Compassion is what the Lord wants in us: Pope

Pope Francis at Mass at Casa Santa Marta yesterday (Vatican Media)

"The medicine against hard-heartedness is memory," Pope Francis said yesterday, inviting Christians not to forget the grace of salvation that makes the heart sincere and capable of mercy. Source: Vatican News.

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By Robin Gomes, Vatican News

In his homily at Mass at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel from St Mark where the disciples, travelling with Jesus, are worried about the shortage of bread in the boat. The Pope pointed out that the concern for a material good had got the better of the disciples.

Jesus rebukes them that their hearts are hardened and they cannot understand. “Have you eyes and cannot see, have you ears and cannot hear?” he asks them, reminding them of the multiplication of five loaves to feed 5000, with many baskets full of fragments left over.

In this episode, the Pope pointed to the difference between a “hardened heart”, like that of the disciples and a “compassionate heart”, like that of the Lord.

Compassion is what the Lord wants in us, the Pope said, adding: "Mercy I want, not sacrifice." Francis said that a heart without compassion is an idolatrous heart. A self-sufficient heart goes ahead sustained by its own selfishness, becoming strong only with ideologies.

Speaking about the four ideological groups of Jesus’ time – the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes and the Zealots – the Pope said they had hardened their hearts to carry out a project that was not God’s, as there was no place for compassion.

However, against this hard-heartedness, the Pope said, there is a "medicine", and it is memory. This is why, the Pope said, in today’s Gospel and in many other Scripture passages, there echoes the need for the salvific power of memory, a "grace" to be asked for because it "keeps the heart open and faithful".

“When the heart hardens,” the Pope said, “one forgets” the grace of salvation and of gratuitousness. The Pope said that the greatest message of salvation is that God has had compassion on us. And the Gospel often repeats that Jesus had compassion on seeing a person or a painful situation. “Jesus is the compassion of the Father,” the Pope said. “Jesus is the slap to every hardness of heart.”


Pope at Mass: God asks of us an open heart full of compassion (Vatican News

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