inviting Christians to behave as children of light, and not as children of darkness, St Paul gives "a catechesis on the word".

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Pope Francis: Every Christian is called to work for church unity
Pope Francis: Every Christian is called to work for church unity

Every Christian is called to work for the unity of the Church, allowing ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit who creates unity in diversity, said Pope Francis at this morning's Mass in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta. Pope Francis based his homily on the First Reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, in which the Apostle – a prisoner for the Lord - urges the community to live in a manner worthy of the call they have received, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit. “Building the unity of the Church" said the Pope "is the work of the Church and of every Christian 

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Pope Francis:
Pope Francis:"We cannot be Christians without the grace of the Holy Spirit"

Pope Francis reflected on "the limitless language of God’s love" during his Thursday morning homily at Casa Santa Marta.  "We cannot be Christians without the grace of the Holy Spirit" who gives us the strength to love, he said. Pope Francis was reflecting on St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians in which the Apostle describes his experience of Jesus, an experience "that led him to leave everything behind" because "he was in love with Christ." His is an "act of adoration": firstly, he bends his knees before the Father,

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Pope Francis: Without Christ we have no identity
Pope Francis: Without Christ we have no identity

Reflecting on the readings during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today (Tuesday) Pope Francis said: “a Christian is a person who knows how to wait for Jesus cultivates a solid hope in Salvation." In the Gospel of Luke and in St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the Pope said the people of God are united in Christ, Thanks to Him they have a name that goes beyond every enmity. Quoting from Luke, he said: “blessed are the servants who await their master’s return from a wedding with lighted lamps”.

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Pope Francis: Heaven is in our hands
Pope Francis: Heaven is in our hands

The Holy Spirit is the 'seal' of light with which God has placed Heaven in Christians’ hands. Often, however, we avoid this light in preference of a life spent in the shadows, or worse still, in a false light, that sparkles with hypocrisy - Pope Francis explained during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday morning. Following the First Reading from St Paul, who tell the Christians of Ephesus that in believing in the Gospel they have received 'the seal of the Holy Spirit' the Pope said: "With this gift, God not only chose us" but gave us a style, "a way of life, 

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Pope Francis: Prayers of praise bring us joy
Pope Francis: Prayers of praise bring us joy

It’s easy to ask God for something, it’s far more difficult to pray in praise of the Lord - but this is the prayer of true joy, said Pope Francis at Mass on Thursday morning in the chapel of Santa Marta. Reflecting on St Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, which joyfully elevates a prayer of blessing to God, the Pope noted that this is something “we don’t normally do”: Instead giving "praise to God is pure gratuity" and in doing so we enter into "a great joy".

 

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Pope Francis: Faith is not something cosmetic
Pope Francis: Faith is not something cosmetic

Faith is not a 'cosmetic' matter, but one of active charity - Pope Francis said during his homily at the Tuesday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the Gospel of the day, in which St Luke recounts the story of Our Lord’s visit to the house of a Pharisee who shocked when he omits the ritual ablutions before dinner. “Jesus condemns this cosmetic spirituality" the Pope said.".. look good, beautiful – but the truth inside is something else. Jesus condemns the people of good manners but of bad habits, those habits that are not seen,

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Pope Francis: Be open to God's surprises
Pope Francis: Be open to God's surprises

Be open to God's surprises, not closed to the signs of the times and remember holy law is not an end in itself. This was Pope Francis’ message on Monday morning at Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the words of Jesus to the Doctors of the Law, the Pope urged the faithful not to cling to their own ideas, but to walk with the Lord, always finding new things. Jesus speaks of the Doctors of the Law who demand a sign and describes them as an "evil generation". Focussing on this Gospel passage, Pope Francis spoke about the "God of surprises”.

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Pope Francis: We need to guard our hearts
Pope Francis: We need to guard our hearts

To prevent evil from entering into our hearts, there is an ancient, but very good, practice: the examination of conscience, Pope Francis said during his Friday morning homily. The Gospel reminds us that the devil always comes back to us; he never stops tempting man. “The devil has patience,” .. “He never leaves that which he wants for himself,” that is, our souls. “After the temptations, in the desert, when Jesus was tempted by the devil, in Luke’s version it says that the devil left Him for a time, but during the life of Jesus he returned again and again.

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Pope Francis: Guardian Angels are our life's companions
Pope Francis: Guardian Angels are our life's companions

Guardian angels exist. They are not the fruit of imaginative doctrine, but companions that God has placed beside us on our life’s journey, Pope Francis said during at Mass at Casa Santa Marta this morning, the Feast of the Guardian Angels. Pope Francis said that the readings of the day present us with two images: the angel and the baby. God placed an angel by our side to watch over us: "If anyone believes that they can walk on their own, they would be greatly mistaken”, they would fall into that terrible trap of arrogance - Believing we are great, self-sufficient.

