Referring to Isaiah’s prophecy that one would come to “bring sight to the blind,” the pope noted that the restoration of sight is something new that came with Christ.
“It is striking that throughout the Bible, before Christ, the healing of a blind man never appears, never. It was indeed a promised sign that would come with the Messiah,” he said.
The light that Christ brings, he said, is one of a relationship with God.
“He brings us the light of sonship: He is the beloved Son of the Father, living forever; with him we too are children of God loved forever, despite our mistakes and faults,” the pope said.
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At ACI Africa, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news from Africa, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church - so that you can grow in your Catholic faith.
When you subscribe to the ACI Africa Updates, we will send you a daily email with links to the news you need.
Use the form below to stay informed, and to tell us where we can send the ACI Africa Updates!
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Pope Francis devoted the majority of his catechesis to the subject of “healing,” particularly healing from guilt and the burdens of sin.
“Jesus says he came ‘to set at liberty those who are oppressed,’” the pope said.
“The oppressed are those in life who feel crushed by something that happens: sickness, labors, burdens on the heart, guilt, mistakes, vices, sins.”
“We think of the sense of guilt, for example. How many of us have suffered this?” the pope asked.
“But the good news is that with Jesus, this ancient evil, sin, which seems invincible, no longer has the last word,” he said.
“Those who carry burdens need a caress for the past. So many times we hear, ‘But I would need to heal my past,’” he said.
“Brothers, sisters, do not forget: God forgets everything. How so? Yes, he forgets all our sins. That he forgets. That’s why he has no memory. God forgives everything because he forgets our sins. Only he wants us to draw near to the Lord and he forgives us everything,” the pope continued.
Pope Francis greets pilgrims at his general audience in Paul VI Hall on Jan. 25, 2023. Credit: Vatican Media
When Jesus says he came “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:19), the pope explained, he was declaring a “jubilee” — but “not a scheduled jubilee” such as we have today.
“Christ is the Jubilee of every day, every hour, drawing you near, to caress you, to forgive you,” he said.
This new reality or “grace” should be received with an attitude of wonder, he said.
“The proclamation of Jesus must always bring the amazement of grace. This amazement… ‘No, I can’t believe it! I have been forgiven.’ But this is how great our God is. Because it is not we who do great things, but rather the grace of the Lord who, even through us, accomplishes unexpected things.
“And these are the surprises of God. God is the master of surprises. He always surprises us, is always waiting, waits for us. We arrive, and he has been expecting us. Always. The Gospel comes with a sense of wonder and newness that has a name: Jesus.”
The pope added that the “good news” Jesus shares in his proclamation is addressed to “the poor” and that all Christians must become poor to encounter Christ.
“You have to overcome any pretense of self-sufficiency in order to understand oneself to be in need of grace, and to always be in need of him.
“If someone tells me, ‘Father, what is the shortest way to encounter Jesus?’ Be needy. Be needy for grace, needy for forgiveness, be needy for joy. And he will draw near to you,” the pope said in concluding his catechesis.
The pope’s general audience message was the third in a new weekly series of catechesis, or teachings, on evangelization and apostolic zeal.
Following his remarks, the Holy Father noted that the International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be observed Jan. 27.
“In remembrance of that extermination of millions of Jewish people and people of other faiths that must neither be forgotten nor denied. There can be no sustained commitment to building fraternity together without first dispelling the roots of hatred and violence that fueled the horror of the Holocaust,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded with a prayer for Ukraine.
“In our thoughts and prayers, may the tormented Ukraine, so much afflicted, not be absent,” he said. “This morning I had a meeting with the leaders of the different confessions of faith that are in Ukraine — all united — and they told me about the pain of that people. Let us never forget, every day, to pray for definitive peace in Ukraine.”