In a visit to a Roman parish Sunday, Pope Francis blamed family divisions on the devil, adding that the only cure is Jesus.
The Pope has renewed his regular circuit of visits to Roman parishes, this time greeting the faithful from the parish of St. Michael the Archangel. His reflections were inspired by the Bible readings for the day, especially the Gospel passage that recounts Jesus traveling around Galilee preaching, healing, and casting out demons.
As he has done on other occasions, the Pope insisted that the devil is still active in the modern world, sowing division and wrecking families.
“It’s sad,” Francis said, “when siblings in a family stop speaking to one another because of something stupid. The devil knows how to make mountains out of molehills.”
“Maybe there is someone I don’t speak to anymore. ‘He did that to me. Why should I speak to him?’ But this must be cured!” he said. “Pray and ask Jesus to heal you.”
“These enmities can go on, often for years, and it destroys the family,” Francis said. “Parents suffer because the children don’t speak to each other, or the wife of one son doesn’t speak to another, and then come jealousies and envies.”
“This is sown by the devil,” he said.
The Pope went on to say that Jesus is the only answer to this problem. “The only one who drives out demons is Jesus. The only one who heals these things is Jesus. So to each of you I say: let yourself be healed by Jesus,” he said.
“Everyone knows where the wound is,” Francis continued. “Each of us has them. And not only one, but two, three, four or twenty. Everyone knows! Jesus heals those wounds.”
“But in order for that to happen I have to open my heart so that He can come in. And how do I open my heart? By praying. ‘Lord, I can’t stand that person. I hate her. She did such-and-such to me. … Heal this wound, Lord.’ If we ask this grace from Jesus, He will do it. Let yourself be healed by Jesus. Let Jesus heal you.”
That’s what the life of Jesus was like, Francis said. “He went throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.”
“Let Jesus preach to you and let Him heal you,” he said. In this way you will also be able to preach to others and help heal their wounds. “But first I have to do it: let Him preach to me and heal me,” he said.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome.