Continuing his visit to Canada, Pope Francis celebrated this 28 July at the National Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec.
In his sermon in Spanish, the Pope warned that “there is only one way, there is only one way, this is the way of Jesus, that way is Jesus himself” so he invited “Let us believe that Jesus is our way.” Join us and let He reach us, be it His Word that explains the history we live as individuals and as a community, and that shows us the way to healing and reconciliation”.
Below is a sermon given by Pope Francis:
At the end of the Gospel of St. Luke is an image of the disciples’ visit to Emmaus, our personal journey and visit to the Church. In the course of life – and in a life of faith – when we carry on the dreams, projects, illusions, and hopes that reside in our hearts, we also face our own weaknesses and weaknesses, we experience defeat and despair. , and many times we are blocked by the feeling of failure that paralyzes us. But the gospel tells us that, right at the same time, we are not alone, the Lord comes to visit us, standing with us, following our own path with the conscience of a merciful passer-by who wants to open our eyes and make Our hearts burn. heart. Thus, when disappointments give way to a meeting with the Lord, life is reborn to hope and we can reconcile ourselves, with our brothers and sisters, and with God.
Let us follow the itinerary of this path which we can title: From failure to hope.
First there is the feeling of failure, which lingers in the hearts of these two disciples after the death of Jesus. He pursued a dream with enthusiasm. In Jesus they had placed all their hopes and desires. Now, after a reprehensible death on the cross, they turn their backs on Jerusalem to return home to an earlier life. Their return journey is, as if wanting to forget the experience that filled their hearts with bitterness, that the Messiah was condemned to death like a criminal on the cross. They return home disappointed, “with a sad face” (Line of control 24.17). The hopes that they had created became futile, the hopes they had believed in were shattered, the dreams they wanted to fulfill gave rise to despair and bitterness.
This experience that pertains to our lives, likewise, the spiritual path, on all those occasions when we are forced to change the shape of our expectations and with the ambiguity of reality, with the shadows of life and with our weaknesses. learn to live. , This is something that happens to us every time we face the disappointments of our ideal life and our weaknesses cause our plans to be forgotten; When we start good projects but we do not have the capacity to complete them (cf. rm 7.18); When we sooner or later experience a defeat, an error, a setback or a fall in activities related to us or our relationships. This happens when we see what we believe or are committed to cringe and even when we are burdened with our own sin and guilt.
That’s what happened with Adam and Eve in the first reading, their sin not only turning them away from God, but also separating them from each other. They did nothing but accuse each other. And we see it in the disciples of Emmaus, whose dismay at the fall of Jesus’ project left them only for a sterile discussion. The same can be attested in the life of the Church: that community of disciples of the Lord represented by the two from Emmaus. Although the church is a community of the Risen One, we can find it wandering and disillusioned before the scandal of evil and violence on Calvary. He then has no choice but to let go of the feeling of failure and ask himself: what has happened?, why has it happened?, how can this happen?
Brothers and sisters, these are questions that each of us asks ourselves; And they are also burning issues that resonate at the heart of the Pilgrim Church in Canada, in this difficult path of healing and reconciliation that it is pursuing. We too, before the scourge of evil and before the body of Christ wounded in the flesh of our indigenous brethren, we too are in bitterness and feel the weight of the fall. Allow me to spiritually join the hordes of pilgrims who climb the “Scala Santa”, which exemplifies Jesus’ ascent to Pilate’s Praetorium; And with them as a church these questions that arise from a heart full of pain: Why did all this happen? How could something like this happen in a community of followers of Jesus?
At this point, we must be careful the temptation to escape, which is present in the two disciples of the Gospel. Revisit the path, run away from the place where the events took place, try to make them disappear, look for a “quiet place” like Emmaus to forget them. There is nothing worse than facing life’s setbacks, running away to not face them. It is the temptation of the enemy, which threatens our spiritual path and the path of the Church; He wants us to believe that defeat is final, He wants to paralyze us with bitterness and sadness, to convince us that there is nothing to do and therefore it is not worth finding a way to start over.
