Be Ashamed of Being a Sinner But Trust in God’s Great Mercy, Suggests Pope Francis (Full Text of Morning Homily)


Be ashamed of being a sinner, but trust in God’s great mercy.

Pope Francis gave this reminder today, March 30, as he offered his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta for the victims of Coronavirus, which has claimed more than 10,000 lives in Italy.

Today, the Holy Father expressed gratitude and prayed “for the many people who are not succeeding in coping and remain in fear because of the pandemic.”

“May the Lord help them,” the Pope prayed, “to have the strength to cope for the good of society and the entire community.”

In today’s homily, the Holy Father reflected on Psalm 23, and applied it to the two women presented in the readings for the Fifth Monday of Lent, namely Susanna and the woman caught in adultery (Daniel 13; John 8:1-11), reported Vatican News.

Francis began the homily citing the Responsorial Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”

This, Pope Francis said, is the experience these two women had, whose story we read in the two Readings. “An innocent woman, falsely accused, slandered, and a sinful woman, both sentenced to death – the innocent one and the sinful one.”

Both women, Francis recognized, were desperate, “humanly desperate,” and in “a dark valley, toward death” but Susanna trusts in God.

“The first trusts God explicitly and the Lord intervenes. The second, poor thing,” Francis said, “knows she is culpable, ashamed before all the people — because the people were present in both situations — the Gospel doesn’t say it, but undoubtedly she prayed within, asking for some help.”

“What does the Lord do with these people?” the Pope asked, noting: “He saves the innocent woman; He does justice for her. He forgives the sinful woman. He condemns the corrupt judges; He helps the hypocrites to convert and He says before the people: “Yes, really? Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her,” and one by one they went away.”

The Pope went on to say how the Lord deals with all of us who are sinners, showing us mercy, as long as we are not corrupt.

Each One of Us

“Each one of us,” Pope Francis acknowledged, “has his own stories. Each one of us has his own sins. And if he doesn’t remember them, he must think a bit and he will find them. Thank God if you find them, because if you don’t find them, you are a corrupt person.”

Even with our sins, we must–Pope Francis suggested–remember our Lord does justice but is so very merciful.

“Let us not be ashamed to be in the Church,” the Pope noted, saying we ought to “be ashamed of being sinners.”

“The Church is Mother of all,” he said, noting We thank God that we are not corrupt, but we are sinners. And each one of us, seeing how Jesus acts in these cases, must trust in God’s mercy.”

“Pray,” Pope Francis exhorted, “with trust in God’s mercy; pray for forgiveness. Because God ‘leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death — the valley of sin — I fear no evil; for Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.’”

Before concluding, the Pope exhorted faithful to partake in Spiritual Communion in this difficult time, and ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction.

Here are the Holy Father’s words, followed by the prayer for Spiritual Communion:

I prostrate myself at your feet, O my Jesus, and I offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abases itself in its nothingness in Your Holy Presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your Love; I desire to receive You in the poor abode that my heart offers You. While waiting for the happiness of a Sacramental Communion, I want to possess You in spirit. Come to me, O my Jesus, that I may come to You. May Your Love inflame my whole being, in life and in death. I believe in You, I hope in You, I love You. Amen.