I enjoy reading all of Pope Francis’ homilies, his talks, EVERYTHING! But I must admit, that – thus far – my favorite is the homily he gave at Sts Elizabeth and Zechariah Parish in Rome. His homily was particularly directed toward the children who were making their First Holy Communion. But perhaps he spoke to that child in each of us that is looking for reassurance and love, to the child in each of us that perks up when our father asks us a really important question, to that child in each of us wants to learn, and finally to that child in each of us that is just dying to say our answer with loud voice and happy heart!
Our Holy Father began speaking about Mary. How can a child understand the Mother of God? Like this:
“She is our Mother, who always comes in haste when we need help.” The Pope continues: “And when her children are in difficulty, have a need and they call upon her, she goes in haste. And this makes us safe, the safety of always having our mother near, at our side. We go, we travel better in life when we have our mamma near. Let us think about this grace of Our Lady, this grace that she gives us: of being with us, but without making us wait. Always! She is – we have confidence in this – there to help us. Our Lady who always goes in haste, for us.”
It is said that one of the more touching moments during the Mass was the moment Pope Francis engaged in a little dialogue with the children who were receiving the Sacrament of Communion. Explaining the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Father asked, “How do we explain that one is the Father, the other the Son and the other the Holy Spirit?”
A few little voices replied: “There are three persons in One God.”
“Louder, Louder,” the Holy Father encouraged them on with a smile.
“There are three persons in One God!!”, the children at last exclaimed loudly.
How absolutely charming! I would wager that those kids will long remember that moment when they were encouraged with a smile, when they told the Pope that God was three persons in One God…And I would wager as well that there perception of God will be influenced by that moment…by a Holy Father who loved them and told them about a God Who loves them and will always be with them.
Finally our beloved Pope concludes with a teaching about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist:
“But listen, Jesus gives us strength. How does Jesus give us strength? You know how he gives us strength! Louder, I can’t hear you! In Communion he gives us strength, the way he helps us is by giving us strength. He comes to us. But when you say “He gives us Communion,” a piece of bread gives you so much strength? It’s not bread? It’s bread? This is bread but what is on the altar, is it bread or not? It looks like bread! It’s not really bread. What is it? It is the body of Jesus. Jesus comes into our heart.”
I don’t know about you, but my heart – as I read these words – is so consoled. Hearing a father speak to a child, hearing our Holy Father speak to the children, hearing the Eternal Father speak to our hearts – this is where peace is found! This is where we find the freedom of childhood!
Here is a link to the full text of the homily. Worth reading…with the heart of a child: