Homily at the Final Mass of the Apostolic Visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines
On January 18, 2015 Pope Francis finished his Apostolic Visit to the Philippines by celebrating a final Mass in Manila. His focus for the homily was the image of the Holy Child Jesus. It is this child who “reminds us of our deepest identity” as children of God, he said.
Pope Francis spoke about the calling as God’s children to be witnesses to His truth and justice, noting sadly that “through sin, man has also destroyed the unity and beauty of our human family.” Because of this, “we are tempted to give up. It seems that the promises of the Gospel do not apply; they are unreal.” But this is the message of the devil, not of the Father. The devil is the one who wants us to be “modern” and “like everyone else.” Pope Francis says that sin is when we forget that we are God’s children.
The Holy Child is also a sign, Pope Francis declared, that our identity as children must be protected. As the Baby Jesus was threatened by Herod and needed an earthly protector in St. Joseph, He reminds us that we must also protect our families, the family of the Church and the whole human family. The Holy Father noted, “Sadly, in our day, the family all too often needs to be protected against insidious attacks and programs contrary to all that we hold true and sacred, all that is most beautiful and noble in our culture.”
Children and young people must be welcomed as Jesus showed in Mark 10:16. Pope Francis reminded the people to “see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished and protected” in light of the fact that “It was a frail child, in need of protection, who brought God’s goodness, mercy and justice into the world.”
As always, the Pope asked the people to continue to pray for him!