(Vatican Radio) Be not afraid of “speaking the truth about our life”, by recognizing our sins and confessing them to the Lord. That was Pope Francis message at Mass on Thursday morning in the Casa Santa Marta.
Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:
Reflecting in his homily on the day’s Gospel about Herod’s response to Jesus’ preaching, Pope Francis noted that some people associated Jesus with John the Baptist, Elijah, or a prophet.
Herod, he said, did not know what to think about Jesus, but “he felt” something within. This was not a mere curiosity, the Pope said, but “remorse in his soul and heart”. Herod sought to see Jesus “to calm himself”.
The Holy Father said Herod wanted to see the Christ perform a miracle, but Jesus refused to hold “a circus before him”, so Herod handed him over to Pontius Pilate. And Jesus paid for his refusal with his life.
In so doing, the Pope said, Herod covered “one crime with another” and “one remorse of conscience with another crime”, like one “who kills out of fear”.
Remorse, he said, is therefore not “simply remembering something” but “an open wound”.
“It is an open wound, which, when we have done something wrong in our life, pains us. But it is a hidden wound, unseen even by me, because I get used to carrying it around and anesthetizing it. It is there and some touch it, but it remains within. When it hurts, we feel remorse. I am not only aware of having done evil, but I also feel it in my body, in my soul, and in my life. And so I feel the temptation to cover it and not feel it anymore.”
Pope Francis went on to say it is “a grace to feel our conscience accuse us”. However, he said none of us is a saint, so we are all tempted to notice the sins of the others, instead of our own.
“We must, if I may say so, ‘baptize’ this open wound, that is, give it a name… And if you ask, ‘Father, how can I remove it?’ First of all, pray: ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ And then examine your life… And ask someone to help you to identify the wound and to give it a name, saying ‘I feel remorse because I did this concrete act.’ This is true humility before God.”
The Pope said this act of being concrete with remorse is necessary for healing.
“We must learn the science and wisdom of accusing ourselves… I accuse myself, feel the pain caused by the wound, learn where it has come from, and then indict myself regarding it. Do not be afraid of remorse, for it is a sign of salvation.”
Finally, Pope Francis invited all to pray for the grace “to have courage to accuse ourselves”, in order to journey along the path towards salvation.
(Devin Sean Watkins)