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Pope Francis: the courage of children of God

(Vatican Radio) We are sons of God thanks to Jesus: no one can take away this “identity card.” That was Pope Francis’ message during Mass on Thursday at the Casa Santa Marta.

The Pope’s homily centred on the Gospel of the healing of a paralytic. In the beginning of the day’s Gospel, Jesus says to him: “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.” Perhaps, the Pope Francis said, this person remained “unsettled” because he wanted to be physically healed. Then, faced with the criticism of the scribes – who among themselves had accused him of blasphemy, “because only God can forgive sins” – Jesus healed his physical condition. In reality, the Pope explained, the healings, the teaching, the strong words against hypocrisy were “only a sign, a sign of something more that Jesus was doing,” namely, the forgiveness of sins: In Jesus the world is reconciled with God. This is “the most profound miracle”:

“This reconciliation is the re-creation of the world: this is the most profound mission of Jesus. The redemption of all of us sinners; and Jesus does this not with words, not with gestures, not walking along the street. No! He does it with His flesh! It is He Himself, God who became one of us, a human, to heal us from within, [He came] to us sinners.”

Jesus frees us from sin by making Himself “sin,” taking upon Himself “all the sin” and this, the Pope said, “is the new creation.” Jesus “comes down from glory, humbles Himself, even unto death, death on the Cross,” even to the point of crying out: “Father, why have you abandoned me?” This “is His glory, and this is our salvation”:

“This is the greatest miracle. And what does Jesus accomplish with this? He make us children, with the liberty of children. Because of what Jesus has done, we can say ‘Father.’ [If He had not done so] we would never have been able to say this: ‘Father!’ And to say ‘Father’ with so good and so beautiful an attitude, with liberty! This is the great miracle of Jesus. We, who were slaves of sin – He has made us all free, He has healed us at the very core of our existence. We would do well to think about this, and to think how beautiful it is to be children, and how beautiful this ‘liberty of children’ is, because the child is in the house, and Jesus has opened the doors of the house to us . . . Now we are in the house!”

Now, the Pope concluded, we can understand when Jesus said “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven”:

That is the root of our courage: I am free, I am a child . . . The Father loves me, and I love the Father! Let us ask the Lord for the grace to truly understand this work of His, what God has done in Him: God has reconciled the world to Himself in Christ, entrusting to us the word of reconciliation and the grace of bearing this word of reconciliation onward, forcefully, with the liberty of children. We are saved in Jesus Christ! And no one can take from us this ‘identity card.’ This is how I identify myself: as a child of God! What a beautiful identity! Civil status: we are free! Amen.

Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, the Archbishop of Ranchi in India, concelebrated Mass with the Holy Father.