However, the Gospel tells us that, in situations of despair and pain, precisely when we experience the violence of evil and the shame of guilt in awe, when the river of our lives dries up because of sin and failure, when taken away In everything, it seems to us that there is nothing left, right there that the Lord comes out to visit us and walk with us.
On his way to Emmaus, he approaches carefully to go and share his resigned steps with those grieving disciples. And what does it do? He does not offer general words of encouragement or circumstance, nor easy consolation, but reveals the mystery of his death and resurrection in the Holy Scriptures, illuminating the history and events he has experienced. In this way it opens their eyes to see things in a new way. We too who share the Eucharist in this Basilica can re-read many events in history. There were already three temples in this place, but there were people who did not hold back from facing difficulties, and were able to dream again despite their own and others’ mistakes.
Thus, when a fire ravaged the sanctuary a hundred years ago, they did not lose heart and built this temple with courage and creativity. And all those who share the Eucharist from the plains near Abraham can also feel the spirit of those who did not allow themselves to be abducted by the hatred of war, destruction and pain, but instead a city and He knew how to give a new look to a country. ,
Finally, in front of Emmaus’ disciples, Jesus broke the bread, opening their eyes and showing himself once again as the Lord of love who lays down his life for his friends. In this way, he helps them to get back on the road with joy, to start all over again, from failure to hope.
Brothers and sisters, the Lord wants to do the same with each of us and with his church. How can our eyes be opened again? How can our hearts be set on fire by the gospel once again? What to do when we suffer from various spiritual and material trials, as we seek a way toward a more just and fraternal society, while we seek to overcome our frustrations and fatigue, while we heal from the wounds of the past Let’s hope. And reconciliation with God and with each other? ,
There is only one way, there is only one way, that is the way of Jesus, that way is Jesus himself (cf. Jn 14.6). Let us believe that Jesus has joined our path and let him reach us, that his Word be the one that explains the history we live as individuals and as a community, and the one who helps us to heal and Shows the way to reconcile. Let us break the Eucharistic bread with confidence, because around the table we can rediscover ourselves as the beloved children of the Father, who are all called brothers. Jesus, breaking the bread, confirms the testimony of the women, whom the disciples did not believe, that He has been raised! In this basilica, where we remember the Mother of the Virgin Mary, and which also has a crypt dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, we must highlight the role that God wants to give to women in his plan of salvation. St. Anne, Most Holy Virgin Mary, the women of Easter morning show us a new path of reconciliation, may the maternal tenderness of so many women lead us—along with the Church—once again to fruitful times, leaving so much behind There is sterility and so much death, and put Jesus, Risen Crucified, at the center.
In fact, at the center of our questions, about the work that we carry within ourselves, about the same pastoral life, we cannot keep ourselves and our frustrations, we must put Him, the Lord Jesus. At the center of everything, let us place His Word, which illuminates events and gives us eyes to see the effective presence of God’s love and the possibility of good even in situations that are clearly lost. Let us also keep the Eucharist bread, which Jesus breaks for us today, to share his life with us, to embrace our weaknesses, to support our weary footsteps, and to heal our hearts. And, by reconciliation with God, with others, and with ourselves, we can also become instruments of reconciliation and peace in the society we live in.
Lord Jesus, our way, our strength and consolation, we turn to you like the disciples of Emmaus: “Stay with us, because it is too late” (Line of control 24,29). Be with us, Lord, when hope declines and the dark night of despair arrives. Be with us because with you, Jesus, our way takes a new direction and the wonder of joy is reborn from the blind alleys of unbelief. Be with us, Lord, because with you the night of pain turns into a bright morning of life. We simply say: stay with us, Lord, because if you walk with us, failure opens up the hope of a new life. so be it.