Today is Pope Francis’ 77th birthday, and the Vatican has already received congratulations from heads of state and diplomatic delegations, as well as ordinary people, from all over the world. After morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta chapel, Pope Francis invited some unusual guests to join him for breakfast: four homeless men.
This morning, Pope Francis requested that Mass be celebrated in the Santa Marta chapel with the staff of the guesthouse, in order to celebrate in a “family” environment. Today’s Gospel, rich in the names of Jesus’ ancestors, offered the Pope the opportunity to mention the names of several of the staff present during his homily. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, representing the College of Cardinals, concelebrated with the Pope, who also received congratulations from Secretary of State Archbishop Pietro Parolin on behalf of all his collaborators at the Secretariat of State.
The Almoner of His Holiness, Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, when offering his congratulations to the Pope, was accompanied by four homeless people from the area near the Vatican. The Holy Father invited them all to dine with him in the Domus Santa Maria refectory.
From Catholic News Agency’s summary of Pope Francis’ morning homily:
Pope Francis then acknowledged that the genealogy of Jesus found in today’s gospel may seem unexciting at first glance, but actually contains a very important truth.
“One time I heard someone say: ‘But this bit of the gospel seems like a telephone directory!’ But no, it’s quite another thing. This passage of the gospel is pure history.”
Just as Jesus “is consubstantial” with God the Father, he takes the origin of his humanity from “his mother, a woman,” explained the Pope. The ancestry provided in the gospel then demonstrates Jesus’ human place in history.
“God did not want to come to save us without history. He wanted to make history with us.”
This history is not a perfect one: in the list of Jesus’ ancestors, Pope Francis said, “there are saints… but in this list there are also sinners.”
Despite the sinfulness of human beings, “God has put himself in history! He is with us. He has made the journey with us,” encouraged the Pontiff.
The Holy Father’s birthday celebrations are not limited to today; over the weekend he blew out candles on a cake presented to him during a visit with children from a pediatric hospital in Rome, and on Friday he is expected to attend a concert in his honor at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs. According to Vatican Information Services, “The repertory will include the ‘Misa Criolla,’ by the Argentine composer Ariel Ramirez, one of the Pope’s favourite works, which will be performed by the Basilica’s Schola Cantorum choir using popular Argentine instruments, and with the participation of the Chilean soprano Macarena Valenzuela.”
If you value the news and views Catholic World Report provides, please consider donating to support our efforts. Your contribution will help us continue to make CWR available to all readers worldwide for free, without a subscription. Thank you for your generosity!