By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis has praised the heroism of nurses.

This International Nurses Day, May 12th, Pope Francis did so during his private daily Mass, streamed from his residence Casa Santa Marta, reported Vatican News.

At the start of the Mass during this global coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis prayed specifically for nurses, underscoring that more than just a profession, being a nurse “is a vocation.”

Nursing, he reminded, is a calling that, especially in this time of pandemic, is marked by heroism – even to the point of giving one’s life.

In his homily, the Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel, according to St John: “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you” (Jn 14:27), before distinguishing the peace the world gives and the peace given by Jesus gives.

This peace, the Pontiff underscored, is not “universal peace,” coming from the absence of war, but a “peace in the heart, peace in our souls, the peace we all have within.”

Jesus says in today’s Gospel, that his peace is not that of the world.

The world’s peace, the Argentine Pontiff observed, is that given by “the things that are superficially pleasing to me,” and is a “personal possession, something I have in isolation from others, something I keep for myself alone”.

Without realizing it, Francis suggested, this kind of peace can lull us into a sleepy tranquility, where we end up closed in on ourselves.

“It’s a bit selfish,” Pope Francis said.

Moreover, he said it’s also a “costly” peace, because those who seek it must always change what gives them that peace. “It is costly because it is temporary and sterile”.

Jesus’ peace, on the other hand, the Pope distinguished is rather different.

The Lord’s peace, he said, “makes you move. It doesn’t isolate you.”

The peace Jesus gives, he continued, leads you to reach out to others, “to create community and communication.”

While the peace the world gives exacts a huge toll, the peace Jesus gives is entirely free, a gift of the Lord.

Worldly peace, the Pontiff underscored, “doesn’t open the doors to the future, to heaven”, the Pope said, but is concerned only with oneself.

The peace Jesus gives, on the other hand, is always focused on the Lord.

It is a peace not just for today, but for the future: “It is to begin to live in heaven, with the fruitfulness of heaven.”

“Worldly peace,” Pope Francis observed, “can lull us to sleep like a drug… but we are constantly in need of another ‘dose.’ This worldly peace is limited, because it is always temporary; but the peace that Jesus gives, is definitive, fruitful, and infectious.”

Pope Francis concluded, praying: “May the Lord grant us this peace that gives hope, that creates community, and that looks to the definitive peace of paradise.”

The Masses in Francis’ chapel normally welcome a small group of faithful, but due to recent measures’ taken by the Vatican, are now being kept private, without their participation. The Holy Week and Easter celebrations in the Vatican were also done without the presence of faithful, but were able to be watched via streaming.

It was announced at the start of the lockdowns in Italy that the Pope would have these Masses, in this period, be available to all the world’s faithful, via streaming on Vatican Media, on weekdays, at 7 am Rome time, along with his weekly Angelus and General Audiences.

On May 4th, the country entered its so-called ‘Phase 2′, where it will slowly relaxing some of the lockdown restrictions.

Public Masses in Italy with the faithful will resume on Monday, May 18th, according to a statement of the Italian Bishops’ Conference. There will continue to be various safety measures in place, in order to protect the faithful.

In Italy where more than 30,000 people have died from COVID19, public Masses are still prohibited. To date, in the Vatican, there have been twelve cases of coronavirus in the Vatican, confirmed a recent statement from the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni.

The Vatican Museums are closed, along with the Vatican’s other similar museums. There have also been various guidelines implemented throughout the Vatican, to prevent the spread of the virus.

For anyone interested, the Pope’s Masses at Santa Marta can be watched live and can be watched afterward on Vatican YouTube. Below is a link to today’s Mass. Also, a ZENIT English translation of the Pope’s full homily is published below.

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FULL HOMILY [working translation by ZENIT’s Virginia Forrester] –

Before taking His leave, the Lord greeted His own and gave the gift of peace (Cf. John 14:27-31), the Lord’s peace: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (v. 27). It’s not about universal peace, that peace without wars, which we would always like to be, but peace of heart, peace of soul, the peace that each one of us has within us. And the Lord gives it, but He stresses: “not as the world gives it” (v. 27). How does the world give peace and how does the Lord give peace? Are they different peaces? Yes. The world gives you “interior peace,” we are talking about this, the peace of your life, your living with your “heart in peace.” It gives you interior peace as a possession of yours, as something that is yours and isolates you from others, it keeps you in yourself; it’s an acquisition of yours: I have peace. And, without realizing it, you shut yourself in that peace, it’s a peace that is a little for you, for one, for each one; it’s a peace alone, it’s a peace that makes you calm, also happy. And in this tranquillity, in this happiness you fall asleep a little, it anesthetizes you and makes you stay with yourself in a certain tranquillity. It’s somewhat selfish: peace for me; closed in me. That’s how the world gives it (Cf. v. 27). It’s a costly peace because you must continually change the “instruments of peace”: when something enthuses you, when something gives you peace, then it ends and you must find another . . . It is costly because it’s provisional and sterile.

Instead, the peace that Jesus gives is something else. It’s a peace that puts you in movement: it doesn’t isolate you, it puts you in movement, it makes you go to others, it creates community, it creates communication. That of the world is costly; that of Jesus is free, it’s gratis; it’s a gift of the Lord: the Lord’s peace. It’s fruitful; it always takes you forward. An example of the Gospel that makes me think how the peace of the world is, is that of the man who had his barns full and the harvest that year seemed to be plentiful and he thought: “But I will have to build larger barns, other granaries to store this and then I’ll be tranquil . . . it’s my tranquillity, with this I can live calmly.” “Fool,” says God, “you will die this night” (Cf. Luke 12:13-21). It’s an immanent peace, which doesn’t open the door of the beyond to you. Instead, the Lord’s peace is open, wherever He went, it’s open to Heaven, it’s open to Paradise.

I think it will help us to think a little: what is my peace; where do I find peace? In things, in wellbeing, in trips — but now, today one can’t travel — in possessions, in many things, or do I find peace as gift of the Lord? Do I have to pay for peace or do I receive it gratis from the Lord? How is my peace? Do I get angry when I lack something? This isn’t the Lord’s peace. This is one of the tests. Am I tranquil in my peace? Do I “fall asleep”? , it’s not of the Lord. Am I in peace and want to communicate it to others and take something forward? That’s the Lord’s peace! Does that peace stay with me also in awful, difficult moments? it’s of the Lord. And the Lord’s peace is fruitful for me too because it’s full of hope, namely, it looks to Heaven.

Yesterday — I’m sorry if I say these things but they are things of life that do me good — yesterday I received a letter from a priest, a very good, good priest, and he said to me that I speak little of Heaven, that I should speak more of it. And he’s right; he’s right. Therefore today I wish to stress this: that peace, this that Jesus gives us, is a peace for now and for the future. It’s to begin to live Heaven, with the fruitfulness of Heaven. It’s not anesthesia. The other is: you anesthetize yourself with the things of the world and when the dose of this anesthesia finishes, you take another, and another and another . . . is a definitive, fruitful and also infectious peace. It’s not narcissistic, because it always looks to the Lord. The other looks at you, it’s somewhat narcissistic.

May the Lord give us this peace full of hope, which makes us fruitful, which makes us communicative with others, which creates community and which always looks at the definitive peace of Paradise.

Pope Francis ended the celebration with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction. Before leaving the Chapel, dedicated to the Holy Spirit, the Marian antiphon Regina Caeli” was intoned, sung in Eastertide:

Regina caeli laetare, alleluia.

Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.

Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.

Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

(Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.

Christ, whom you bore in your womb, alleluia,

Is Risen as He promised, alleluia.

Pray for us to the Lord, alleluia).

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