On the day of the 43rd anniversary of Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s religious profession, the Pope’s homily during the morning Mass at St. Martha’s House has focused on three aspects “annunciation, intercession, and hope.” The Pontiff from the other side of the world takes cue from the readings from today’s Acts of the Apostles. “When John and Peter were brought to the Sanhedrin after the healing of the lame – he explains – and priests forbid them to mention the name of Jesus, Resurrection, with all their courage and in all simplicity they said: ‘We cannot keep silent about what we have seen and heard ‘, the annunciation. And we, Christians by faith, have the Holy Spirit within us, which makes us see and hear the truth about Jesus who died for our sins and rose again.”
“This is the proclamation of Christian life: Christ is alive! Christ has risen! Christ is among us in our community, He accompanies us on our way. “This – he has recalled – is the Apostles’ annunciation for the Jews and for the Gentiles of their time. They also bore witness to this annunciation with their life and blood.” So many times – the Pope goes on -, it “is difficult to receive this annunciation,” but the risen Christ “is real” and you need to give “testimony of this”, like John did.
After annunciation, Francis has talked about intercession. During the Last Supper on Holy Thursday – he said -, the Apostles were sad and Jesus said: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” What does this mean? How does Jesus prepare the place? Through His prayer for each of us. Jesus prays for us and this is His intercession. Jesus is working right now with His prayers for us. As He once told Peter ‘Peter I have prayed for you’ before the passion, now Jesus is the intercessor between the Father and us.”
“And how does Jesus pray?” – Francis wonders. “I – he answers – believe that Jesus shows his wounds to the Father, because He took His sores with Him after the Resurrection: He shows His wounds to the Father and mentions each one of us.” This – he has resumed – “is Jesus’s prayer. Right now Jesus is interceding for us: that is intercession.”
Finally, the Pope dwells on the third dimension of faith: hope. “Christians – he said – are women or men of hope, who hope that the Lord will come back.” The whole Church – he goes on -, “is awaiting the coming of Jesus: Jesus will return. And this is Christian hope. “The homily ends with several questions the Pope has addressed to all the faithful: “We can ask ourselves, each one of us: how is annunciation in my life? How is my relationship with Jesus who is interceding for me? And how is my hope? Do I really believe that the Lord has risen? Do I think the Father is praying for me? Every time I call Him, He is praying and interceding for me. Do I truly believe that the Lord will return, come back? It will be good for us to ask ourselves these questions about our faith: Do I believe in the annunciation? Do I believe in intercession? Am I a man or a woman of hope?”