Like every Wednesday, Pope Francis dedicated the first few minutes of the General Audience to greeting pilgrims and participating in customs that are now traditions – like drinking mate or exchanging calottes.
It's cold in Rome, so the catechesis is celebrated in the warmth of the Paul VI Audience Hall. The pope continued his series on the Mass, on this occasion, speaking about the penitential act. He explained whoever seeks forgiveness always finds it.
“Whoever is conscious of his or her own miseries and humbles his or her eyes, feels himself or herself be looked upon by the merciful eye of God. We know from experience that only he or she who recognizes his or her errors and asks for forgiveness receives the understanding and forgiveness of others.”
The Holy Father reminded that, although the penitential act is communal, each person confesses his or her own sins, as much in thought or word as in action or omission.
“Often, we feel good because we say, 'I haven't hurt anyone.' In reality, it's not enough to not hurt the neighbor. It's necessary to choose good, taking advantage of opportunities to show we are disciples of Jesus.”
Pope Francis also explained the errors committed against God and against brothers and sisters have consequences.
“It's good to highlight that we confess as much to God as to our brothers and sisters that we are sinners. This helps us understand the magnitude of the sin that separates us from God and also from our brothers and sisters and vice versa.”
To conclude, the pope urged pilgrims to follow the example of some figures in the Bible who, after having sinned, were able to recognize their errors and open themselves to God's mercy.