By Devin Watkins
Pope Francis celebrated Mass at Geneva’s Palexpo Convention Center on Thursday afternoon, offering a message of forgiveness and a pathway towards Christian unity.
In his homily, the Holy Father spoke about three words from Jesus’ Our Father prayer: father, bread, and forgiveness.
Our Father: Church focused on God
Pope Francis said the prayer begins with Our Father, which is “the key to opening God’s heart.” He said these words are a reminder that Christians are not orphans or living in isolation.
“The words ‘Our Father’ reveal our identity, our life’s meaning: we are God’s beloved sons and daughters.”
Jesus’ prayer, he said, teaches us to think as a Church focused on “the you of God”, which is “a roadmap for the spiritual life.” We are called, as sons and daughters of God, to take “care of our brothers and sisters in the one human family.”
“This includes the unborn, the older person who can no longer speak, the person we find hard to forgive, the poor and the outcast.”
Bread: Necessary for material and spiritual life
Pope Francis then reflected on the second word. Bread, he said, “is essential for life” and warned: “Woe to those who speculate on bread!” He said the “simplicity of bread” can help us to rediscover “the courage of silence and prayer, the leaven of a truly human life.”
The Pope said bread is not only a material good, which everyone needs to survive, but also a spiritual necessity, which is “Jesus himself.”
“If he is not our daily bread, the center of our days, the very air we breathe, then everything else is meaningless.”
Forgiveness: Path to Spirit of unity
Finally, Pope Francis spoke about forgiveness, which is “not easy”. He said it is a mutual gift that we give both to those who have hurt us and to ourselves.
“God frees our hearts of all sin, he forgives every last thing. Yet he asks only one thing of us: that we in turn never tire of forgiving. He wants us to issue a general amnesty for the sins of others.”
Our acts of forgiveness, the Pope said, are also a gift we receive from God and give back to Him.
“Forgiveness renews; it works miracles.”
In this way, Pope Francis said, “we will be more like the Father, who loves without counting the cost. And he will pour out upon us the Spirit of unity.”