Chapter 1 and 2

 Chapter 1


Chapter 2


Pope Francis       

07.10.13   Holy Mass  Santa Marta

Jonah 1: 1-16  2: 1-11   Luke 10: 25-37 

Jonah 1: 1-16; 2: 1-11 He had his entire life in order; he served the Lord, perhaps he even prayed a great deal. He was a prophet, a good man and he did much good”. Yet “he didn’t want to be disturbed in the way of life he had chosen; when he heard the word of God he sought to escape. And he fled from God”. Therefore, when “the Lord sent him to Ninevah, he boarded a ship to Spain. He was fleeing from the Lord”.

In the end, Jonah had already written his own story: “I want to be like this, this and this, according to the commandments”. He did not want to be disturbed. This is why he fled from God. We, too, can be tempted to flee. We can run away from God, as a Christian, as a Catholic, and even “as a priest, bishop or Pope”. We can all flee from God. This is a daily temptation: not to listen to God, not to hear his voice, not to hear his promptings, his invitation in our hearts.

Although we may make a direct getaway, there are also more subtle and sophisticated ways of fleeing from God. Luke 10: 25-37.  A certain man, half dead, who had been thrown into the street. Now by chance a priest was going down that road. A good priest, in his cassock: good, very good. He saw him and looked: I'll be late for Mass, and he went on his way. He didn't hear the voice of God there. It was, different from Jonah’s escape, Jonah was clearly fleeing. Then a Levite passed by, he saw [the man half dead] and perhaps he thought: If I take care of him or go close to him, perhaps he is dead and tomorrow I’ll have to go to the judge to give testimony, and so he passed by on the other side. He was fleeing from the voice of God in that man.

It is curious to note that only a man “who habitually fled from God, a sinner”, the Samaritan, was the very one who “perceived the voice of God”. He “drew near” to the man. “He bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast. Oh how much time he lost: he brought him to an inn, and took care of him. He lost the whole evening!”. In the meantime, “the priest arrived in time for the Holy Mass and all the faithful were content. The next day, the Levite had a peaceful day and spent it just as he had planned” since he didn't have to go to the judge.

And why, did Jonah flee from God? Why did the priest flee from God? Why did the Levite flee from God?”. Because “their hearts were closed”. When your heart is closed you cannot hear the voice of God. Instead, it was a Samaritan on a journey “who saw” the wounded man and “had compassion. His heart was opened, he had a human heart. His humanity enabled him to draw near.

Jonah had a plan for his life: he wanted to write his own history well, according to God’s ways. But he was the one writing it, the same with the priest, the same with the Levite. However, “this other sinner allowed God to write the history of his life. He changed all his plans that evening” because the Lord placed before him “this poor, wounded man who had been thrown out onto the street”.

I ask myself and I also ask you: do we allow God to write the history of our lives or do we want to write it? This speaks to us of docility: are we docile to the Word of God? Yes, I want to be docile, but are you able to listen to his Word, to hear it? Are you able to find the Word of God in the history of each day, or do your ideas so govern you that you do not allow the Lord to surprise you and speak to you?”.

I am sure, that all of us today are saying ... the Priest and the Levite were selfish. It's true: the Samaritan, the sinner, did not flee from God!”. And so I ask that the “the Lord grant that we may hear his voice which says to us: Go and do likewise.


Chapter 3


Chapter 3


Pope Francis          

21.01.18  Holy Mass, Las Palmas Air Base, Lima, Peru      

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B       

Jonah 3: 1-5,10,      

Mark 1: 14-20 

“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you” (Jon 3:2). With these words the Lord spoke to Jonah and directed him to set out towards that great city, which was about to be destroyed for its many evils. In the Gospel, we also see Jesus setting out towards Galilee to preach the Good News (cf. Mk 1:14). Both readings reveal a God who turns his gaze towards cities past and present. The Lord sets out on a journey: to Nineveh, to Galilee, to Lima, to Trujillo and Puerto Maldonado… the Lord comes here. He sets out to enter into our individual, concrete histories. We celebrated this not long ago: he is Emmanuel, the God who wants to be with us always. Yes, here in Lima, or wherever you are living, in the routine of your daily life and work, in the education to hope that you impart to your children, amid your aspirations and anxieties; within the privacy of the home and the deafening noise of our streets. It is there, along the dusty paths of history, that the Lord comes to meet each of you.

