Pope Francis on Sunday afternoon made a visit to the parish of Maria Josefa of the Heart of Jesus in the suburbs of Rome. During Mass, he stressed, that the path to holiness was forgiveness and prayer and that revenge and resentment has no place in the Christian life.
Sunday afternoon was an away day for Pope Francis. He made a visit to the Roman parish of Saint Maria Josefa in Ponte di Nona in the east of the city. After greeting parishioners and meeting with a group of children, the Pope celebrated Mass telling the congregation present, never to go down the road of revenge or resentment. Instead, he said, “pray for those who want to do evil: this prevents wars and brings peace.” It is also, the Pope added, the “Christian path to holiness.”
Drawing from the readings of the day, Pope Francis spoke about the path to perfection, holiness and sainthood. Jesus, the Holy Father said, explained concretely in the Gospel the necessary tools that are needed to travel this road. He said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I tell you not to resist evil.” That, the Pope stressed means, no revenge. If I have a heart full of resentment and want revenge, he continued, that takes away my holiness.
Someone saying, “you did this to me and you will pay for this”, is not the language of a Christian. Instead, Pope Francis underlined, God tells us to pray for those who slander us.
The Pope went on to say that the great wars we see in the news and in newspapers about the massacre of people, of children is the same hatred that you have in your heart for a certain relative.
“To forgive from the heart”. This Pope Francis said, was the road of “sanctity.”
If God “is merciful, holy and perfect, we must be merciful, holy and perfect like him”. This, the Pope observed is “sanctity”: a man or woman who does this deserves to be canonized, become holy. The “Christian life is simple”, he said .
Prayer, observed the Holy Father is “an antidote against hatred, against wars.” If someone doesn’t like you, pray for them, because powerful prayer, stressed Pope Francis, overcomes evil and brings peace.