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Pope Francis: Bring your troubles to the Lord
Pope Francis: Bring your troubles to the Lord

In moments of darkness, our lament can become a prayer, but we must guard against overdramatizing our problems and remember there are people experiencing "great tragedies” with good reason to lament, like the Christians driven from their homes for the faith, Pope Francis said, during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today. Reflecting on the First Reading, in which Job curses the day he was born, the Pope noted that his prayer at first appears to us like a curse. Pope Francis recalled how Job was “put to the test”, how he “lost his entire family,

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 Pope Francis: Vain Christians are like soap bubbles
Pope Francis: Vain Christians are like soap bubbles

Pope Francis warned us to beware of vanity, during his homily at Casa Santa Marta chapel this morning. Vanity takes us far from the truth and makes us seem like "soap bubbles." Taking the first reading as his starting point, he emphasised that when they do good, Christians must avoid the temptation to “make themselves seen.” If you do not have something substantial, you too will pass like all things. Pope Francis took his cue from the Book of Ecclesiastes to dwell on vanity. Vanity is a temptation not only for the pagans 

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Pope Francis on the radical simplicity of Christian life
Pope Francis on the radical simplicity of Christian life

Pope Francis focused on the simplicity of Christian life and the Gospel call to radical simplicity in life and actions during Mass this morning at chapel of Casa Santa Marta. Christ’s words had a “new” sound to them, as did the authority with which he spoke – and this was why people followed him in such large numbers, Pope Francis said. Christ’s words had “the power of salvation” in them - but even so, he said, there were those, who followed him “for the sake of convenience” only,

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Pope meets Jewish leaders on Rosh Hashana
Pope meets Jewish leaders on Rosh Hashana

Pope Francis met a delegation of 40 world Jewish leaders for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, yesterday. Among those attending the event at Casa Santa Marta, were World Jewish Congress President Ronald S Lauder, Latin American Jewish Congress President Jack Terpins, WJC Treasurer Chella Safra and a number of Jewish community heads and senior WJC officials. "We want to share with the Pope our message of peace and prosperity for the New Year,"

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Pope Francis: The courage to admit we are sinners
Pope Francis: The courage to admit we are sinners

..."The privileged place to encounter Jesus Christ is in our sins"... this may seem like "heresy” but St Paul also said as much when he said he would boast of only two things: his sins and the Risen Christ who saved him. "This is why the ability to acknowledge our own sins, to acknowledge our misery, to acknowledge what we are and what we are capable of doing or have done is the very door that opens us to the Lord’s caress, His forgiveness, to His Word 'Go in peace, your faith has saved you!',

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Pope Francis: Beautiful homilies are useless if you are not close to people
Pope Francis: Beautiful homilies are useless if you are not close to people

Pope Francis reflected on the role of pastors, during his homily at Mass this morning, the feast of the martyr saints Cornelius, Pope, and Cyprian, bishop. Beautiful homilies are useless if you are not close to the people, if you do not suffer with the people and do not give hope, they are vanity, he told the congregation in Casa Santa Marta.  The Gospel of the day speaks of Jesus approaching a funeral procession: a widow of Nain lost her only son. The Pope said that not only does the Lord perform the miracle of bringing her son back to life, he does something more,

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Pope Francis: Love your enemies
Pope Francis: Love your enemies

Pope Francis focused on the Gospel command to love our enemies, during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Thursday. In the Gospel reading (St Luke 6:27-38), the Lord tells his disciples: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” The Holy Father said that this is a model of Christian life – of unconditional love in action. “Do good .. lend without hoping to have back what you have lent – without interest, and your reward will be great,” he said.

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Pope Francis: The Gospel brings freedom and joy
Pope Francis: The Gospel brings freedom and joy

During morning Mass on Friday at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis reflected on the “newness” of the Gospel, as Good News, that frees the person who believes it from slavery to automatic legalism, and opens the heart to the new commandment: love. The Gospel reading told the story of the Scribes, who complained to Jesus about the behaviour of His disciples, pointing out that they did not fast and pray like the disciples of John the Baptist. The Lord would not let Himself be provoked,

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Pope Francis: The power of God's Word brings about a true change of heart
Pope Francis: The power of God's Word brings about a true change of heart

