In his homily at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis said that darkness in ones hearts separates people from others and from God, leading to a life of pain and desolation. He said filling life with outside consolations or trying to escape from reality, leads to inner torture.
'Those who do not know the caress of the Lord does not know Christian doctrine! Those who refuse to be caressed by the Lord is lost! This is the Good News. This is the sincere joy that we want today. This is the joy, this is the consolation that we seek: the coming of the Lord in His power, which are His caresses, to visit us, to save us, just as He would for a lost sheep to bring it into the fold of His Church.â?
The pope said the Good News of Christmas asks Christians to share in the sincere gladness and comfort of the Lord, which has the power to change the heart and heal inner division.
EXTRACTS OF PAPAL HOMILY
'The lost sheep who is the most perfect in the Gospel of Judas, of a man who always, always had something bitter in soul, words in which to criticize others, always detached. He did not know the sweetness of gratitude to live in harmony with everyone else. Always, because he was not satisfied with this sheep - Judas was not a happy man! - He escaped. He ran away because he was a thief, which became a part of him. Some are lustful, others are ... But there are always escapees because of the darkness in their hearts, which separates them from the herd. And 'that double life, the double life of many Christians, even with pain, we can say, priests, bishops ... And Judas was a bishop, he was one of the first bishops, eh? The lost sheep. The poor man! This poor man's brother named Fr. Mazzolari, says in that sermon something so beautiful: 'Brother Jude, what has happened in your heart?' We need to understand the lost sheep. Also we always have a little something in us, little or not so little, like the lost sheep.'
'There is a word in the Bible - the Lord is good, even for these sheep who never stop to look for Him. There is one word that says that Judas hanged himself, hung and 'repented'. I believe that the Lord will take that word and will bring with it, I do not know, but perhaps that word makes us doubt. But that word means what? That until the end, the love of God was working in that soul, until the moment of despair. And this is the attitude of the Good Shepherd with the lost sheep. This is the message, the Good News that brings us to Christmas and asks us to share in this sincere gladness that changes the heart, which leads us to take comfort in the Lord, and not the consolations that we use to try to let off steam, or to escape from reality, escape from the inner torture, the interior division.'
'Those who do not know the caress of the Lord does not know Christian doctrine! Those who refuse to be caressed by the Lord is lost! 'This is the Good News. This is the sincere joy that we want today. This is the joy, this is the consolation that we seek: the coming of the Lord in His power with His caresses, to visit us, to save us, just as He would for a lost sheep to bring him into the fold of His Church. May the Lord give us this grace, to wait for Christmas with our wounds and with our sins sincerely acknowledged in order to wait for the power of God who comes to console, who comes with power, but power in tenderness, and in caresses that were born from His heart, His heart so good that He gave his life for us.'