VATICAN CITY (CNS) — To be a true Christian means being forgiving, kind, humble, gentle, generous, merciful and very patient with one another, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.
Priests must be especially merciful, he added, saying if that they weren’t, then they should ask their bishop for a desk job and “never walk into a confessional, I beg you.”
“A priest who isn’t merciful does much damage in the confessional. He berates people,” the pope said Sept. 10 during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
However, if snapping at people is caused not by a lack of compassion, but by being high-strung, then “go to a doctor who will give you a pill for your nerves. Just be merciful,” he said.
The pope focused his homily on the day’s reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians (3:12-17), which says God’s chosen ones must be holy, compassionate, kind, gentle and very forgiving because “as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.”
The pope said, “If you do not know how to forgive, you are not a Christian. You may be a good man, a good woman,” but a Christian has to go further than that and do what Christ did, which included forgiving those who wronged him.
When people pray the Our Father and ask the Lord to “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,” it should not be a string of empty words trying to convince God how good we are to gain his favor. Rather, it goes the other way around, the pope said: “The Lord has forgiven you, so you must also do.”
God is always merciful, he said, “he always forgives us, he always wants peace with us.” If people are not merciful, too, “you run the risk that the Lord will not be merciful with you because we will be judged with the same measure with which we judge others.”
It is important to “understand others, not condemn them,” he said.
The pope praised those “heroic” men and women who display such needed “Christian patience” and courage: women who endure “so much brutality, so many injustices” in order to help their children and family, and men who endure difficult, even unjust, working conditions in order to support their family. “These are the just,” the pope said.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103