During his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Thursday, Pope Francis reflected on the transforming grace of God’s Word and invited Christians to recognize their sins and let themselves be transformed by their encounter with Christ. St Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians writes: “If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool, so as to become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God”. Paul, he said, is telling us that it is the power of God’s Word

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Pope: You can have five degrees in theology but not have the Spirit of God
Pope: You can have five degrees in theology but not have the Spirit of God

A Christian’s authority comes from the Holy Spirit, not from human wisdom or degrees in theology, Pope Francis at Mass this morning 's Mass in Casa Santa Marta. Christian identity means having the Spirit of Christ, not the "spirit of the world”, he explained. 'The people were astonished at Christ’s teaching because he spoke with authority' - Reflecting on this line, Pope Francis said Jesus was “not a common preacher," because his "authority" comes from the '"special anointing of the Holy Spirit."

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Pope Francis: We must proclaim the Gospel with humility not ‘wise words’
Pope Francis: We must proclaim the Gospel with humility not ‘wise words’

We need to proclaim the Gospel with humility, not with ‘wise words’, because Jesus Himself is the power of the Word of God, and only those who have an open heart can receive Him, Pope Francis said this morning (Monday) in his first daily Mass at Casa Santa Marta after the summer break. Commenting on the readings of the day, the Pope explained what the Word of God is and how we should receive it. St Paul reminds the Corinthians that does not proclaim the Gospel based on persuasive words of wisdom.

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Pope meets Vatican envoy to Iraq
Pope meets Vatican envoy to Iraq

On Sunday evening Pope Francis received Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and newly appointed Personal Envoy of the Pope in Iraq, in Casa Santa Marta, to show his closeness to the people, and especially to Christians, severely affected by the current conflict and who are most in need of support and encouragement. The Cardinal informed the Pope on the preparations for his mission and his imminent departure.

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Pope Francis:  There is no room in our Church for sex abusers
Pope Francis: There is no room in our Church for sex abusers

The following is the full text of the homily pronounced this morning (Monday 7 July) by Pope Francis during the Mass celebrated in the Casa Santa Marta Chapel, attended by six victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. “The scene where Peter sees Jesus emerge after a terrible interrogation… Peter whose eyes meet the gaze of Jesus and weeps… This scene comes to my mind as I look at you, and think of so many men and women, boys and girls. I feel the gaze of Jesus and I ask for the grace to weep, the grace for the Church to weep 

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Pope warns against storing earthly treasures of money, power & prestige
Pope warns against storing earthly treasures of money, power & prestige

On Friday, Pope Francis warned against the attractions of money, power and prestige, which harden the heart and never bring true happiness. In his reflection during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, he said the real treasures which can gladden our hearts, are love for our neighbours and adoration of God. In the day's Gospel reading, Jesus tells his disciples not to store up treasures for themselves on earth. Pope Francis said the first of those earthly treasures is money which is always at risk from thieves and from the whims of the stock market.

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Pope Francis: When the Lord wants to give us a mission, he prepares us
Pope Francis: When the Lord wants to give us a mission, he prepares us

When the Lord wants to entrust a mission to us, he prepares us to do it well, Pope Francis said in his homily during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Friday .."and our response must be a process of purification, a process of discernment, a process of obedience, a process of prayer.” Pope Francis explained, it can happen that one day we are courageous in the service of God, and afterwards we become depressed to the point where we want to die, because someone, in the course of our mission, has made us afraid.

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Pope's message to 2014 World Cup: No to racism, greed
Pope's message to 2014 World Cup: No to racism, greed

A video message from Pope Francis has been delivered to the organisers, players and fans participating in the 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil ahead of today's opening match between Brazil and Croatia. Delivered in Portuguese, the message expresses the Holy Father’s hope that, in addition to a celebration of sport, this World Cup can be transformed into a festival of solidarity between peoples. In the message he said football teaches three lessons that can promote peace and solidarity around the world: 

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Pope: The Beatitudes are a programme for Christian life
Pope: The Beatitudes are a programme for Christian life

During morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Monday, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel of the day in which Jesus teaches the Beatitudes. These are a “programme” for Christian life, he said. If you ask yourself how to become a good Christian, this is where you can find Jesus’s answer, an answer, he said, that points to an attitude that goes very much against the tide of modern life: Blessed are the poor in spirit. Wealth offers no guarantee, in fact, Pope Francis said, when the heart is rich and self-satisfied, 

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 Pope advises priests: 'never forget your first love'
Pope advises priests: 'never forget your first love'