Sometimes what happened to Jonah can happen to us. Our cities, with their daily situations of pain and injustice, can leave us tempted to flee, to hide, to run away. Jonah, and we, have plenty of excuses to do so. Looking at the city, we can start by saying that there are “citizens who find adequate means to develop their personal and family life – and that pleases us – yet the problem is the many “non-citizens”, “the half-citizens” or “urban remnants”[1]. They are found along our roadsides, living on the fringes of our cities, and lacking the conditions needed for a dignified existence. It is painful to realize that among these “urban remnants” all too often we see the faces of children and adolescents. We look at the face of the future.

Seeing these things in our cities and our neighbourhoods – which should be places of encounter, solidarity and joy – we end up with what we might call the Jonah syndrome: we lose heart and want to flee (cf. Jon 1:3). We become indifferent, and as a result, anonymous and deaf to others, cold and hard of heart. When this happens, we wound the soul of our people. As Benedict XVI pointed out, “the true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer… A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through ‘com-passion’ is a cruel and inhuman society”.[2]

After they arrested John, Jesus set out to Galilee to proclaim the Gospel of God. Unlike Jonah, Jesus reacted to the distressing and unjust news of John’s arrest by entering the city; he entered Galilee and from its small towns he began to sow the seeds of a great hope: that the Kingdom of God is at hand, that God is among us. The Gospel itself shows us the joy and the rippling effect that this brought about: it started with Simon and Andrew, then James and John (cf. Mk 1:14-20). It then passed through Saint Rose de Lima, Saint Turibius, Saint Martin de Porres, Saint Juan Macías, Saint Francisco Solano, down to us, proclaimed by that cloud of witnesses that have believed in him. It has come to us in order to act once more as a timely antidote to the globalization of indifference. In the face of that Love, one cannot remain indifferent.

Jesus invites his disciples to experience in the present a taste of eternity: the love of God and neighbour. He does this the only way he can, God’s way, by awakening tenderness and love of mercy, by awakening compassion and opening their eyes to see reality as God does. He invites them to generate new bonds, new covenants rich in eternal life.

Jesus walks through the city with his disciples and begins to see, to hear, to notice those who have given up in the face of indifference, laid low by the grave sin of corruption. He begins to bring to light many situations that had killed the hope of his people and to awaken a new hope. He calls his disciples and invites them to set out with him. He calls them to walk through to the city, but at a different pace; he teaches them to notice what they had previously overlooked, and he points out new and pressing needs. Repent, he tells them. The Kingdom of Heaven means finding in Jesus a God who gets involved with the lives of his people. He gets involved and involves others not to be afraid to make of our history a history of salvation (cf. Mk 1:15, 21). 


 Chapter 3



Pope Francis          

08.10.19  Holy Mass Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)

Jonah 3: 1-10  

The first liturgical reading of today (Jonah 3: 1-10 ), taken from the book of the prophet Jonah, continues the story that began yesterday, and which will end tomorrow, in which the conflicting relationship between God and Jonah is described.

In the previous passage we read that the Lord's first call was that he wanted to send the prophet to Ninevah to preach repentance to that city. But Jonah disobeyed the command and ran away from God, because that task was too difficult for him. He had then embarked for Tarshish, and during a storm aroused by the Lord he had been thrown overboard to calm the furious storm. A whale that swallowed him, threw him out on the shore after three days, an image that reminds us of Christ’s Resurrection on the third day.

In todays reading (Jonah 3: 1-10) there is the second call: God speaks to Jonah again and this time Jonah obeys God, goes to preach to the Ninevites who convert and God relents from punishing them. This time the "stubborn Jonah" did his job well and then he left.

Tomorrow we will see how the story ends and that Jonah is angry at the Lord because he is too merciful and because He does the opposite of what he had threatened to do.

Jonah scolds the Lord: "Lord, wasn't that what I said when I was in my country? This is why I fled at first to Tarshish. because I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, of great love, and that you reconsider threatened punishment. Therefore, Lord, take my life: I do not want to work with you anymore, because it is better for me to die than to live. It is better to die than to continue this work as a prophet with you, that in the end you do the opposite of what you sent me to do.

