Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Shine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in eastern Canada, near Quebec, and recalls that Jesus always walks with us to help us move beyond our failures toward hope in God.
By Devin Watkins
At the start of the fifth day of his Apostolic Journey to Canada, Pope Francis presided over Mass in the National Shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, some 30 kilometers east of Quebec.
The Pope traveled by car to the oldest pilgrimage site in North America, which was first built in 1658 to house a miraculous statue of Jesus’ grandmother.
In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the conclusion of Luke’s Gospel, which recounts the journey of the disciples to Emmaus and their encounter with Jesus, whom they did not initially recognize.
Failure along the way
The Pope said the disciples’ experience began with their distress and sadness at the apparent failure of Jesus’ plan but ended with the birth of a new hope, after Jesus accompanied them as a fellow traveler.
Like the disciples, we too can experience failure in our own spiritual journey when our plans fall through, when we give up on our high ideals due to our own inadequacies, or when we feel crushed by our sins.
Pope Francis said the Church community experiences similar setbacks when faced with “the scandal of evil and the violence that led to Calvary.”
Stuck in grief and remorse
The temptation in such moments of doubt and failure is to flee and seek refuge in grief and remorse.
However, said Pope Francis, the Gospel teaches us that Jesus comes to walk by our side at precisely those moments of failure and teaches us to read events in a new light.
He noted that the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré has been rebuilt three times, once after a devastating fire. Yet, the faithful of the area kept dreaming and set out again “with courage and creativity”.
Reconciliation and healing in Christ
Jesus, said Pope Francis, opens our eyes to the reality behind our perceived failures by breaking the bread and setting us back on the right path.
The answer lies in Jesus Himself, said the Pope, since He always comes to us to “show us the way to healing and reconciliation.”
Tender maternal love of Mary
Pope Francis encouraged the Church in Canada to look to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the other women of Easter morning who showed the disciples the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection.
“The tender maternal love of so many women can accompany us – as Church – towards new and fruitful times, leaving behind so much barrenness and death, and putting the crucified and risen Jesus back at the centre,” he said.
If we place Jesus back at the centre of our lives and faith, concluded Pope Francis, then we can be reconciled “with God, with others, and with ourselves” and become “instruments of reconciliation and peace within our societies.”
Source: Vatican News