Homily of Pope Francis from the Cenacle, Jerusalem

Mass at the cenacle

On the final day of his pilgrimage, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the Upper Room - the Cenacle - said to be the site of the Last Supper. Here is text of his homily, delivered in this sacred setting.

Here the Church was born, and was born to go forth.  From here she set out, with the broken bread in her hands, the wounds of Christ before her eyes, and the Spirit of love in her heart...

The Upper Room reminds us of service, of Jesus giving the disciples an example by washing their feet.  Washing one another’s feet signifies welcoming, accepting, loving and serving one another.  It means serving the poor, the sick and the outcast. 

The Upper Room reminds us, through the Eucharist, of sacrifice.  In every Eucharistic celebration Jesus offers himself for us to the Father, so that we too can be united with him, offering to God our lives, our work, our joys and our sorrows… offering everything as a spiritual sacrifice. 

The Upper Room reminds us of friendship.  'No longer do I call you servants – Jesus said to the Twelve – but I have called you friends' (Jn 15:15). 

The Lord makes us his friends, he reveals God’s will to us and he gives us his very self.  This is the most beautiful part of being a Christian and, especially, of being a priest: becoming a friend of the Lord Jesus.

The Upper Room reminds us of the Teacher’s farewell and his promise to return to his friends: 'When I go… I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also' (Jn 14:3).  Jesus does not leave us, nor does he ever abandon us; he precedes us to the house of the Father, where he desires to bring us as well.

The Upper Room, however, also reminds us of pettiness, of curiosity – 'Who is the traitor?' – and of betrayal.  We ourselves, and not just others, can reawaken those attitudes whenever we look at our brother or sister with contempt, whenever we judge them, whenever by our sins we betray Jesus.

The Upper Room reminds us of sharing, fraternity, harmony and peace among ourselves.  How much love and goodness has flowed from the Upper Room!  How much charity has gone forth from here, like a river from its source, beginning as a stream and then expanding and becoming a great torrent.  All the saints drew from this source; and hence the great river of the Church’s holiness continues to flow: from the Heart of Christ, from the Eucharist and from the Holy Spirit.

Lastly, the Upper Room reminds us of the birth of the new family, the Church, established by the risen Jesus; a family that has a Mother, the Virgin Mary.  Christian families belong to this great family, and in it they find the light and strength to press on and be renewed, amid the challenges and difficulties of life. 

All God’s children, of every people and language, are invited and called to be part of this great family, as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of the one Father in heaven...

To read full homily: Pope Francis: homily in the Upper Room (Vatican Radio)

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