Saying this, Jonah goes out of the city and builds a hut from there waits to see what the Lord will do. Jonah hoped that God would destroy the city. The Lord then makes a gourd plant grow over the prophet to provide him shade. But soon God causes the plant to wither and die.

Jonah is once again outraged at God over the gourd plant. Do you have pity for a plant, the Lord tells him, for which you have made no effort and I should not have pity on a great city like Ninevah?

The heated exchange between the Lord and Jonah is between two hardheads.

Jonah is stubborn with his convictions of faith, and the Lord is stubborn in His mercy. He never leaves us, he knocks on the door of the heart till the end. He’s always there.

Jonah was stubborn because he put conditions on his faith. Jonah is the model of those Christians who always put conditions saying, "I am a Christian on condition that things are done this way." - " No, no, these changes are not Christian" - "This is heresy" - "This is not right" ...They are Christians who condition God, who condition the faith and the action of God.

It is this "as long as" that keeps so many Christians in their own ideas and end up in ideology: it is the bad path from faith to ideology. And today there are so many. These Christians are afraid: to grow up, to the challenges of life, of the challenges of the Lord, of the challenges of history, attached to their convictions, in their first convictions, in their own ideologies. They are Christians who prefer ideology to faith and distance themselves from the community, are afraid to put themselves in God's hands and prefer to judge everything, but from the smallness of their hearts.

The story of Jonah presents two figures of the Church today. The Church of those ideologues who squat in their own ideologies, there, and the church that shows the Lord who approaches all situations without disgust. Things do not disgust the Lord, our sins don’t disgust. He approaches as He approached to caress the lepers and the sick. Because He came to heal, He came to save, not to condemn.


 Chapter 3



Pope Francis          

21.01.24 Holy Mass, St Peter’s Basilica,  

Sunday of the Word of God  

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year B  

Jonah 3: 1-5,10  

Mark 1: 14-20

We have just heard that Jesus said to them: “Come, follow me… Immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Mk 1:17-18). The word of God has immense power, as we heard in the first reading:The word of God came to Jonah, saying: ‘Get up, go to Nineveh… and preach to them… So Jonah set out and went… according to the word of the Lord (Jon 3:1-3). The word of God unleashes the power of the Holy Spirit, a power that draws people to God, like those young fisherman who were struck by Jesus’ words, and sends others, like Jonah, towards those distant from the Lord. The word draws us to God and sends us to others. It draws us to God and sends us to others: that is how it works. It does not leave us self-absorbed, but expands hearts, changes courses, overturns habits, opens up new scenarios and discloses unthought-of horizons.

Brothers and sisters, that is what the word of God wants to do in each of us. As with the first disciples who, upon hearing the words of Jesus, left their nets and set out on a stupendous adventure, so too, on the shores of our life, beside the boats of our families and the nets of our daily occupations, that word makes us hear the call of Jesus. It calls us to set out with him for the sake of others. The word makes us missionaries, God’s messengers and witnesses to a world drowning in words, yet thirsting for the very word it so often ignores. The Church lives from this dynamic: called by Christ and drawn to him, she is sent into the world to bear witness to him. This is the dynamic within the Church.

We cannot do without God’s word and its quiet and unassuming power that, as if in a personal dialogue, touches the heart, impresses itself on the soul and renews it with the peace of Jesus, which makes us, in turn, concerned for others. If we look at the friends of God, the witnesses to the Gospel throughout history and the saints, we see that the word was decisive for each of them. We think of the first monk, Saint Anthony, who, struck by a passage of the Gospel while at Mass, left everything for the Lord. We think of Saint Augustine, whose life took a decisive turn when God’s word brought healing to his heart. We think of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, who discovered her vocation by reading the letters of Saint Paul. And we think too of the saint whose name I bear, Francis of Assisi, who, after praying, read in the Gospel that Jesus sent his disciples to preach and exclaimed: “That is what I want; that is what I ask, that is what I desire to do with all my heart!” (THOMAS OF CELANO, Vita Prima, IX, 22). Their lives were changed by the word of life, by the word of the Lord.

