Pope Francis said Monday that the Church can trust in the mercy and justice of God.
“Each of us has our own stories. Each of us has our own sins. And if you do not remember them, think a little: you will find them,” Pope Francis said March 30 in his daily Mass broadcast.
“Let us look to the Lord who acts with justice, but is very merciful. Let us not be ashamed of being in the Church: let us be ashamed of being sinners. The Church is the mother of all,” he said.
In his homily, the pope compared the lives and circumstances of two women described in the day’s Mass readings: Susanna and the woman caught in adultery.
The first reading from the Book of Daniel describes a “beautiful and God-fearing woman”, Susanna, who is falsely accused of infidelity by two elders and ultimately justified after Daniel’s examination of the deceitful old men.
The Gospel of John describes an encounter between Jesus and a woman charged by the scribes and Pharisees of committing adultery. Jesus said to the Pharisees: “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her,” and then to the woman: “Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”
Pope Francis said: “The innocent and the sinner. The Fathers of the Church saw a figure of the Church in these women: holy, but with sinful children."
“Both women were in a dark valley … one fell into the hands of hypocrites and the other into the hands of the corrupt," he said.
Francis noted that both women, the innocent and the sinner, faced a death sentence. The woman accused by the corrupt was “an innocent woman, falsely accused, slandered,” while the one condemned by hypocrites was a sinful woman.
“What does the Lord do with these people? To the innocent woman, he saves her, he brings justice. To the sinful woman, he forgives her. To the corrupt judges, he condemns them; to the hypocrites, he helps them to convert,” the pope said.
“In the first case, the people praise the Lord; in the second case, the people learn what God's mercy is like,” he said.
Francis said that the corrupt put themselves in the place of God and “were unable to ask for forgiveness.”
“May each one of us, seeing how Jesus acted in these cases, entrust ourselves to God's mercy and pray, trusting in God's mercy, asking forgiveness” the pope said.
In his livestreamed Mass from the chapel in his Vatican City residence, Casa Santa Marta, the pope prayed for people who are paralyzed by fear because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“May the Lord help them to stand up, to act for the good of all society, of the whole community,” he said.
“Because God guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley -- the valley of sin -- I fear no harm for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage,” Pope Francis said at the end of his homily.