Pope Francis Recalling Catechism, Reminds Faithful the Lord Is Waiting for Them & Will Forgive Them Now
MARCH 20, 2020
Can’t go to confession? Have a heartfelt talk with God, Your Father, and ask Him forgiveness for your sins…
Pope Francis encouraged faithful worldwide to welcome his invitation, during his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta, again offered for the victims and those affected by the Coronavirus, praying especially today for healthcare providers in the north, many giving and risking their lives.
“Yesterday,” Francis said, “I received a message from a priest from the Bergamo region who asked for prayers for the doctors working there…. They are at the end their strength…and are truly giving their lives to help those who are ill, to save others’ lives.”
The Pope also prayed for civil leaders who, as they manage the crisis, often “suffer from being misunderstood,” and are “pillars helping us move out of the situation and are defending us from this crisis.”
In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on today’s readings from Chapter 15 of Luke’s Gospel, which tells the story of the Prodigal Son, reported Vatican News.
The father in the story, Francis recalled, “would go up to the terrace — how many times a day! — during the day and days, months, years, perhaps, waiting for his son. He saw him from afar.”
Similarly, as that son needed to take the step to return, the Pope exhorted: “Return to your Papa, return to your Father. He is waiting for you. It’s God’s tenderness that speaks to us, especially in Lent. It’s the time to enter into ourselves and remember the Father and return to God, our Papa.”
Francis acknowledged that we may say: “No, Father, I’m ashamed to return because . . . You know Father, I have made so many . . ., I’ve done a lot . . . “What does the Lord say? “Return, I will heal…”
“Return to your Father who waits for you,” he underscored: “The God of tenderness will heal us; He will heal us of the many, many wounds of life and of the many awful things we’ve done. Everyone has their own!”
The Holy Father called on faithful to remember “to return to God is to return to an embrace, to the Father’s embrace.” He also encourages them to remember the promise Isaiah makes: “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”
God, Francis stresses, “is able to transform us, He is able to change our heart, but it’s necessary to take the first step: to return. It’s not to go to God, no: it’s to return home.”
Lent, the Pope pointed out, always points to this conversion of heart that, in the Christian custom, is embodied in the Sacrament of Confession.
“It’s the moment,” Pope Francis said, “to let God whiten us, God purify us, God embrace us.”
What If I Cannot Leave Home…
The Holy Father recognized that before Easter, many faithful go to Confession to meet with God again.
“However,” he acknowledged, “many will say to me today: ‘But, Father, where can I find a priest, a confessor, because one can’t leave home? And I want to make peace with the Lord, I want Him to embrace me, that my Papa embrace me . . . What can I do if I can’t find priests?’”
“Do what the Catechism says,” the Jesuit Pope stressed, “it’s very clear: if you don’t find a priest to hear your Confession, talk with God, He is your Father, and tell Him the truth: ‘Lord, I’ve done this, and that, and that . . . I’m sorry,” and ask Him for forgiveness with all your heart, with the Act of Contrition and promise Him: “Afterwards I will go to Confession, but forgive me now.”
If you do all this, Francis said, you will return to God’s grace immediately. As the Catechism teaches, he reminded, you yourself can approach God’s forgiveness without having a priest at hand.
“Think: it’s the moment! And this is the right moment, the opportune moment. An Act of Contrition well made, Francis said, will make “our soul become white as snow.
“It would be good if today this “return” resounded in our ears, “return to your Papa, return to your Father,” Pope Francis said, underscoring: “He is waiting for you and He will celebrate you.”