Pope Francis’ Homily At Canonization Mass . . . “May These Two New Saints And Shepherds Intercede For The Church”
(Editor’s Note: Here is the translation of the Pope’s homily at the Canonization Mass of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square on April 27. ZENIT News Agency provided the text.
(Following the text of the homily is the report from News.Va, the Vatican’s news portal, on Francis’ message about the canonization during his Regina Coeli address that same day.
(All rights are reserved for both texts.)
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At the heart of this Sunday, which concludes the Octave of Easter and which John Paul II wished to dedicate to Divine Mercy, are the glorious wounds of the risen Jesus.
He had already shown those wounds when He first appeared to the apostles on the very evening of that day following the Sabbath, the day of the Resurrection.
But Thomas was not there that evening, and when the others told him that they had seen the Lord, he replied that unless he himself saw and touched those wounds, he would not believe.
A week later, Jesus appeared once more to the disciples gathered in the Upper Room, and Thomas was present; Jesus turned to him and told him to touch His wounds. Whereupon that man, so straightforward and accustomed to testing everything personally, knelt before Jesus with the words: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
The wounds of Jesus are a scandal, a stumbling block for faith, yet they are also the test of faith. That is why on the body of the risen Christ the wounds never pass away: They remain, for those wounds are the enduring sign of God’s love for us. They are essential for believing in God. Not for believing that God exists, but for believing that God is love, mercy, and faithfulness.
St. Peter, quoting Isaiah, writes to Christians: “by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24; cf. Isaiah 53:5).
St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II were not afraid to look upon the wounds of Jesus, to touch His torn hands and His pierced side. They were not ashamed of the flesh of Christ, they were not scandalized by Him, by His cross; they did not despise the flesh of their brother (cf. Isaiah 58:7), because they saw Jesus in every person who suffers and struggles.
These were two men of courage, filled with the parrhesia of the Holy Spirit, and they bore witness before the Church and the world to God’s goodness and mercy.
They were priests, bishops, and Popes of the 20th century. They lived through the tragic events of that century, but they were not overwhelmed by them. For them, God was more powerful; faith was more powerful — faith in Jesus Christ the Redeemer of man and the Lord of history; the mercy of God, shown by those five wounds, was more powerful; and more powerful too was the closeness of Mary our Mother.
In these two men, who looked upon the wounds of Christ and bore witness to His mercy, there dwelt a living hope and an indescribable and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:3, 8).
The hope and the joy which the risen Christ bestows on His disciples, the hope and the joy which nothing and no one can take from them. The hope and joy of Easter, forged in the crucible of self-denial, self-emptying, utter identification with sinners, even to the point of disgust at the bitterness of that chalice.
Such were the hope and the joy which these two holy Popes had received as a gift from the risen Lord and which they in turn bestowed in abundance upon the People of God, meriting our eternal gratitude.
This hope and this joy were palpable in the earliest community of believers, in Jerusalem, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 2:42-47). It was a community which lived the heart of the Gospel, love and mercy, in simplicity and fraternity.
This is also the image of the Church which the Second Vatican Council set before us. St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II cooperated with the Holy Spirit in renewing and updating the Church in keeping with her pristine features, those features which the saints have given her throughout the centuries. Let us not forget that it is the saints who give direction and growth to the Church.
In convening the [Second Vatican] Council, St. John XXIII showed an exquisite openness to the Holy Spirit. He let himself be led and he was for the Church a pastor, a servant-leader. This was his great service to the Church; he was the Pope of openness to the Holy Spirit.
In his own service to the People of God, St. John Paul II was the Pope of the family. He himself once said that he wanted to be remembered as the Pope of the family. I am particularly happy to point this out as we are in the process of journeying with families toward the synod on the family. It is surely a journey which, from his place in Heaven, he guides and sustains.
May these two new saints and shepherds of God’s people intercede for the Church, so that during this two-year journey toward the synod she may be open to the Holy Spirit in pastoral service to the family.
May both of them teach us not to be scandalized by the wounds of Christ and to enter ever more deeply into the mystery of divine mercy, which always hopes and always forgives, because it always loves.
Thanking The Pilgrims
Pope Francis issued a message of thanks on Sunday, April 27 during his Regina Coeli address, following the canonization Mass of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, according to Vatican Radio.
The Pope thanked all of the pilgrims and the official delegates who traveled to Rome for the occasion. He also thanked the Italian authorities for their generous work and collaboration in preparing for this event.
He greeted the pilgrims from the home dioceses of the new saints — Bergamo and Krakow — exhorting them to “honor the memory of these two holy Popes by following their teachings faithfully.”
He also issued a special greeting “for the sick and the aged, to whom the new saints were particularly close.”
Read the full text of the Pope’s address below.
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Dear brothers and sisters,
Before concluding this celebration of faith, I wish to greet and thank all of you!
I thank my brother cardinals and the many bishops and priests from every part of the world.
My appreciation goes to the official delegations from many countries, who came to pay tribute to two Pontiffs, who contributed in an indelible way to the cause of human development and to peace. A special thank you goes to the Italian authorities for their precious collaboration.
With great affection, I greet the pilgrims from the Dioceses of Bergamo and Krakow! Dear ones, honor the memory of these two holy Popes by following their teachings faithfully.
I am grateful for all those who, with great generosity, prepared these memorable days: the Diocese of Rome with Cardinal Vallini, the city of Rome and its Mayor Ignazio Marino, the law enforcement officers and various organizations, the associations and the numerous volunteers. Thanks to all!
My greeting goes to all the pilgrims — here in St. Peter’s Square, in adjacent streets and in other locations in Rome — as well as to those who are united to us through radio and television; and thank you to the media directors and personnel, who have given many people the possibility to participate.
For the sick and the aged, to whom the new saints were particularly close, I add a special greeting.
And now, we turn in prayer to the Virgin Mary, whom St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II had loved as her true sons.