During the homily at Mass Thursday morning at the Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis says that Jesus is close to us, “His compassion will take upon itself our problems, our sins, our interior diseases”.
The day’s Gospel tells how a leper approached Jesus, saying “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean”. In his homily, Pope Francis said that the leper’s request is a simple prayer, “an act of confidence” — but at the same time, “a true challenge”. It is plea that comes from the depths of his heart, which also reveals something about Jesus and His compassion for us. Jesus, the Pope said, suffers “with and for us”, He takes the suffering of others upon Himself, comforting them and healing them in the name the love of the Father.
A true challenge
Reflecting on the “simple” story of the healing of the leper, Pope Francis said that the phrase, “If you will…” is a prayer that “gets God’s attention”. “It is a challenge”, he said, “but also an act of confidence: I know that He can do it, and so I entrust myself to Him”.
The leper was able to make this prayer, Pope Francis said, “because he saw how Jesus acted. This man had seen the compassion of Jesus”. Compassion, not pity, is a “refrain in the Gospel” — a common theme seen in the story of the widow of Nain, and in the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son:
Jesus does not wash His hands, but stands beside us
The Pope invited us to repeat “this little phrase” often. Because Jesus has compassion, the Pope explained, “He is capable of involving Himself in our sorrows, in the problems of others”. Jesus, he said, did not come simply to give a few sermons and then return to heaven; not to wash His hands. He came to be close to us, and He remains always at our side.
Pope Francis explained how this expression can be turned into a prayer that we can use every day:
A miraculous prayer
The leper, with his simple and “miraculous” prayer, was able to obtain healing thanks to the compassion of Jesus, who loves us despite our sinfulness.