This wasn't your average Mass. Cardinals from all over the world, met in St. Peter's Basilica just a day after Pope Francis added 20 new cardinals to the Catholic Church.
In his homily, the Pope reflected on the Gospel passage where Jesus heals a leper by simply touching him, without fear of being infected Himself. The Pope insinuated that even today, there are some who are scandalized when the Church lends a helping hand.
"This shocks some people. But Jesus is not afraid of this kind of scandal! He does not think of the closed-minded who are scandalized even by healings. Those who are scandalized before any kind of openness, by any action outside of their mental and spiritual boxes, by any caress or sign of tenderness which does not fit into their usual thinking and their ritual purity.”
The Pope then called on Cardinals to not be afraid of caring for the sick of body and spirit. He highlighted that the Church shouldn't be afraid of offending those who have set ideas of who and how to help others.
"I encourage you to serve the Church in such a way, that Christians, who find strength in your testimony, are not tempted to be with Jesus while pushing aside the marginalized, isolating themselves in a caste that has no connection to the ecclesial authenticity of the Church.”
Cardinals, he added, should make an effort to include the marginalized in society and above all else, in the Church.
"The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for eternity. Rather to pour out the balm of God’s mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart.”
Towards the end of his homily, the Pope called on Cardinals to be strong before criticism and understanding before human frailty. The credibility of the Church, he said, depends on how Christians treat and serve the marginalized.