By Deborah Castellano Lubov

Pope Francis again today offered his private daily Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta for the victims of Coronavirus, praying today especially for families during this time of quarantine.

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.

It was announced in recent days 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.

This comes at a time too when the Italian bishops’ conference has canceled public Masses throughout the nation, until at least April 3rd, following guidelines put out by Italian authorities. The entire country is on lockdown.

Again during today’s Mass, the Holy Father expressed his closeness to those suffering, the elderly, and all those working to contain and cure the virus.

In his homily, the Holy Father commented on today’s readings from the Book of Kings (2 Kings 5:1-15 and Luke’s Gospel (Luke4: 24-30), reported Vatican News.

“I am thinking of families who are cooped up,” the Holy Father began his homily saying.

While lamenting the seriousness of the virus, Francis looked on the bright side: “It’s a beautiful opportunity to creatively rediscover affection.”

“May the Lord,” he prayed,” help them to discover new ways, new expressions of love, of living together in this new situation.”

He invited faithful watching him via streaming to join him in praying “for families so that the relationships within the family at this moment might flourish always for the good.”

In addition to Santa Marta, the Vatican is taking other steps to discourage crowds and keep people safe. They are televising the Pope giving privately, from the papal library, his weekly Angelus and General Audience addresses.

Moreover, the Vatican Museums are now 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.

To date, one person, an external visitor, has been tested positive for Coronavirus in the Vatican. The five people the individual had contact with, are being quarantined.

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 can be read below:

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FULL HOMILY

In the both texts that the Liturgy has us meditate on today there is an attitude that draws our attention, a human attitude, but not of a good spirit: anger. The people of Nazareth began to listen to Jesus, they liked the way He spoke, but then someone said: “But in what University has He studied? He is the son of Mary and Joseph; He’s been a carpenter! What is He coming to say to us?” And the people scorned Him. They became indignant (Cf. Luke 4:28). And this anger led them to violence. And that Jesus they admired at the beginning of the preaching, they chased out to throw down from the hill (Cf. v. 29).

Also Naaman — Naaman was a good man, open to faith –, but when the prophet sent him to bathe seven times in the Jordan, he was angry. But why? “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage” (2 Kings 5:11-12) — with anger.

Also in Nazareth there were good people. However, what was behind these good people that lead them to this attitude of anger? And worse at Nazareth: to violence. Both the people of the Synagogue as well as Naaman thought that God manifested Himself only in the extraordinary, in things outside of the common; that God couldn’t act in the common things of life, in simplicity. They disdained the simple. They disdained; they scorned simple things. And our God makes us understand that He always acts in simplicity: in simplicity, in the house of Nazareth, in the simplicity of every day work, in the simplicity of prayer . . . simple things. Instead, the worldly spirit leads us to vanity, to appearances . . . and both end up in violence. Naaman was very educated, but he slams the door in the prophet’s face and goes away. Violence, it was a gesture of violence. The people of the Synagogue begin to get angry, to get angry and they take the decision to kill Jesus, but unconsciously, and they chase Him out to throw Him down. Anger is an awful temptation and leads to violence.

A few days ago, they made me see on a mobile phone the film of the door of a building that was in quarantine. There was a person, a young man who wanted to go out. And the guard told him he couldn’t. And he punched him, with anger, with scorn. “But who are you, ‘negro,’ to impede me from going out?” Anger is the attitude of the proud, but of the proud . . . with a terrible poverty of spirit, proud people that live only with the illusion of being more than they are. The people that get angry are a “spiritual class”: in fact, often these people need to get angry, to be indignant, to feel themselves a person.

This can also happen to us: the “Pharisaic scandal,” theologians call it, namely, to scandalize me with things that are God’s simplicity; the simplicity of the poor, the simplicity of Christians, as if to say: “But this isn’t God. No, no. Our God is more cultured; He is wiser, He is more important. God can’t act in this simplicity.” And anger always leads one to violence, either to physical violence or to the violence of gossip, which kills as does the physical.

Let us think of these two passages: the anger of the people in the Synagogue of Nazareth and Naaman’s anger, because they didn’t understand the simplicity of our God.

[ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ full homily at Santa Marta]

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