Dear brothers and sisters!
The month of June is traditionally dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the highest human expression of divine love. Just this past Friday, in fact, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: the feast that sets the tone for the whole month. Popular piety highly prizes symbols, and the Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy – but it is not an imaginary symbol, it is a real symbol, which represents the center, the source from which salvation for all humanity gushed forth.
In the Gospels we find several references to the Heart of Jesus, for example, in the passage where Christ says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. (Mt 11:28-29)” Then there is the key story of the death of Christ according to John. This evangelist in fact testifies to what he saw on Calvary: that a soldier, when Jesus was already dead, pierced his side with a spear, and from the wound flowed blood and water (cf. Jn 19.33-34). John recognized in that – apparently random – sign, the fulfillment of prophecies: from the heart of Jesus, the Lamb slain on the cross, flow forgiveness and life for all men.
But the mercy of Jesus is not just sentiment: indeed it is a force that gives life, that raises man up! [This Sunday]’s Gospel tells us this as well, in the episode of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17). Jesus, with his disciples, is just arrived in Nain, a village in Galilee, at the very moment in which a funeral is taking place. a boy is buried, the only son of a widow. Jesus’ gaze immediately fixes itself on the weeping mother. The evangelist Luke says: “Seeing her, the Lord was moved with great compassion for her (v. 13).” This “compassion” is the love of God for man, it is mercy, i.e. the attitude of God in contact with human misery, with our poverty, our suffering, our anguish. The biblical term “compassion” recalls the maternal viscera: a mother, in fact, experiences a reaction all her own, to the pain of her children. In this way does God love us, the Scripture says.
And what is the fruit of this love? It is life! Jesus said to the widow of Nain, “Do not weep,” and then called the dead boy and awoke him as from a sleep (cf. vv. 13-15). The mercy of God gives life to man, it raises him from the dead. The Lord is always watching us with mercy, [always] awaits us with mercy. Let us be not afraid to approach him! He has a merciful heart! If we show our inner wounds, our sins, He always forgives us. He is pure mercy! Let us never forget this: He is pure mercy! Let us go to Jesus!
Let us turn to the Virgin Mary: her immaculate heart – a mother’s heart – has shared the “compassion” of God to the full, especially at the hour of the passion and death of Jesus. May Mary help us to be meek, humble and compassionate with our brethren.
After the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke these words to Pilgrims:
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today in Krakow are proclaimed Blessed two Polish women religious: Zofia Czeska Maciejowska, who, in the first half of the 17th century, founded the Congregation of the Virgins of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Margaret Lucia Szewczyk, who in the 19thcentury founded the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of Sorrows. With the Church in Krakow we give thanks to the Lord!
I affectionately greet all the pilgrims present today: church groups, families, schools, associations, movements.
I greet the faithful from Mumbai, India.
I greet the Family Love Movement of Rome, the confraternities and volunteers of the Sanctuary of Mongiovino, near Perugia, Umbria, the Young Franciscans of Umbria, the “House of Charity” in Lecce, the faithful of the province of Modena, whom I encourage [in their work of] reconstruction [the region was hard-hit by an earthquake in 2012], and those of Ceprano. I greet the pilgrims of Ortona, where we venerate the relics of the Apostle Thomas, who made a journey “from Thomas to Peter”! Thank you!
I wish you all a good Sunday, and a good lunch!