Priests must be pastors first, scholars second, and they should never forget Christ, their "first love". This was Pope Francis’ message to all men consecrated to God in the priesthood, during his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. "How is your first love?". That is, are they still as in love with you as the first day? Are they happy with you or so they ignore you? These are universal questions which we should all ask ourselves regularly, says Pope Francis. And not just couples, but priests, bishops too, in front of Jesus. Because He asks us just as he

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Pope: 'a culture of wellbeing' leads some couples to prefer pets to children
Pope: 'a culture of wellbeing' leads some couples to prefer pets to children

Around 15 married couples celebrating their 25th, 50th and 60th anniversaries attended morning Mass with Pope Francis at Casa Santa Marta yesterday, Vatican Radio reported. During his homily the Holy Father said fidelity, perseverance and fruitfulness were the three characteristics of God's love for his church and should be the same three pillars of a Christian marriage. Just as the church is fruitful by generating new children in Christ through baptism, marriage should be open to new life, the Pope said. 

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Pope Francis reflects on the meaning of Christian joy
Pope Francis reflects on the meaning of Christian joy

At Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning Pope Francis reflected on Christian joy, which we cannot buy because it is a gift from God. The Pope likened this joy given by God to the joy of a mother embracing her baby after childbirth, because it is a joy "purified" by the suffering of labour. The joy of the Christians, he said is a "joy in hope". Pope Francis based his homily on the observation that St Paul "was very brave", "because he had strength in the Lord”. Of course, he noted, sometimes even the Apostle to the Gentiles was afraid.

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Pope Francis encourages firmness of heart
Pope Francis encourages firmness of heart

A Christian should have a heart fixed on the Holy Spirit, not a fickle heart that dances from one place to another - this was the focus of Pope Francis' homily during Mass on Monday morning in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta. Pope Francis asked: What kind of heart do we have? He explained that in the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles, St Paul, was able to continuously evangelize because his heart was made firm by the Holy Spirit. The Apostle to the Gentiles was in Iconium, where they tried to kill him, but still he does not complain.

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Pope Francis: Studying Jesus is not enough - we must pray, celebrate, imitate
Pope Francis: Studying Jesus is not enough - we must pray, celebrate, imitate

Studying Jesus is not enough to get to know him, we must also pray to him, celebrate him and imitate him. This was the core message of Pope Francis at Mass this morning. in the chapel of Santa Marta. In his homily, the Pope reflected on the best way for us to get to know Jesus, describing it as the most important work in our lives. At the same time he warned that studying or having ideas was not enough on its own to acquire that knowledge of Jesus. "Ideas by themselves do not lead anywhere and those who pursue the path of their own ideas

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Pope Francis: The Holy Spirit makes the unthinkable possible
Pope Francis: The Holy Spirit makes the unthinkable possible

The Holy Spirit is what makes the Church go "beyond the limits, go ever forward" - Pope Francis said during his homily during Mass on Monday morning at Casa Santa Marta. He explained, the Spirit blows where it wills, but one of the most common temptations of those who have faith, is to bar its path and drive it in one direction or another. This happened even in the early days of the Church, as the experience of Simon Peter in today's reading from the Acts of the Apostles shows.

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Pope: Church should bestow the grace of God not bureaucratic obstacles
Pope: Church should bestow the grace of God not bureaucratic obstacles

Those in the Church who are called to administer the sacraments must leave room for the grace of God and not place bureaucratic obstacles in the way - this was one of the key points made by Pope Francis in his homily during Mass on Thursday at Casa Santa Marta. Pope Francis reflected on the three elements necessary for an effective evangelization, saying it requires docility, dialogue with people and trusting in the grace of God which is more important than bureaucracy. For the first element, he pointed to Philip the apostle as an example of docility.

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Pope Francis: Church is not just a school of religion
Pope Francis: Church is not just a school of religion

The Christian who does not witness to the faith becomes sterile. This was the focus of Pope Francis' homily at this morning's Mass (Tuesday 6 May 2014) at Casa Santa Marta. The Pope drew inspiration from the martyrdom of St Stephen, narrated in the Acts of the Apostles. The Church, he said, is "not a university of religion", but the people who follow Jesus. Only in this way, he added , is the Church both "fruitful and mother". In his homily Pope Francis traced the path that led to the death of the first martyr of the Church,

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Pope warns Christians against vanity, ambition and greed
Pope warns Christians against vanity, ambition and greed

During this morning's Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis warned that there are people in the Church that follow Jesus for vanity or thirst for power and wealth, and he prayed the Lord to give us the grace to follow him for love. Pope Francis was reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day in which Jesus tells a group of people who were looking for him that they are doing so " not because you saw signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled".

