“Only by accepting [Christ’s] embrace can we comprehend that God went to this extreme, even to the contradiction of the crucifixion, to embrace everything about us, even what was most distant from him: our death – he embraced our death — our sorrow, our poverty, our frailty, and our frailties. “He welcomed it all,” the pope stated on November 20 in the Asti Cathedral in northern Italy.
19-20 November, Pope Francis visited the Italian province of Asti, located 50 kilometers east of Turin.
Prior to his migration to Argentina in 1929, the pope’s father, Mario José Bergoglio, was a resident of the Diocese of Asti. The maternal grandparents of Pope Francis also moved to Argentina from northern Italy.
In his sermon for the penultimate Sunday of the liturgical year, Pope Francis said he wished to reflect on “the foundations of our religion” in his own country.
“These roots are planted in the barren soil of Calvary, where Jesus, like a seed that falls to the ground and dies, gave birth to hope,” he explained.
Pope Francis prompted Catholics to ponder, “Is this ruler of the universe also the king of my life? Do I believe him? How will How can I honor him as the Lord of all creation if he is not also the Lord of my life?
The pope stated that Jesus, our king, looks at us from the cross today. It is up to us to decide whether we shall be observers or participants.
He asked, “Am I a spectator or do I want to participate?” “We observe the current crisis, the decrease of religion, and the absence of participation… What should we do? Do we only think and criticize, or do we roll up our sleeves, seize life by the horns, and go from the “if” of excuses to the “yes” of prayer and service?”
The pope stated, “We all believe we know what is wrong with society; we discuss daily what is wrong with the world and even with the Church – there are several issues with the Church. What then shall we do? Do we contaminate our hands like our crucified God? Or do we simply observe with our hands in our pockets?”
Francis, age 85, came to Piedmont’s northern area to celebrate the 90th birthday of his second cousin Carla Rabezzana with his Italian relatives.
In addition to having lunch at his cousin’s home in Portocomaro on Saturday, he also visited a church, a nursing facility, and an old housing.
The pope spent the night in the town of Asti, where he celebrated Mass at the cathedral and had lunch with Bishop Marco Prastaro, before returning to the Vatican on Sunday afternoon by helicopter.
Francis stated during Mass on November 20 that Christ became a slave “so that each of us could become a son.” “He allowed himself to be abused and ridiculed so that whenever we are humiliated, we will never feel isolated. He allowed himself to be disrobed so that no one would ever feel deprived of their inherent dignity. He ascended the crucifixion in order for God to be present in every crucified person throughout history.”
“Today, as Jesus, naked on the cross, reveals God and destroys every false picture of his kingdom, let us look to him and therefore find the courage to look at ourselves, to pursue the road of confident trust and supplication, and to make ourselves his servants so that we may rule with him,” he added.
Before chanting the Angelus at the conclusion of Mass, Pope Francis spoke a few words to teens and young adults for the diocesan observance of World Youth Day.
According to him, the topic of this year’s local World Youth Day is identical to that of the worldwide meeting, which will take place in August 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal: “Mary awoke and left in a hurry.”
Pope Francis stated that he enjoys imagining the Virgin Mary “in a hurry” to visit her niece Elizabeth, and that when he prays for Our Lady’s intercession, he occasionally begs her to “hurry up and fix this problem.”
The pope stated that Mary’s hurry reminds us not to waste our lives “chasing after comfort or the newest trends,” but rather to strive for greatness.
“Today, we need young people who are true ‘transgressives’ and non-conformists,” he urged, “who are not slaves to their mobile phones but who change the world like Mary by bringing Jesus to others, caring for others, building communities of brotherhood with others, and realizing their dreams of peace.”