(Vatican Radio) Tuesday of Holy Week was marked in the Vatican by morning mass presided by Pope Francis in the chapel of Casa Sancta Marta. Holy See press office director Fr. Lombardi has informed press that the Pope has decided to stay at the residence close to the Paul VI audience hall for now. Pope Francis has moved into a larger apartment and goes each day to the Apostolic Palace for work. Tuesday mornings congregation was composed of guests currently lodging at the residence along with the Holy Father.
Commenting on the Gospel of the day, John Chapter 13, which recounts Judas’ betrayal of Christ, the Pope noted “everyone experiences the dark night of the sinner”, but Jesus “has an embrace” for us all.
Pope Francis’s brief reflection comes from this comment on the atmosphere: the night envelops Judas, he noted, it also envelops his heart. It is the worst kind of night, the “night of the corrupt”, a “definitive night, when the heart has closed in on itself” in a way that it “does not know how, does not want to” escape from.
He continued, the “nighttime of the sinner” is different, it is “temporary” and it is a night with which “we are all familiar”. How many days of this nighttime “have we known”, how many times has night fallen and cast our hearts in darkness.
Pope Francis said, it is at these times that hope appears and pushes us towards a new encounter with Jesus. “Do not be afraid”, he reiterated, “of this nighttime of the sinner”. The most beautiful thing is to name the sin,” confess our sins, and thus experience along with St. Paul who said that his glory was “Christ crucified in his sins. Why? Because he, in his sins, found Christ crucified who forgave him”.
Pope Francis then focused on the reality of forgiveness – or according to today’s liturgy – “tasting the sweetness of forgiveness”.
“In the middle of the ‘night’, the many ‘nights’, the many sins that we commit, because we are sinners, there is always – he assured – the embrace of the Lord” that helps us say, “This is my glory. I am a poor sinner, but You are my Savior. ” Recalling the look with which Jesus forgave Peter after his denial, the Pope concluded by inviting everyone to “open their hearts and taste the sweetness of forgiveness”: “We think of how nice it is to be saints, but also how nice it is to be forgiven (…) We trust in this encounter with Jesus “and” sweetness of his forgiveness. “