Pope Francis' remarks at Canonization Mass

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Thursday, September 24, 2015
VIDEO: Remarks made by Pope Francis at canonization Mass
Wednesday evening, Pope Francis celebrated the first Canonization Mass ever held in the United States.

WASHINGTON -- Wednesday evening, Pope Francis celebrated the first Canonization Mass ever held in the United States.

Read his translated remarks:


Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again, rejoice! These are striking words, words which impact our lives. Paul tells us to rejoice; he practically orders us to rejoice. This command resonates with the desire we all have for a fulfilling life, a meaningful life, a joyful life. It is as if Paul could hear what each one of us is thinking in his or her heart and to voice what we are feeling, what we are experiencing. Something deep within us invites us to rejoice and tells us not to settle for placebos which simply keep us comfortable.

At the same time, though, we all know the struggles of everyday life. So much seems to stand in the way of this invitation to rejoice. Our daily routine can often lead us to a kind of glum apathy which gradually becomes a habit, with a fatal consequence: our hearts grow numb.

We don't want apathy to guide our lives... or do we? We don't want the force of habit to rule our life... or do we? So we ought to ask ourselves: What can we do to keep our heart from growing numb, becoming anesthetized? How do we make the joy of the Gospel increase and take deeper root in our lives?

Jesus gives the answer. He said to his disciples then and he says it to us now: Go forth! Proclaim! The joy of the Gospel is something to be experienced, something to be known and lived only through giving it away, through giving ourselves away.

The spirit of the world tells us to be like everyone else, to settle for what comes easy. Faced with this human way of thinking, "we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and for the world" (Laudato Si', 229). It is the responsibility to proclaim the message of Jesus. For the source of our joy is "an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of our own experience of the power of the Father's infinite mercy" (Evangelii Gaudium, 24). Go out to all, proclaim by anointing and anoint by proclaiming. This is what the Lord tells us today. He tells us: A Christian finds joy in mission: Go out to people of every nation!

A Christian experiences joy in following a command: Go forth and proclaim the good news!

A Christian finds ever new joy in answering a call: Go forth and anoint!

Jesus sends his disciples out to all nations. To every people. We too were part of all those people of two thousand years ago. Jesus did not provide a short list of who is, or is not, worthy of receiving his message, his presence. Instead, he always embraced life as he saw it. In faces of pain, hunger, sickness and sin. In faces of wounds, of thirst, of weariness, doubt and pity. Far from expecting a pretty life, smartly-dressed and neatly groomed, he embraced life as he found it. It made no difference whether it was dirty, unkempt, broken. Jesus said: Go out and tell the good news to everyone. Go out and in my name embrace life as it is, and not as you think it should be. Go out to the highways and byways, go out to tell the good news fearlessly, without prejudice, without superiority, without condescension, to all those who have lost the joy of living. Go out to proclaim the merciful embrace of the Father. Go out to those who are burdened by pain and failure, who feel that their lives are empty, and proclaim the folly of a loving Father who wants to anoint them with the oil of hope, the oil of salvation. Go out to proclaim the good news that error, deceitful illusions and falsehoods do not have the last word in a person's life. Go out with the ointment which soothes wounds and heals hearts.

Mission is never the fruit of a perfectly planned program or a well-organized manual. Mission is always the fruit of a life which knows what it is to be found and healed, encountered and forgiven. Mission is born of a constant experience of God's merciful anointing.

The Church, the holy People of God, treads the dust-laden paths of history, so often traversed by conflict, injustice and violence, in order to encounter her children, our brothers and sisters. The holy and faithful People of God are not afraid of losing their way; they are afraid of becoming self-enclosed, frozen into elites, clinging to their own security. They know that self-enclosure, in all the many forms it takes, is the cause of so much apathy.

So let us go out, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ (Evangelii Gaudium, 49). The People of God can embrace everyone because we are the disciples of the One who knelt before his own to wash their feet (ibid., 24).

