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from issue no. 01/02 - 2012


“Jesus will give us strength. Not you, but Him in you”

Homily by His Eminence Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, during the Holy Mass in which he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation

Rome, 18 February 2012, Basilica of St Lawrence Outside the Walls

by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio during his homily in the Basilica of St Lawrence Outside the Walls [© Massimo Quattrucci]

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio during his homily in the Basilica of St Lawrence Outside the Walls [© Massimo Quattrucci]


First Reading (Is 43, 18-19. 21-22.24b-25)

From the book of the prophet Isaiah

Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers. The people whom I formed for myself, that they might announce my praise. Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob, for you grew weary of me, O Israel. Instead, you burdened me with your sins, and wearied me with your crimes. It is I, I, who wipe out, for my own sake, your offenses; your sins I remember no more.


Second Reading (2 Corinthians 1, 18-22)

From the Second Epistle of the apostle St Paul to the Corinthians

As God is faithful, our word to you is not “yes” and “no”. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not “yes” and “no,” but “yes” has been in him. For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory. But the one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us is God; he has also put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.


From the Gospel according to Mark (Mk 2, 1-12)

When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them. They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth” - he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.” He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this”.






In the prayer at the beginning of Mass we made an appeal to God the Father: “May your help, merciful Father, make us ever attentive to the voice of the Spirit”. We need the help of God to understand the voice of the Spirit, the newness of the Spirit. The Spirit is always new, always comes to renew. That’s what we heard in the first Reading, the prophecy: “I am doing something new”. So does God, so does the Spirit. So we ask God’s help to be attentive to the voice of the Spirit, to the new things.

Making everything new. The Gospel tells the story of the paralytic who was renewed by the power of the Spirit and of Jesus. The Spirit was in Jesus. Jesus is the one who sends the Spirit to renew everything. Jesus is the only one capable of starting everything anew, of beginning life again. Let us think about the life of this paralytic, the physical life, and also the inner life – because the Lord heals the soul first: “Your sins are forgiven”. Jesus has the power, with the strength of His Spirit, to renew the heart. We must have confidence in this. If we do not have confidence in the power of Jesus Christ as the only salvation, the only one who can make all things new, we are fake Christians. We are not true Christians.

Jesus does not force you to be a Christian. But if you say you are a Christian you must believe that Jesus has all the strength – the only one who has the strength – to renew the world, to renew your life, to renew your family, to renew the community, to renew everybody. This is the message that today we must take with us when asking the Father to make us attentive to the voice of the Spirit that does this work: the Spirit of Jesus

Today, following the invitation of my friend Don Giacomo, whom I treasure so much, and we all must pray for him, because he’s somewhat ill... Shall we all pray for him? Yes or no? I can’t hear anything ... If the prayer is like that, we’re done for... Shall we will pray for him? Yes!

The call for today is to perform these confirmations on you who come to receive the strength of the Spirit of God: believe in the power of the Spirit! It is the Spirit of Jesus. Believe in Jesus who sends you this Spirit – to you and all of us: He sends the Spirit to renew everything. You are not fake Christians, Christians only in name. You are Christians with your words, with your hearts, with your hands. Feel like Christians, talk like Christians and do the work of Christians. But you alone could not do it. It is Jesus who will give you this Spirit, will give you the strength to renew everything: not you, but Him in you.

And with this thought of Jesus who is the only salvation, the only one who brings us grace, who gives us peace, brotherhood, who gives us salvation, let us continue the celebration of this Mass with the recitation of the Creed, the profession of our faith.

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