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Pope celebrates Divine Mercy: We risk being struck by a worse virus, selfish indifference

The pope left the Vatican in the middle of the pandemic to celebrate a special occasion: Divine Mercy Sunday. He celebrated Mass at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Sassia, a few yards from St. Peter's Basilica.

John Paul II entrusted to this Roman shrine the responsibility of promoting the devotion to the Divine Mercy in the Eternal City. In the year 2000, he canonized Faustina Kowalska, known as the person who spread this devotion in the first half of the 20th century.

Pope Francis celebrated Mass with only his most essential collaborators. In his homily, he took up the ideas he had preached so strongly during the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy in 2016.

God wants us to see Him, not as a taskmaster with whom we have to settle accounts, but as our Father who always raises us up.

During the Mass, the pope reflected on humanity's response to the pandemic. He expressed his hope for solidarity between countries, so they could help one another overcome the health emergency.

The risk is that we may then be struck by an even worse virus, that of selfish indifference. A virus spread by the thought that life is better if it is better for me, and that everything will be fine if it is fine for me. It begins there and ends up selecting one person over another, discarding the poor, and sacrificing those left behind on the altar of progress.

That's why he said there is a lesson to be learned from the health emergency: no one is invulnerable, and everyone needs help.

The present pandemic however, reminds us that there are no differences or borders between those who suffer. We are all frail, all equal, all precious. May we be profoundly shaken by what is happening all around us. The time has come to eliminate inequalities, to heal the injustice that is undermining the health of the entire human family. Let us learn from the early Christian community described in the Acts of the Apostles.

This is the same idea he emphasized on the evening of extraordinary prayer for the end of the pandemic. It was an occasion on which the pope prayed in solitude, beneath the rain, before an empty St. Peter's Square.

This was the second time Pope Francis left the Vatican since the quarantine was decreed. On the first occasion, he went to the Church of San Marcello to pray before the miraculous crucifix. He prayed for those affected by the coronavirus and for an end to the pandemic.

Javier Romero
Translation: Claudia Torres