Celebrating Mass in splendor at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in eastern Canada, near Quebec, Pope Francis recalls that Jesus always walks with us to help us overcome our failures and hope in God.
By Devin Watkins
At the beginning of the fifth day of his apostolic journey to Canada, Pope Francis celebrated Mass at the national shrine of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, about 30 kilometers east of Quebec.
The Pope traveled by car to North America’s oldest pilgrimage site, first built in 1658 to house a miraculous statue of Jesus’ grandmother.
In his sermonPope Francis reflected on the conclusion of the Gospel of Luke, which tells of the journey of the disciples to Emmaus and their encounter with Jesus, whom they did not recognize at first.
failure along the way
The pope said the disciples’ experience began with their despair and sadness at the apparent failure of Jesus’ plan, but ended with the birth of a new hope after Jesus accompanied them as a fellow traveler.
Like the disciples, we too can fail in our own spiritual journey when our plans fail, when we abandon our high ideals because of our own shortcomings, or when we feel weighed down by our sins.
Pope Francis said the communion experiences similar setbacks when faced with “the scandal of evil and violence that led to Calvary.”
Trapped in sorrow and regret
The temptation in such moments of doubt and failure is to flee and take refuge in sadness and regret.
However, said Pope Francis, the gospel teaches us that Jesus comes by our side at precisely these moments of failure and teaches us to see events in a new light.
He noted that the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré basilica was rebuilt three times, once after a devastating fire. But the believers in the area kept dreaming and set out “with courage and creativity”.
Reconciliation and Healing in Christ
Jesus, Pope Francis said, opens our eyes to the reality behind our perceived flaws by breaking bread and putting us back on the right path.
The answer lies within Jesus himself, the Pope said, since he always comes to us “to show us the way to healing and reconciliation”.
Tender maternal love of Mary
Pope Francis encouraged the Church in Canada to look to the Virgin Mary and the other women of Easter morning who showed the disciples the truth about Jesus’ resurrection.
“The tender maternal love of so many women can accompany us—as a church—into a new and fruitful time, putting behind so much barrenness and death and putting Jesus crucified and risen back center stage,” he said.
If we put Jesus back at the center of our life and faith, Pope Francis concluded, then we can be reconciled “with God, with others and with ourselves” and become “instruments of reconciliation and peace in our societies”.