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Pope Francis: I weep for Christians still crucified today
Pope Francis: I weep for Christians still crucified today

During his homily at morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Friday, Pope Francis expressed sorrow that in today's world there are some countries where you can still go to prison for possessing a Bible or wearing a crucifix. He also admitted that he has wept at the news that some Christians were crucified for their faith. Reflecting on the Gospel of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and the reading from the Acts of the Apostles, in which Christ's disciples are flogged by the Sanhedrin. Pope Francis proposed three icons:

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Pope reflects on characteristics of a Christian community
Pope reflects on characteristics of a Christian community

In his homily at the morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, on Tuesday, 29 April, Pope Francis reflected on the day's first Reading from the Acts of the Apostles (4:32). He pointed out that after last week during which the readings focussed on the meaning of "being born from above", today sets before our eyes the icon of "the community of new Christians": a "newborn people" made up of people who "as yet were not called Christians". The Pope considered the "three brushstrokes" with which the liturgy places this icon before us.

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Pope Francis: There are 'bat-like Christians' who prefer shadows to the light of the Lord
Pope Francis: There are 'bat-like Christians' who prefer shadows to the light of the Lord

Pope Francis said there are Christians who are afraid of the joy of Christ's resurrection and who instead prefer sadness and staying in the shadows just like bats. The importance of Christians being joyful, rather than sad or fearful, was the focus of the Pope's reflections during his homily at Thursday's Mass celebrated in the Santa Marta residence, Vatican Radio reports. Taking his cue from the Gospel reading of the risen Christ appearing before his disciples, Pope Francis began by noting how instead of rejoicing over his resurrection,

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Pope Francis' 'Santa Marta' homilies to be published in Italian
Pope Francis' 'Santa Marta' homilies to be published in Italian
One of the most popular items on Vatican Radio each week - which are picked up by news services around the world -  are the reports of Pope Francis' homilies given during his regular morning Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta where he has been living since his election on 13 March last year. Now these reflections – 186 of them to be precise – have been gathered together in one Italian language volume which will go on sale from next Thursday, 24 April, titled: 'The Truth is an Encounter. Homilies from Santa Marta'.
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Pope Francis: The Cross is not an ornament - it is the mystery of God
Pope Francis: The Cross is not an ornament - it is the mystery of God

Pope Francis reflected on the relationship between Christianity and the Cross during morning Mass on Tuesday in the chapel at Santa Marta. Pope Francis said Christianity does not exist without the Cross and stressed that we are unable to free ourselves from our sins on our own. The Cross, he said, is not an ornament to place on the altar but is the mystery of God's love who takes our sins upon himself. He then reflected on the meaning of Jesus's warning to the Pharisees "You will die in your sin.

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Pope Francis reflects on sins of sloth, hypocrisy
Pope Francis reflects on sins of sloth, hypocrisy

Pope Francis reflected on the need for Christians to be really committed to discipleship, and prepared to take risks for the cause of the Gospel, during his homily at Casa Santa Marta this morning. Focussing on the day's Gospel reading in which Jesus heals a paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath, Pope Francis addressed both the spiritual malaise of the sick man, whom he healed, and of the Pharisees, who began to persecute and plot against Him. "I think of many Christians, of many Catholics: yes, they are Catholics, but without enthusiasm,

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Pope Francis asks: Where are you on your spiritual journey?
Pope Francis asks: Where are you on your spiritual journey?

Where are you on your spiritual journey? Are you wandering aimlessly like a tourist? Have you stopped or lost your way? Or are you heading straight for your destination? Pope Francis reflected on these questions during his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Monday morning. Reflecting on the day's readings from Isaiah and St John's Gospel Pope Francis distinguished between three different types of Christians and how they live their spiritual lives.

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Pope Francis: 'Let us ask for the grace of humility'
Pope Francis: 'Let us ask for the grace of humility'

Our salvation is not just in observing the Commandments, but in the humility to always feel the need to be healed by God. This was the focus of Pope Francis' homily during Mass on Monday morning at Casa Santa Marta. In the Gospel reading, Jesus told his fellow citizens in Nazareth: "No prophet is accepted in his hometown". It was a place where he never worked miracles because "they had no faith". Jesus recalls two biblical episodes: the miracle of the healing of the leper Naaman,

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Pope Francis: Please do not kill the Word of God
Pope Francis: Please do not kill the Word of God

If a Christian is not humble, if he does not pray, he risks taking the Word of God and remaking it in his own liking. To see how to guard against this temptation, Pope Francis looked the Gospel of the day. Jesus recounts the story of the workers in a vineyard, who killed first the servants, and ultimately the son, of the master of the vineyard, with the intention of making themselves masters of his inheritance. This parable, was directed to the Pharisees, the elders of the people, the priests; Jesus was trying to show them