The reason we are here today is that many other people wanted to respond to that call. They believed that "life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort" (Aparecida Document, 360). We are heirs to the bold missionary spirit of so many men and women who preferred not to be "shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security... within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving" (Evangelii Gaudium, 49). We are indebted to a tradition, a chain of witnesses who have made it possible for the good news of the Gospel to be, in every generation, both "good" and "news".

Today we remember one of those witnesses who testified to the joy of the Gospel in these lands, Father Junipero Serra. He was the embodiment of "a Church which goes forth", a Church which sets out to bring everywhere the reconciling tenderness of God. Junipero Serra left his native land and its way of life. He was excited about blazing trails, going forth to meet many people, learning and valuing their particular customs and ways of life. He learned how to bring to birth and nurture God's life in the faces of everyone he met; he made them his brothers and sisters. Junipero sought to defend the dignity of the native community, to protect it from those who had mistreated and abused it. Mistreatment and wrongs which today still trouble us, especially because of the hurt which they cause in the lives of many people.

Father Serra had a motto which inspired his life and work, a saying he lived his life by: siempre adelante! Keep moving forward! For him, this was the way to continue experiencing the joy of the Gospel, to keep his heart from growing numb, from being anesthetized. He kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting. He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were waiting. He kept going forward to the end of his life. Today, like him, may we be able to say: Forward! Let's keep moving forward!


Read his remarks in Spanish:

Alegrense siempre en el Senor. Repito: Alegrense (Flp 4,4). Una invitacion que golpea fuerte nuestra vida. Algrense nos dice Pablo con una fuerza casi imperativa. Una invitacion que se hace eco del deseo que todos experimentamos a una vida plena, a una vida con sentido, a una vida con alegra. Es como si Pablo tuviera la capacidad de escuchar cada uno de nuestros corazones y pusiera voz a lo que sentimos y vivimos. Hay algo dentro de nosotros que nos invita a la alegria y a no conformarnos con placebos que simplemente quieren contentarnos.

Pero a su vez, vivimos las tensiones de la vida cotidiana. Son muchas las situaciones que parecen poner en duda esta invitacion. La propia dinamica a la que muchas veces nos vemos sometidos parece conducirnos a una resignacion triste que poco a poco se va transformando en acostumbramiento, con una consecuencia letal: anestesiarnos el corazon.

No queremos que la resignacion sea el motor de nuestra vida, o lo queremos?; no queremos que el acostumbramiento se apodere de nuestros das, o si?. Por eso podemos preguntarnos, como hacer para que no se nos anestesie el corazon? Como profundizar la alegra del Evangelio en las diferentes situaciones de nuestra vida?

Jesus lo dijo a los discpulos de ayer y nos lo dice a nosotros hoy: vayan!, anuncien! La alegria del evangelio se experimenta, se conoce y se vive tan solo dandola, dandose.

El espiritu del mundo nos invita al conformismo, a la comodidad; frente a este espiritu humano hace falta volver a sentir que nos necesitamos unos a otros, que tenemos una responsabilidad por los demas y por el mundo (Laudato si', 229). Tenemos la responsabilidad de anunciar el mensaje de Jesus. Porque la fuente de nuestra alegria nace de ese deseo inagotable de brindar misericordia, fruto de haber experimentado la infinita misericordia del Padre y su fuerza difusiva (Evangelii gaudium, 24). Vayan a todos a anunciar ungiendo y a ungir anunciando.

A esto el Senor nos invita hoy y nos dice: La alegria el cristiano la experimenta en la mision: Vayan a las gentes de todas las naciones (Mt 28,19).

La alegria el cristiano la encuentra en una invitacion: Vayan y anuncien.

La alegria el cristiano la renueva, la actualiza con una llamada: Vayan y unjan.

