HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
Mass with survivors of Supertyphoon “Yolanda”
Daniel Z. Romualdez International Airport, Tacloban City
17 January 2015
(Delivered originally in Spanish)
We have a high priest who is capable of sympathizing with our weakness but one who is seemingly being tested in every way, yet without sin. Jesus is like us. Jesus lived like us. He is the same as us in every respect, except sin, because he was not a sinner. He assumed our condition and our sin. He made himself unto sin. This is what St. Paul tells us and Jesus always goes before us.
And when we pass an experience across, he passed there before us. And if today we find ourselves 14 months afterwards here,14 months precisely after Typhoon Yolanda hit, it is because we have the security of knowing we are not going to weaken in our faith, because Jesus has been there before us. In his passion he assumed all our pain.
I would like to tell you something close to my heart: When I saw from Rome that catastrophe I felt that I had to be here. And on those very days I decided to come here I’m here to be with you. A little bit late, I have to say, but I’m here. I come to tell you that Jesus is Lord and he never lets us down.
Father, you might say to me, “I was let down because I have lost some many things, house, livelihood; I have illness.” It’s true if you would say that and I respect those sentiments. But Jesus there, nailed to the cross, and from there he does not let us down. He was consecrated as Lord on that throne and there he experienced all calamities that we experienced.
Jesus is Lord and the Lord from the cross, he’s there for you. Therefore he is capable of understanding us – as we heard in the first reading – in everything, the same as us. That is why we have a Lord who is capable of crying with us, capable of walking with us in the most difficult moments of life.
So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you, but the Lord does know what to say to you. Some of you lost part of your families. All I can do is keep silent, and I walk with you all with my silent heart. Many of you have asked the Lord, “Why, Lord?” And to each of you, to you heart, Christ responds from his heart upon the cross.
I have no more words to tell you. Let us look to Christ. He is the Lord. He understands us because he underwent all the trials that we, that you, have experienced. And beside the cross was his mother; we are like this little child just there. In the moments when we have so much pain, when we no longer understand anything, all we can do is grab hold of her hand firmly and say, “Mom,” as a child does to her mother, when he or she feels fear. It is perhaps the only word that we can say in such difficult times: Mother, mom.
Let us together hold a moment of silence. Let us look to the Christ on the cross. He understands us because he endured everything. Let us look to our mother and, like that little child, let us grab hold of her mantle and with a true heart, say, “Mother.” In the silence say to the mother what you say to your hearts.
(Moment of silence)
Let us know that we have a Mother Mary and a senior brother, a great brother, Jesus. We are not alone. We also have many brothers who, in this moment of catastrophe, came to help you. And we, too, because of this we feel more brothers and sisters, because we helped each other.
This is what comes from my heart and forgive me if I have no other words to express this. But please know Jesus never lets you down, please know that the love and tenderness of Mother Mary never lets you down, and holding on to [Mother Mary’s] mantle, and with the power that comes from Jesus’ love on the cross, lets us move forward, always forward and walk together as brothers and sisters in the lord, forward.
Thank you very much. (MNS)