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Pope Francis: Place all your trust in the Lord
Pope Francis: Place all your trust in the Lord

Those who trust in themselves, in their own richness or ideologies are destined for unhappiness, Pope Francis said at Mass this morning. "The one who trusts in the Lord, on the other hand, bears fruit even of time of drought," he told the congregation gathered in the chapel chapel at Casa Santa Marta. "Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings," "the man who trusts in himself": he will be "like a barren bush in the desert," condemned by the drought to remain without fruit and to die. Pope Francis began with the day's First Reading,

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Pope Francis: Lent is a time to make changes in your life
Pope Francis: Lent is a time to make changes in your life

Lent is a time to "adjust your life," "to get closer to the Lord." That was the message of Pope Francis at Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta. The Pope warned against thinking of ourselves as "better than others." The hypocrites, he warned, "disguise themselves as good people" and do not understand that no one is made just by his own efforts; we all need to undergo justification. Pope Francis began his homily stressing "conversion" as the key word of Lent, a favourable time "to grow closer" to Jesus. Commenting on

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Pope Francis: Be big hearted
Pope Francis: Be big hearted

To find mercy we must first forgive. It is through forgiveness that our hearts, and the world, are filled with peace. This was the main theme of Pope Francis' homily during Mass at the Casa Santa Marta yesterday. "Be merciful as your Father is merciful." Commenting on these words of Jesus, the Pope added that "it is not easy to understand this attitude of mercy" because we are habitually judgmental. "We are not the sorts of people who naturally allow for understanding and mercy.

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Pope Francis: To know Jesus, we must follow Him
Pope Francis: To know Jesus, we must follow Him

Jesus is known more by following Him than by studying Him. That was the message of Pope Francis in his homily during morning Mass yesterday at Casa Santa Marta. Every day, he explained, Christ asks "who" He is for us, but it is only possible to answer by living as disciples. It is the life of a disciple, more than a life of study, that allows a Christian to really know who Jesus is for him. A journey in the footsteps of the Master, where clear witness and even betrayals, falls and new impulses, can intersect. But it is not only an intellectual approach.

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Pope Francis reflects on the patience of God's people
Pope Francis reflects on the patience of God's people

The patience of the people of God is what keeps the Church going, Pipe Francis told the congregation at Monday morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the Letter of St James in which he says: "Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds". Patience he explained, has nothing to do with resignation: "when we endure trials with faith they ripen our lives". He who wants everything immediately, the Pope said, he who does not know the wisdom of patience and perseverance is like a spoilt child.

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Pope Francis: We need to rediscover a 'sense of the sacred'
Pope Francis: We need to rediscover a 'sense of the sacred'

.... The first Reading of the day speaks about the "theophany" of God in the time of Solomon the king, he explained. The Lord came down like a cloud upon the temple, which was filled with the glory of God. The Lord speaks to His people in many ways: through the prophets, the priests, the Sacred Scriptures. But with the theophanies, He speaks in another way, "different from the Word: it is another presence, closer, without mediation, near. It is His presence."

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Pope Francis: Christian mediocrity leads to loss of sense of sin
Pope Francis: Christian mediocrity leads to loss of sense of sin

When the presence of God is not felt, "you lose the sense of sin," and so others end up paying the price for our "Christian mediocrity." That was the focus of Pope Francis' homily at Mass this morning, (Friday) at Casa Santa Marta. All too often today, Pope Francis said, grave sin such as adultery is declassified as simply a "problem to be solved ." He explained, that was what happens in today's reading in which King David falls in love with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his generals.

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Pope Francis reflects on the anointed priesthood
Pope Francis reflects on the anointed priesthood

During Monday morning Mass in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis spoke of the significance of spiritual anointing of the priesthood, and thanked the many holy priests who give their lives in the anonymity of their daily service. Commenting on the first reading of the day, which speaks of the tribes of Israel that anoint David as their king, the Pope said: "Without this anointing, David would have been only the head of the 'company' of a 'political society, which was the Kingdom of Israel'. He would have been a mere, 'political organizer.'

