May 21, 2015
His wounds are the "price" that Jesus paid for the Church to be united forever to Him and to God. Christians today are called to ask for the grace of unity and to fight against all "spirit of division, of war, of jealousy." That was Pope Francis’s reflection during his Homily at Mass Thursday morning in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse.
For Pope Francis, "the great prayer of Jesus" is that the Church is united - that Christians "be one" as Jesus is with his Father. Drawing his reflections from the day’s readings, Pope Francis immerses us in the atmosphere of the Last Supper - not long before Christ gives Himself over to the Passion. Recalling Christ’s weighty words entrusted to the Apostles, the Pope warns us against "the great temptation" and entreats us not to yield to the other "father:" the one of "lies" and "division."
The price of unity
It is comforting, observes Francis, to hear Jesus say to the Father that He did not want to pray simply for his disciples but also for those who will believe in Him "through their word." That’s a familiar phrase, but one the Pope thinks is worth drawing special attention to:
"Maybe, we do not pay enough attention to these words: Jesus prayed for me! This is really a source of confidence: He prays for me; He prayed for me ... I imagine …a figure …as Jesus is before the Father in Heaven. It is so: He prays for us; He prays for me. And what does the Father see? The wounds, the cost. The price He paid for us. Jesus prays for me with His wounds, with His wounded heart and He will continue to do so.”
The faces of the division
Jesus prays "for the unity of His people, for the Church." But Jesus knows, Pope Francis says, that “the spirit of the world" is "a spirit of division, of war, of envy, jealousy, even in families, even in religious families, even in dioceses, even in the Church as a whole: it is the great temptation." One that leads, the Pope says, to gossiping, to labelling, to pigeonholing people. All attitudes and behavior, the Pope stresses, that we are called to refrain from:
"We must be one, just one being, as Jesus and the Father are one. This is precisely the challenge for all of us Christians: to not give way to division among us; to not let the spirit of division, the father of lies, come between us. Continuously seek unity. Everyone is different in his own way, but [we must] try to live in unity. Has Jesus forgiven you? He forgives everyone. Jesus prays that we are one, one being. And the Church has great need of this prayer of unity. "
Unity is grace, not "glue"
A Church held together by "glue," jokes the Pope, doesn’t exist - because the unity Jesus calls us to "is a grace of God" and "a struggle" to be won on this earth. "We have to make room for the Spirit, Pope Francis concludes, so that we are transformed as the Father is in the Son: one being":
"Another bit of advice that Jesus gave in these days before He takes His leave is to remain in Him: 'Abide in me.' And He asks for this grace, that we all remain in Him. And here He shows us why; He clearly says: 'Father, I want those whom you have given me, that they too may be with me where I am.' That is, that they remain there, with me. Remaining in Jesus, in this world, in the end [means] remaining with Him 'so that they may see my glory.' "