Pope calls for prayers for those who die alone from the coronavirus and for their relatives

At Mass at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis offers a special prayer for those who die in isolation due to the epidemic and for their family members. He talks about the wisdom of the man born blind, healed by Jesus, and the closemindedness of the doctors of the Law. He advises people to “Read John, chapter 9, once, twice, three times, as many times as you want” so that the feelings about Jesus passing by can come out.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Casa Santa Marta, streamed live to help the faithful sanctify Sunday. Liturgical assemblies have been banned by government order because of fear of contagion.

In his intention, the pontiff offered a prayer for those who die alone, due to the isolation imposed by the coronavirus epidemic, and for family members who, again due to isolation, cannot assist their loved ones in the moment of passage from life to death.

Introducing the Eucharistic celebration, the pope said: “Currently, we hear news about the death of so many people. Men and women who die alone, unable to take leave from their loved ones. Let us think and pray for them, but also for families, who cannot accompany their loved ones as they pass away. Our special prayer is for the deceased and their family members.”

In his homily, the Pope commented on the Gospel of the day (4th Sunday of Lent, A, John 9:1-41), about the healing of the man born blind.

Referring to something Saint Augustine said (“I am afraid when the Lord passes by”), Francis noted that when Jesus passes by in the Gospel episode, "the true feelings of the heart, the true attitudes blossom ... the best of people and the worst of people come out.”

On the one hand, he goes on to say, there is the wisdom of the blind man "with a clear, precise" and even ironic argument; on the other, there is the position of the doctors of the Law who "knew all the laws, all of them, but were fixated on them. They didn't understand when God was passing by. They were rigid, attached to their way of doing things.”

Lastly, the pontiff gave some guidance. “I advise all of you to look at today’s Gospel, John, chapter 9, and read it at home, quietly, once, twice, to understand well what happens when Jesus passes by: Let the feelings come out.”

Likewise, “Let us understand well what Augustine is telling us: I am afraid that when the Lord passes by, I may not notice or recognise him, and I may not convert myself. Don't forget: Read John, chapter 9, once, twice, three times, as many times as you like.”

The Mass ended with the adoration and Eucharistic blessing, and a prayer for spiritual communion.