Rome, March 9, 2015: On Saturday, Pope Francis celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first use of a vernacular form of the Roman Rite, when he visited the titular church of Cardinal Walter Kasper, at Rome, the Parish of All Saints (Ognisannti).
For the record, here is our unofficial English translation of the original Italian text, which can be found at News.Va.
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Holy Mass at the Roman Parish of Ognissanti, on the Via Appia Nuova
Homily of Pope Francis
3rd Sunday in Lent
Saturday, March 7, 2015
On the occasion of the feast of the Jewish Passover, Jesus went to Jerusalem. Arriving at the Temple, he does not find people who seek God, but people who are conducting their own business: merchants of animals for the offering of sacrifice, money-changers, who exchange the “impure” money, bearing the image of the Emperor, with the money approved by the religious authority to pay the annual temple tax. What do we find when we take ourselves there, when we go to our temples? I give you this example: The unworthy commerce, source of ill-gotten gain, provokes the energetic reaction of Jesus. He overturns their tables and throws their money to the ground, he drives the merchants away, saying to them: « Don’t make the House of my Father a market! » (John 2:16).
This expression does not only refer to the traffic which was being practiced in the courtyards of the Temple. Rather, it regards the type of religiosity. The gesture of Jesus is a gesture of “cleaning”, of purification, and the mentality which He expresses can be found in the texts of the Prophets, according to which God does not take pleasure in an exterior cult wrought through material sacrifice and based upon personal interest (cf. Isaiah 1:11-17; Jeremiah 7:2-11). This gesture is a call back to authentic worship, to the correspondence between liturgy and life; a call which is valid for every epoch and even for us today. That correspondence between liturgy and life. The liturgy is not something strange, over there, far off, and one during which I think of many things, or pray the Rosary. No, no. There is a correspondence, between the liturgical celebration and what I then carry on in my life; and on this (path) one must go further ahead, one must journey onward.
The conciliar Constitution, Sacrosanctum Concilium, defines the liturgy as « the first and indispensable source from which the faithful can draw the true Christian spirit » (n. 14). Which means to reaffirm the essential link which unites the life of the disciple of Jesus with liturgical worship. This is, above all, not a doctrine to comprehend, or a rite to fulfill; it is naturally also this but in another manner, it is essentially diverse: it is a source of life and of light for our journey of faith.
Moreover, the Church calls us to have and to promote an authentic liturgical life, so that there may be a harmony between what the liturgy celebrates and what we ourselves life in our own existence. It treats of how to express in life what we have received by means of the Faith and what which have celebrated (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 10).
The disciple of Jesus does not go to church only to observe a precept, to feel okay with a God who should not “trouble” him much. “But I, Lord, go every Sunday, I fulfill …, don’t mix yourself up with my life, don’t bother me”. This is the mentality of so many Catholics, so many. The disciple of Jesus goes to church to encounter the Lord and to find in his grace, working in the Sacraments, the strength to think and act according to the Gospel. On which account, we cannot delude ourselves into thinking that we can enter the house of the Lord and “cover ourselves over”, with prayers and devotional practices, comportments contrary to the requirements of justice, of honesty or of charity towards our neighbor. We cannot substitute with “religious gifts” what is owed to our neighbor, putting off a true conversion. The cult, the liturgical celebration, are the privileged place to heed the voice of the Lord, which guides us along the road of righteousness and Christian perfection.
This regards the fulfillment of a journey of conversion and penitence, to take from our life the scars of sin, as Jesus did, by cleansing the Temple of petty interests. And Lent is the favorable time for all of this, it is the time for interior renewal, for the forgiveness of sin, the time in which we have been called to rediscover the Sacrament of Penance and of Reconciliation, which causes us to pass from darkness to the light of grace and friendship with Jesus. There is no need to forget the great strength which this Sacrament has for the Christian life: it makes us grow in union with God, it makes us reacquire the lost joy and to experience the consolation of feeling ourselves personally welcomed by the merciful embrace of God.
Dear brothers and sisters, this Church was constructed thanks to the apostolic zeal of St. Luigi Orione. It is precisely here, that, fifty years ago, blessed Paul VI inaugurated, in a certain sense, the liturgical reform with the celebration of the Mass in the language spoken by the people. I auger that this circumstance may revive in you all the love of the house of God, In her, may you find great spiritual help. Here you are able to experience, every time you wish to, the regenerative power of personal prayer and of community prayer. Listening to the Word of God, proclaimed in the liturgical assembly, it sustains you in the path of our Christian life. You meet together here between these walls, not as strangers, but as brothers, capable of giving one another a hand freely, because you have been built up in love through Christ, the foundation of hope and the fundament of pledge for every believer.
Him, Jesus Christ, the Corner Stone, do we embrace in this Holy Mass, renewing the resolution to commit ourselves for our own interior purification and for the interior cleansing of the spiritual edifice of the Church, of which each of us is a living part in force of our Baptism. Amen.