Pope at mass in Canada: “Jesus leads us from failure to hope and healing”

Pope at mass in Canada: “Jesus leads us from failure to hope and healing”

Pope Francis celebrates mass at the Shine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in eastern Canada, near Quebec, reminding us that Jesus always walks with us to help us go beyond our mistakes towards hope in God.

By Devin Watkins

At the start of the fifth day of his apostolic journey to Canada, Pope Francis presided over Mass at the national shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, about 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 sermonreflected Pope Francis on the conclusion of Luke’s Gospel, which tells of the disciples’ journey to Emmaus and their encounter with Jesus, whom they initially did not recognize.

Pope Francis prays at mass




Pope Francis prays at mass

Errors 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.

“When our mistakes lead to an encounter with the Lord, life and hope are reborn and we are able to be reconciled: with ourselves, with our brothers and sisters and with God.”

Like the disciples, we too may experience failures on our own spiritual journey when our plans fall through, when we give up our high ideals because of our own inadequacies, or when we feel crushed by our sins.

Pope Francis said the church community is experiencing similar setbacks when faced with “the scandal of evil and violence that led to Golgotha”.

Catholics at mass in the shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré.




Catholics at mass in the shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré.

Stuck in grief and regret

The temptation in such moments of doubt and failure is to flee and take refuge in grief and regret.

“[Fleeing] is a temptation that comes from the enemy, who threatens our spiritual journey and that of the Church, because he wants us to believe that all our mistakes are now irreversible.”

But, Pope Francis said, the Gospel teaches us that Jesus comes to walk by our side in those very 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. Nevertheless, the believers in the area continued to dream and set out again “with courage and creativity”.

Priests celebrate the Pope's mass




Priests celebrate the Pope’s mass

Reconciliation and healing in Christ

Jesus, Pope Francis said, opens our eyes to the reality behind our perceived mistakes by breaking the bread and setting us back on the right path.

“What shall we do when we endure spiritual and material trials, when we seek the way to a more just and fraternal society, when we strive to recover from our disappointments and weariness, when we hope to be healed of past wounds and to be reconciled with God and with each other?”

The answer lies in Jesus himself, the Pope said, since he always comes to us to “show us the way to healing and reconciliation”.

Tender motherly love for Mary

Pope Francis urged the Church in Canada to look to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the other women on Easter morning who showed the disciples the truth about Jesus’ resurrection.

“The tender motherly love of so many women can accompany us – as a church – towards new and fruitful times, leaving behind so much barrenness and death, and putting the crucified and risen Jesus back at the center,” he said.

If we put Jesus back at the center of our lives and faith, Pope Francis concluded, then we can be reconciled “with God, with others and with ourselves” and become “instruments of reconciliation and peace in our societies”.

Full video of the Mass at the National Shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré

Video of the arrival at Quebec’s national shrine of Saint Anne de Beaupré

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