VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Jesus’ loving gaze of tenderness and mercy extends to all who seek forgiveness no matter how great or small their sins may be, Pope Francis said.
While many often feel “cast aside” because of their sins, Jesus offers encouragement and “tells us, ‘Courage, come to me,'” the pope said Aug. 31 at his weekly general audience.
“It is the moment of forgiveness, of inclusion in Jesus’ life and the life of the church. All of us are sinners; whether great or small, we all are. The Lord tells us, ‘Courage, come, you are no longer discarded. I forgive you, I embrace you.’ This is mercy,” he said.
Reflecting on the Gospel reading of Jesus’ miraculous healing of a woman suffering from hemorrhages, Pope Francis noted the woman’s persistence in trying to reach out to Jesus despite the fact that she was excluded from society because of her condition.
“She was a woman discarded from society. It is important to consider this condition — discarded — to understand her state of mind,” he said. “She senses that Jesus can free her from her sickness and from the state of marginalization and indignity in which she has found herself for years. In short, she knows and feels that Jesus can save her.”
Through the Gospel story, he said, “we, including Christian communities, are warned against views of women affected by prejudice and suspicion, damaging their inviolable dignity.”
The Gospel vision, he added, restores the truth and allows women to be viewed from “a liberating perspective.”
“We don’t know her name, but the few lines in which the Gospel describes her encounter with Jesus outline an itinerary of faith capable of restoring the truth and the greatness of each person’s dignity,” he said.
After touching Jesus’ cloak, the woman tried to hide and expected to be reproached, the pope said. Instead, she was met with his gaze of “mercy and tenderness” that not only welcomes her, but also “acknowledges her dignity.”
This gaze and encouragement from Christ, he added, also is experienced by all those who feel discarded and marginalized by their own sins.
The woman is not saved by touching Jesus’ cloak but by his words which “consoled her, healed her and restored her to a relationship with God and with her people,” Pope Francis said.
“Once again Jesus, with his merciful behavior, shows the church the path it must take to reach out to every person so that each one can be healed in body and spirit and recover his or her dignity as a child of God,” the pope said.
In a time of crisis CatholicPhilly.com keeps the information flowing
During the current coronavirus crisis, you can help CatholicPhilly.com deliver the kind of news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live ― every day.
Budgets are tight at this time, and CatholicPhilly's is no different than those of most families. We make sure your donation in any amount will go a long way toward continuing 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