But I wonder: how is it that, for many of us, the same thing does not happen? We hear the word of God many times, yet it enters into one ear and goes out the other: why? Perhaps because, as those witnesses make clear, we need to stop being “deaf” to God’s word. This is a risk for all of us: overwhelmed by a barrage of words, we let the word of God glide by us: we hear it, yet we fail to listen to it; we listen to it, yet we don’t keep it; we keep it, yet we don’t let it provoke us to change. More than anything, we read it but we don’t pray with it, whereas “prayer ought to accompany the reading of sacred Scripture, so that it can become a dialogue between God and the reader” (Dei Verbum, 25). Let us not forget the two fundamental aspects of Christian prayer: listening to the word and worshiping the Lord. Let us make room for the prayerful reading of Jesus’ words. Then we will have the same experience as those first disciples. To go back to today’s Gospel, we see that two things happened after Jesus spoke: “they left their nets and followed him” (Mk 1:18). They left and they followed. Let us reflect briefly on these two things.

They left. What did they leave? Their boat and their nets, that is to say the life that they had been living until then. How often we struggle to leave behind our security, our routine, because these entangle us like fish in a net. Yet those who respond to the word experience healing from the snares of the past, because the living word gives new meaning to their lives and heals their wounded memory by grafting upon it the remembrance of God and his works for us. Scripture establishes us in goodness and reminds us who we truly are: children of God, saved and beloved. “The fragrant words of the Lord” (SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, Letter to the Faithful) are like honey, bringing flavour to our lives and making us taste the sweetness of God. They nourish the soul, banish fear and overcome loneliness.  Just as they led the disciples to leave behind the monotony of a life centred on boats and nets, so they renew our faith, purifying it, freeing it of dross and bringing it back to its origins, the pure wellspring of the Gospel. In recounting the wonderful things God has done for us, sacred Scripture releases a paralyzed faith and makes us savour anew the Christian life for what it truly is: a love story with the Lord.

The disciples thus left and then followed. In the footsteps of the Master, they moved forward. For Christ’s word not only liberates us from the burdens we bear, past and present; it also makes us mature in truth and in charity. It enlivens the heart, challenges it, purifies it from hypocrisy and fills it with hope. The Bible itself attests that the word is concrete and effective: “like the rain and the snow” for the soil (cf. Is 55:10-11), like a sharp sword that “lays bare the sentiments and thoughts of the heart” (Heb 4:12), and an imperishable seed (1 Pet 1:23) that, tiny and hidden, yet sprouts and bears fruit (cf. Mt 13). “Such is the force and power of the word of God: it imparts robustness to the faith of [the Church’s] sons and daughters, providing food for the soul and a pure and unfailing fount of spiritual life” (Dei Verbum, 21).

Brothers and sisters, may the Sunday of the Word of God help us to return with joy to the sources of our faith, which is born of listening to Jesus, the living Word of God. May it help us, barraged by words about the Church, to rediscover the word of life that resounds in the Church!  If not, we end up talking more about ourselves than about him, and so often we concentrate on our own thoughts and problems rather than on Christ and his word.  Let us return to the sources, in order to offer to the world the living water for which it yearns and does not find, and while society and social media reflect the violence of words, let us draw closer to, and cultivate, the quiet word of God that brings salvation, that is gentle, that does not make a loud noise and that enters into our hearts.

Finally, let us ask ourselves a few questions. What room do I make for the word of God in the place where I live? Amid so many books, magazines, televisions and telephones, where is the Bible? In my room, do I have the Gospel within easy reach? Do I read it daily in order to be faithful to my path in life? Do I carry a little copy of the Gospels so that I can read it? I have often spoken about always having the Gospel with us, in our pockets and purses, on our telephones. If Christ is dearer to me than anything else, how can I leave him at home and not bring his word with me? And one last question: Have I read through at least one of the four Gospels? The Gospel is the book of life. It is simple and brief, yet many believers have never even read one of the Gospels from beginning to end.

Brothers and sisters, God, the Scripture tells us, is “the author of beauty” (Wis 13:3). Let us allow ourselves to be conquered by the beauty that the word of God brings into our lives.

21.01.24 m