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Pope Francis: Christians must build bridges not walls
Pope Francis: Christians must build bridges not walls

Christians must build bridges of dialogue, not walls of resentment. These were the words of the Holy Father at Mass this morning (Friday) in the Casa Santa Marta chapel. Reflecting on the conflict between King Saul and David which is the focus of the day's Old Testament reading, the Pope said, David has the chance to kill Saul, but he chooses "a different path: the path of dialogue, to make peace". All Christians, always, should follow the path of reconciliation, the Pope said, because that is what Jesus taught us,

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Pope warns against jealousy, envy and gossip which divide and destroy Christian communities
Pope warns against jealousy, envy and gossip which divide and destroy Christian communities

Christians must avoid jealousies, envy and gossip that divide and destroy our communities, Pope Francis stressed in his homily at Mass on Thursday morning in Casa Santa Marta. Reflecting on the day's first reading which recalls the victory of the Israelites over the Philistines - thanks to the courageous actions of the young David, he said King Saul's joy over the victory soon turns to sadness and jealousy when he sees the women praising David for killing Goliath.

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Pope Francis: We need to be small to dialogue with God
Pope Francis: We need to be small to dialogue with God

Pope Francis said we need to be small and humble to dialogue with God. He always chooses those who are small and who have least power. This was the main message of the Pope's homily at Tuesday morning's Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence. In his homily the Holy Father reflected on the personal relationship between God and his people - the small and humble - saying God always speaks to us on a personal level, using our names. "It's never a dialogue between the powerful and the masses."

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Pope Francis:  'our God is the God of surprises'
Pope Francis: 'our God is the God of surprises'

In his homily at Mass this morning, 20 January, at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis commented on the day's Readings from the first Book of Samuel (15:16-23) and the Gospel of St Mark (2:18-22). The Holy Father began by noting that both readings help us "to reflect on the word of God" and "on our attitude towards God's word". Citing Hebrews, the Pope said that the word of God is "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword ... discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (4:12-13). Indeed, he said, "the word of God visits us and illumines the state of our heart, of our soul"; it "discerns".

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Pope Francis: Church scandals happen when there is no true relationship with God
Pope Francis: Church scandals happen when there is no true relationship with God

Scandals in the Church happen because there is no living relationship with God and His Word. Thus, corrupt priests, instead of giving the Bread of Life, give a poisoned meal to the holy people of God - Pope Francis said in his homily at the Thursday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. Commenting on the day 's reading and Psalm which recount the crushing defeat of the Israelites by the Philistines, the Pope noted that the people of God at that time had forsaken the Lord.

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Pope Francis: Christian love is 'concrete' - not the love of soap operas
Pope Francis: Christian love is 'concrete' - not the love of soap operas

Christian love is always 'concrete', Pope Francis said in his homily at Mass this morning, (Thursday) celebrated at the Casa Santa Marta. Love, then, consists "more in actions than in words, more in giving than in receiving." Love is not a kind of romanticism: either it is a selfless and solicitous love which rolls up its sleeves and looks to the poor, preferring to give rather than to receive; or it has nothing to do with Christian love. Pope Francis took as the starting point for his reflection, the words of the First Letter of John,

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Pope reflects on God's surname
Pope reflects on God's surname

At Mass this morning in Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis commented on the readings from the day, taken from the Book of Genesis (49:2,8-10) and from the Gospel of St Matthew (1:1-17). Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, was present to concelebrate the Mass and expressed his best wishes to the Pope on behalf of the entire College. The Pope centred his homily around the theme of God's presence in the history ofmankind. Within this context, the Pontiff identified two key themes - inheritance and genealogy.

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Pope Francis: The Church is for everyone
Pope Francis: The Church is for everyone

At the heart of Christianity is an invitation to the Lord's feast. That was Pope Francis' message at Mass on Tuesday morning at the Casa Santa Marta. The Pope said that the Church is "not only for good people;" the invitation to be a part of it concerns everyone. And he added that, at the Lord's feast we must "participate fully" and with everyone; we can't pick and choose. Christians, he said, can't be content with simply being on the guest list - not participating fully is like not joining in. He emphasized that "first of all, the Christian essence is an invitation:

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Pope Francis: hope is a gift from the Holy Spirit
Pope Francis: hope is a gift from the Holy Spirit

Pope Francis spoke on the meaning of hope today, during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. He explained that hope is much more than simple optimism for Christians, it is constant expectation, a gift from the Holy Spirit, a miracle of renewal that never lets us down. Reflecting on the words of St Paul in which he says: 'Never disappoint yourself'- Hope never lets you down. Pope Francis said: " Why? - Because it's a gift from the Holy Spirit". Paul tells us that hope has a name. Hope is Christ.

