The daily readings at Mass at Casa Santa Marta Tuesday morning gave Pope Francis the opportunity to dwell on the power of intercessory prayer. The readings spoke of Jesus taking leave of his disciples and St. Paul taking leave of the Christian community to return to Jerusalem.
The people are saddened by St. Paul’s departure from Miletus as were the disciples when Jesus took his leave of them before "going to Gethsemane and beginning His Passion". The Pope noted that the Lord consoles them and "there is a small sentence of dismissal …that makes one think".
Jesus speaks to the Father in this discourse, and says, “I pray for them”, the Pope recounted. Jesus prays for us, he stressed, “as he had prayed for Peter and for Lazarus before the tomb."
“Jesus tells us: ‘You are all of the Father. And I pray for you before the Father.’ Jesus does not pray for the world, he prays for us, he prays for the Church,” Francis said.
"The apostle John, thinking about these things and speaking of us, who are great sinners, says, 'Do not sin, but if any of you do sin, know that we have an advocate before the Father, one who prays for us, defends us in front Father, justifies us'. I believe we should really think about this truth, about this reality: Jesus is praying for me right now. I can go on in life because I have an advocate who defends me and if I am guilty and I have so many sins ... he is a good defense attorney and will speak of me to the Father".
He is the “first advocate” and then sends the Paraclete, the Pope stressed, adding that when we encounter problems or needs in the parish, at home, in the family, we must ask Jesus to pray for us. The Pope then asked: “How does Jesus pray? I don’t believe he talks too much with the Father.
"He doesn’t talk: He loves. But there is one thing that Jesus does today, I'm certain he does this. He shows his wounds to the Father, and Jesus, with his wounds, prays for us as if to say to the Father: 'But, Father, this is the price of these! Help them, protect them. They are your children whom I have saved with these'.
“Otherwise, why after the Resurrection did Jesus not have this glorious body, beautiful - with no bruises, no wounds from the scourging, everything nice? - but there were wounds. The Five Wounds. Why did Jesus want to bring them to heaven? Why? To pray for us. To show the price [he paid] to the Father: 'This is the price, now do not abandon them. Help them'".
"We must have this faith,” Pope Francis said, “that right now Jesus intercedes before the Father for us, for all of us". And when we pray, he added, we must not forget to ask Jesus to pray for us: "'Jesus, pray for me. Show the Father your wounds that are mine too, they are the wounds of my sin. They are the wounds of my problem at this moment in time'.
"Jesus the intercessor only has to show the Father his wounds. And this is happening today, at this very moment. Look at the words that Jesus said to Peter, 'Peter, I will pray for you that your faith may not fail'".
"We are confident that he is doing this for everyone,” the Pope said in closing. “We must have faith in this prayer of Jesus with his wounds before the Father."