Pope at Mass in Malta: With Jesus, a new different life is always possible

Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Floriana during his Apostolic Visit to Malta, and reminds Christians that Jesus always offers us the possibility of a new life.

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

With Jesus Christ, a new and different life is always possible. Pope Francis stressed this during his second day in Malta during his Mass for the nation's faithful in the city of Floriana on Sunday.

The Holy Father is visiting the Mediterranean island nation, marking his 36th Apostolic Visit abroad. His visit concludes on Sunday afternoon, following a meeting with refugees, and he then returns to Rome in the evening.

Pope Francis among the crowds as he arrives for the Mass
Pope Francis among the crowds as he arrives for the Mass

In the homily, the Holy Father recalled the day's Gospel according to St. John about the woman caught in adultery, and highlighted the Scribes and Pharisees thought they already knew everything and did not need the teaching of Jesus.  

The woman's accusers, the Pope said, disregard their own faults, yet are very concerned with those of others. Appearing righteous and religious, the Pope said, they wish to condemn and test Jesus "under the cloak of their reputation as devout and religious men."

Risk of denying Jesus in how we live

The Holy Father warned against hypocrisy and the urge to point the finger at others. 

“Once we open our hearts to Him in truth, He can work wonders in us.”

The Pope called on faithful to pay attention to how they treat others, "whether we do this with a look of mercy, as Jesus shows us today, or with a look of judgment, even contempt, like the accusers."

To understand whether we are true disciples of the Master or not, the Pope said, we need to think about how we view ourselves. The woman's accusers were convinced they had nothing to learn. Their outward appearance was "impeccable," Francis admitted, but "they lacked the truth of the heart."

Pope Francis giving his homily
Pope Francis giving his homily

Ask Jesus what we should change

For Jesus, the Pope said, what really counts is openness and docility, and that one recognizes their need for salvation.  

"It is good for us, whenever we pray, but also whenever we participate in lovely religious services," the Pope suggested, "to ask ourselves if we are truly attuned to the Lord.  We can ask Him straightaway, 'Jesus, here I am with you, but what is it that you want from me?  What is in my heart, in my life, that you want me to change?  How do you want me to regard others?”  

Clergy and congregation present at the Sunday morning Mass
Clergy and congregation present at the Sunday morning Mass

Praying like that, the Holy Father said, will do us good, "because the Master is not content with appearances; He seeks the truth of the heart."  

“Once we open our hearts to Him in truth, He can work wonders in us.”

Even if the the situation of the woman caught in adultery seemed hopeless, Jesus opened up before her a new and unexpected horizon. He does not condemn her and restores her hope.

God, the Pope said, always leaves room for second chance. He can always find paths that lead to liberation and salvation.

Listen to our report

The Pope stressed, off the cuff, that God always forgives. "God always forgives," he repeated, adding, "We are the ones who get tired of asking for forgiveness."

God believes in us

Forgiveness, the Pope stressed, changed that woman’s life. The Lord, he continued, also wants us who likewise have been forgiven by Him, to become tireless witnesses of reconciliation. 

Pope Francis during the Mass in Floriana, Malta
Pope Francis during the Mass in Floriana, Malta

"Witnesses of a God for whom the word 'irredeemable' does not exist, a God who always forgives and who never stops believing in us and always gives us a chance to start anew.  There is no sin or failure that we can bring before Him that cannot become the opportunity for starting to live a new and different life under the banner of mercy."

This is the Lord Jesus, the Pope said.

“Today, that woman, who found mercy amid her misery and who went away healed by Jesus’ forgiveness, invites us, as Church, to return to the school of the Gospel, to learn from the God of hope who never ceases to surprise us.”

If we imitate Christ, the Pope suggested, we will not be inclined to focus on condemning sins, but on setting out with love in search of sinners, showing them that a new life is possible.

Pope Francis concluded, saying, "Let us allow Him to amaze us. Let us joyfully welcome the good news He brings."

Full video of the Mass in Floriana, Malta, followed by the Angelus

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03 April 2022, 10:50