At mass in Santa Marta, also broadcast today in streaming due to the coronavirus emergency, Pope Francis prays "for the sick, for the people who suffer", but in particular for "the workers in pharmacies, supermarkets, public transport, public security". Holy Week rites will also be streamed, without pilgrims. The homily at Mass centers on the "encounter of Jesus with a woman, with a sinner", which "ends with that confession of the messianic reality of Jesus, and with the conversion of those people [of Samaria]".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A special prayer "for all those who are working to guarantee civic and social life, the life of the city, at the moment" is what Pope Francis asked at the beginning of the Mass in Casa Santa Marta this morning.
Since the coronavirus emergency began, the pontiff has celebrated mass without guests or faithful. The celebration is live streamed.
The Holy See Press Office today confirmed that mass will be celebrated in the same way all next week and, in addition, the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household has communicated that "due to the current international health emergency, all liturgical celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the presence" of the pilgrims.
At least until April 12, the Pope's general audiences and Angelus "will be available in live streaming on the official Vatican News website" and through worldwide broadcast channels.
Introducing today's mass, Francis asked to pray for all those who are working to guarantee public services: those working in pharmacies, supermarkets, transportation, police officers…so that social and civil life can go ahead”.
In his commentary on the Gospel (3rd of Lent, A, John 4, 5-42), Pope Francis characterized Jesus’ meeting with the Samaritan woman as a “dialogue, an historical dialogue. It’s not a parable. It happened”, he said. Jesus meets a woman, a sinner and “for the first time in the Gospel, Jesus manifests His identity. He manifests it to a sinner who has the courage to tell Him the truth”. And based on that truth, “she went to proclaim Jesus. ‘Come. Perhaps He’s the Messiah, because He told me everything that I have done’ “.
The Pope went on to explain that it was not through the theoretical debate about whether God should be worshipped on this or that mountain that the woman discovers Jesus’s true identity. Rather, the woman discovers that He is the Messiah because “of her truth” which sanctifies and justifies her.
“That's what the Lord uses – her truth – to proclaim the Gospel. One cannot be a disciple of Jesus without one's own truth. …This woman had the courage to dialogue with Jesus. Because these two peoples did not dialogue with each other. She had the courage to interest herself in Jesus’s proposal, in that water, because she knew she was thirsty. She had the courage of confessing her weakness and her sins.
Furthermore, the Pope continued, the Samaritan woman’s courage led her to “use her own story as the guarantee that that that man was a prophet".
“The Lord always wants transparent dialogue without hiding things, without duplicitous intentions. Just as it is. I can speak with the Lord this way, just as I am with my own truth. Thus, from my own truth with the strength of the Holy Spirit, I will find the truth – that the Lord is the saviour, the One who came to save me and to save us.”
Because the dialogue between the Samaritan woman and Jesus was so transparent, the Pope said she was then able to proclaim “Jesus’ Messianic reality” which brought “the conversion of that people…. It’s the time of the harvest”, Pope Francis said.
As is his custom, Pope Francis then concluded his homily with a prayer: “May the Lord grant us the grace of praying always in truth, to turn to the Lord with my own truth and not with the others’ truth, not with truth that's been distilled in debates…. ‘It’s true, I’ve had five husbands. This is my truth.’ ”