Pope Francis pleaded in his Mass at the Casa Santa Marta Thursday for “closeness” to the homeless and the victims of society’s other “hidden problems” in these days of COVID-19 “pain and sadness”.

The entrance antiphon for the Thursday of the fifth week of Lent, which the pontiff read at the beginning of today’s Mass, is an invitation to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, a hope that does not disappoint.

“For this reason [Christ] is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, because a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant” (Heb 9:15).

“These days of pain and sadness reveal so many hidden problems”

Introducing the celebration, Francis prayed especially for the homeless:

“These days of pain and sadness reveal so many hidden problems.

“In the newspaper today, there is a photo that strikes the heart: so many homeless people in a city lying in a parking lot, under observation… there are so many homeless people today.

“Let us ask Saint Teresa of Calcutta to awaken in us a sense of closeness to so many people who in society, in normal life, live hidden to us but, like the homeless, at the time of the crisis, stand out in this way”.

“We are Christians because we have been chosen”

In his homily, Francis commented on today’s readings, taken from the book of Genesis (Gn 17, 3-9) and from the Gospel of John (Jn 8, 51-59), that have as their centre the figure of Abraham, the covenant with God and the new announcement of Jesus who comes to “remake” creation by forgiving our sins.

“We are Christians… because we have been chosen, set apart and have received a promise of fruitfulness, to which we must respond faithfully. to the covenant.

“Our sins are against these three dimensions: not accepting the election by worshiping idols, not hoping in the promise, and forgetting the covenant”.

That the Christian way, he concluded, be that of being aware of the election, of the joy of going towards a promise and of fidelity in fulfilling the covenant.

(With information from Vatican News)

Novena’s coverage of the Pope’s Santa Marta Mass during COVID-19:

1/4: Francis asks in Santa Marta Mass for Christians “of tradition and novelty, free… never subject to ideologies and doctrines”

31/3: In Santa Marta Mass, Francis asks Church to shelter homeless from COVID-19

30/3: Pope warns in Santa Marta Mass: “God does not forgive the corrupt”

29/3: Francis prays at Santa Marta Mass for “the many people weeping” due to COVID-19

28/3: COVID-19: In Santa Marta Mass, Pope deplores people hungry, families in need due to pandemic

23/3: Pope prays in Santa Marta Mass for economic victims of COVID-19, urges “perseverance and courage”


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.