At the Tuesday morning Mass (24/03) at Casa Santa Marta, the Pope thanked the doctors, nurses and priests involved in assisting the sick in Covid-19: an example of heroism. In his homily, he drew attention to the sin of laziness
At the Mass at Casa Santa Marta this Tuesday (24/03), the Pope prayed for health professionals and priests who are assisting coronavirus patients, putting their lives at risk. To date in Italy, 24 doctors have been killed in their care activities for those affected by Covid-19. Almost 5,000 health workers were infected. About 50 priests died from this pandemic. Following are the words of the Holy Father at the beginning of the celebration:
I received the news that in these days some doctors, priests died, I don’t know if any nurses, but if they got infected, they were contaminated because they were at the service of the sick. Let us pray for them, for their families, and I thank God for the example of heroism they give us in assisting the sick.
In the homily, Francisco, commenting on the Gospel (Jn 5,1-16) in which Jesus heals a sick person by the pool of Bethesda, he highlighted the danger of a particular sin: laziness. Following is the text of the homily translated by Vatican News:
Today’s liturgy makes us reflect on water, water as a symbol of salvation, because it is a means of salvation, but water is also a means of destruction: think of the Flood … But in these readings, water is for the salvation. In the first reading, that water that brings life, that drains the waters of the sea, a new water that drains. And in the Gospel, the pool, that pool to which the sick went, filled with water, to heal themselves, because it was said that from time to time the waters moved, as if it were a river, because an angel came down from heaven and he moved them, and the first, or the first, who threw themselves into the water were healed. And many – as Jesus says – many sick, “they stayed in great numbers sick, blind, lame, paralyzed”, there, waiting for the cure, for the water to move. There was a man who had been ill for 38 years. 38 years there, waiting for a cure. This leads you to think, right? It’s a little too much … because whoever wants to be healed finds a way to have someone who helps him, does something, is a little nimble, even a little shrewd … but this one, 38 years old there, to the point that he doesn’t he knows if he is sick or dead … Jesus, seeing him lying down, and knowing the reality, which was there a long time, says to him: “Do you want to be healed?” And the answer is interesting: you don’t say yes, you are sorry. Of the disease? No. The patient replies: “Sir, I have no one to take me to the pool, when the water is agitated. When I’m arriving, another one comes in front of me ”. A man who always comes late. Jesus says to him: “Get up, take your bed and walk”. In that instant, that man was healed.
This man’s attitude leads us to think. Was sick? Yes, maybe, I had some paralysis, but it looks like I could walk a little. But he was sick in his heart, he was sick in his soul, he was sick with pessimism, he was sick with sadness, he was sick with laziness. This is this man’s illness: “Yes, I want to live, but …”, it was there. But the answer is, “Yes, I want to be healed!” No, it is regretting: “It is the others who arrive first, always the others”. The response to Jesus’ offer to heal is a lament against others. And so, 38 years of regretting others. And doing nothing to heal yourself.
It was a Saturday: we heard what the doctors of the Law did. But the key is the encounter with Jesus, afterwards. He found him in the Temple and said to him, “Behold, you are healed. Do not sin again, lest something worse happen to you ”. That man was in sin, but he was not there because he had done something serious, no. The sin of surviving and regretting the lives of others: the sin of sadness that is the seed of the devil, that inability to make a decision about one’s own life, but rather looking at the lives of others to regret it. Not to criticize them: to lament. “They arrive first, I am a victim of this life”: the lamentations, these people breathe lamentations.
If we make a comparison with the blind man born that we heard last Sunday: with how much joy, with how much decision he reacted to his cure, and also with how much decision he was discussing with the doctors of the Law ”. This one just went and informed: “yes, this is it”, Ponto. No commitment to life … It makes me think of many of us, of many Christians who live in this state of laziness, inability to do anything, but regretting everything. And laziness is a poison, it is a fog that surrounds the soul and does not let it live. Also, it sucks because if you try it more often, you end up liking it. And you end up becoming a “sad-dependent”, a “lazy-dependent” … It’s like air. And this is a very common sin among us: sadness, laziness, I don’t mean melancholy, but it is coming.
And we will do well to reread this 5th chapter of John to see what this disease is like that we can fall into. The water is to save us. “But I can’t save myself” – “For what reason?” – “Why is the fault of others”. And I remain there for 38 years … Jesus healed me: can’t you see the reaction of others who are healed, who take the bed and dance, sing, thank, tell the whole world? No: go ahead. The others tell him it shouldn’t be done, he says: “But the one who healed me said yes,” and goes on. And then, instead of going to Jesus, thanking him and everything, inform: “It was that one”. A gray but gray life of this evil spirit, which is laziness, sadness, melancholy.
Let us think of water, the water that is a symbol of our strength, of our life, the water that Jesus used to regenerate us, Baptism. And think about us too, if any of us is in danger of slipping into this laziness, into this neutral sin: the sin of the neutral is this, neither white nor black, we do not know what it is. And this is a sin that the devil can use to annihilate our spiritual life as well as our people’s lives. May the Lord help us to understand how ugly and evil this sin is.
Finally, the Holy Father ended the celebration with adoration and Eucharistic blessing, inviting him to make spiritual Communion. Following is the prayer recited by the Pope:
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Blessed Sacrament. I love you above all things, and my soul sighs for You. But, as I cannot receive you now in the Blessed Sacrament, come, at least spiritually, to my heart. I embrace you as if you were already with me: I unite with You entirely. Ah! do not allow it to separate me from You again!