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Pope: peace,  joy are signs of God's presence - not perfect organisation
Pope: peace, joy are signs of God's presence - not perfect organisation

During Monday morning at Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said: 'Peace and joy" are the true signs of God's presence in the Church', not perfect organization or planning. The disciples were enthusiastic, making plans for the future and discussing how the new Church should be organized. They debated who was the greatest amongst them and restricted to themselves the number of people wishing to do good in Jesus' name. But Jesus turned the focus of the discussion from "organization" to "children". Pope Francis explained.

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Pope Francis: the love of money is the root of all evil
Pope Francis: the love of money is the root of all evil

The love of money is the root of all evil - that stark warning contained in St Paul's first letter to Timothy was at the heart of Pope Francis' homily at his morning Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Friday. Reflecting on the way in which greed can corrupt our hearts and weaken our faith, the Pope stressed we can never serve God and money at the same time. Money, the Pope went on, sickens our minds, poisons our thoughts, even poisons our faith, leading us down the path of jealousy, quarrels, suspicion and conflict.

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Pope Francis: 'words can kill'
Pope Francis: 'words can kill'

Where there is God there is no hatred, envy or jealousy, and there is no gossip that can kill. This was the message at the heart of Pope Francis' homily this morning as he celebrated Mass in the Casa Santa Marta after the summer break. The Pope first reflected on today's reading which tells of the meeting between Jesus and the people of Nazareth as recounted by the Gospel according to Luke. The Pope noted that the people of Nazareth with whom he had grown up, admired Jesus, but at the same time expected great things from him:

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Pope Francis: Christians are called to be brave in the face of temptations
Pope Francis: Christians are called to be brave in the face of temptations

Christians are called to be courageous in their weakness. We must recognize that we are weak and that, at times, we have to flee from sin without nostalgia, without looking back. We must not let temptation or fear keep us from God. Instead we must learn that 'he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day!' This was the lesson at the heart of Pope Francis' homily at morning Mass in the Chapel of Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday. Pope Francis took his cue from the daily readings, to dwell on four "possible attitudes.. in difficult situations."

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Pope Francis on the joy of fatherhood
Pope Francis on the joy of fatherhood

The desire to be a father is ingrained in all men, even priests, who are called to give life, care, protection to their spiritual children entrusted to them. This was the focus of Pope Francis homily at morning Mass today, in the chapel of Casa Santa Marta. "When a man does not have this desire, something is missing in this man. Something is wrong. All of us, to exist, to become complete, in order to be mature, we need to feel the joy of fatherhood: even those of us who are celibate. Fatherhood is giving life to others, giving life,

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Pope Francis: 'no one is Christian by chance'
Pope Francis: 'no one is Christian by chance'

Being Christian is a response to the voice of love, to a call to become children of God. This was the central theme of Pope Francis' remarks at Mass yesterday at Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father also spoke of the Christian certainty that God never leaves us alone and asks us to go forward, even in the midst of difficulties. Pope Francis focused his homily on the first reading of the day, from the Book of Genesis, which tells of the discussion between Abraham and Lot his cousin, for the division of the earth. "When I read this," he said, "I think of the Middle East

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Pope Francis to spend summer at Vatican
Pope Francis to spend summer at Vatican
Pope Francis plans to remain at the Casa Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, even during the summer months. Previous Popes have usually left Rome for Castel Gandolfo or the mountains during August. The Director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ made the announcement after presenting the Pope's summer schedule today. Fr Lombardi also announced that that the public celebration of morning Mass in the chapel of the Domus will be suspended from 8 July.
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Pope Francis: 'long faces cannot proclaim Jesus'
Pope Francis: 'long faces cannot proclaim Jesus'

The Holy Spirit is the "author" of Christian joy and to proclaim the Gospel we need to have joy in our hearts gifted us by the Spirit of God. There is a certain understanding of Christian life that is marked by sadness, but long faces cannot proclaim Jesus. Joy alone and praise of God are the only way to advance the Gospel. This was the focus of Pope Francis' homily at this morning's Mass in Casa Santa Marta. He began by commenting on the daily readings. In the first, the prophet Zephaniah,exclaims: "Rejoice! Cries of joy, the Lord is in your midst."

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Pope Francis:
Pope Francis: "have courage to do great things - humility to appreciate little things"

In his homily for Mass this morning at the Domus Santa Marta, Pope Francis focused on how Christians should proclaim the Good News as mandated by Jesus and recounted in the Gospel of Mark read during the Liturgy of the Word. Today celebrates the Feast of St Mark the Evangelist. After sharing the Gospel, the Pope said Christians should have courage to do great things, but at the same time, the humility to appreciate the little things... Pope Francis' homily focused on the passage from the Gospel of St Mark which describes the Ascension of the Lord Jesus.

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