Jesus los enva a todas las naciones. A todas las gentes. Y en ese todos de hace dos mil anos estbamos tambien nosotros. Jesus no da una lista selectiva de quien si y quien no, de quienes son dignos o no de recibir su mensaje, su presencia. Por el contrario, abrazo siempre la vida como esta se le presentaba. Con rostro de dolor, hambre, enfermedad, pecado. Con rostro de heridas, de sed, de cansancio. Con rostro de dudas y de piedad. Lejos de esperar una vida maquillada, decorada, trucada, la abrazo como venia a su encuentro. Aunque fuera una vida que muchas veces se presenta derrotada, sucia, destruida. A todos dijo Jesus vayan y anuncien; a toda esa vida como esta y no como nos gustara que fuese, vayan y abracen en mi nombre. Vayan al cruce de los caminos, vayan... a anunciar sin miedo, sin prejuicios, sin superioridad, sin purismos a todo aquel que ha perdido la alegria de vivir, vayan a anunciar el abrazo misericordioso del Padre. Vayan a aquellos que viven con el peso del dolor, del fracaso, del sentir una vida truncada y anuncien la locura de un Padre que busca ungirlos con el oleo de la esperanza, de la salvacion. Vayan a anunciar que el error, las ilusiones enganosas, las equivocaciones, no tienen la ultima palabra en la vida de una persona. Vayan con el oleo que calma las heridas y restaura el corazon.

La mision no nace nunca de un proyecto perfectamente elaborado o de un manual muy bien estructurado y planificado; la mision siempre nace de una vida que se sintio buscada y sanada, encontrada y perdonada. La mision nace de experimentar una y otra vez la uncin misericordiosa de Dios.

La Iglesia, el Pueblo santo de Dios, sabe transitar los caminos polvorientos de la historia atravesados tantas veces por conflictos, injusticias, violencia para ir a encontrar a sus hijos y hermanos. El santo Pueblo fiel de Dios, no le teme al error; le teme al encierro, a la cristalizacion en elites, al aferrarse a las propias seguridades. Sabe que el encierro en sus multiples formas es la causa de tantas resignaciones.

Por eso, salgamos, salgamos a ofrecer a todos la vida de Jesucristo (Evangelii gaudium, 49). El Pueblo de Dios sabe involucrarse porque es discpulo de Aquel que se puso de rodillas ante los suyos para lavarles los pies (cf. ibd., 24).

Hoy estamos aqui porque hubo muchos que se animaron a responder a esta llamada, muchos que creyeron que la vida se acrecienta dandola y se debilita en el aislamiento y la comodidad (Documento de Aparecida, 360). Somos hijos de la audacia misionera de tantos que prefirieron no encerrarse en las estructuras que nos dan una falsa contencion... en las costumbres donde nos sentimos tranquilos, mientras afuera hay una multitud hambrienta (Evangelii gaudium, 49). Somos deudores de una tradicion, de una cadena de testigos que han hecho posible que la Buena Nueva del Evangelio siga siendo generacin tras generacion Nueva y Buena.

Y hoy recordamos a uno de esos testigos que supo testimoniar en estas tierras la alegria del Evangelio, Fray Junipero Serra. Supo vivir lo que es la Iglesia en salida, esta Iglesia que sabe salir e ir por los caminos, para compartir la ternura reconciliadora de Dios. Supo dejar su tierra, sus costumbres, se anim a abrir caminos, supo salir al encuentro de tantos aprendiendo a respetar sus costumbres y peculiaridades. Aprendi a gestar y a acompaar la vida de Dios en los rostros de los que iba encontrando haciendolos sus hermanos. Junpero busc defender la dignidad de la comunidad nativa, protegindola de cuantos la haban abusado. Abusos que hoy nos siguen provocando desagrado, especialmente por el dolor que causan en la vida de tantos.

Tuvo un lema que inspiro sus pasos y plasmo su vida: supo decir, pero especialmente supo vivir diciendo: siempre adelante. Esta fue la forma que Junipero encontro para vivir la alegra del Evangelio, para que no se le anestesiara el corazon. Fue siempre adelante, porque el Seor espera; siempre adelante, porque el hermano espera; siempre adelante, por todo lo que aun le quedaba por vivir; fue siempre adelante. Que, como el ayer, hoy nosotros podamos decir: siempre adelante.