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Don't finish your lives in sin, Pope tells parishioners

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Pope Francis celebrated Mass and delivered a homily Sunday evening at the parish of St. Gregory the Great, just south of the city of Rome, in a diocesan parish visit. The Holy Father's message was one of learning to detach from sin through the power of Christ's grace, which brings healing and forgiveness. “All of us, we are sinners, but let’s not finish our lives attached to sin. We have the power to feel that which Jesus said to Lazarus, crying out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ Today I invite you to think for a minute here in silence… ‘where is the dead part of my soul? Where is my tomb?,’” the Pope pointedly asked the congregation at St. Gregory. “Take the stone in your heart, and allow the Lord to do what he says, as he said to Lazarus, ‘come forth!’ so that all of our hearts might be healed, might be resurrected by the power of Jesus,” said the Pope, reminding the parishioners that everyone has within their heart what he called a "tomb," or a place in the heart that is in need of new life.

Since all of us are sinners, the Holy Father said that there is “something really small, really small, something internal, some parts of our heart that are not living. They are dead,” Francis explained. The Pope acknowledged that yes, we are all sinners, and many well-meaning and otherwise believing people find it very difficult to be free of sin. “We want to get out of it, but we can’t. Only the power of Jesus is able to help us leave this dead part of the heart, this tomb that we all have,” said the Holy Father, “We’re all sinners,” reminded the Pope, “but we have to be attentive not to be corrupted by sin.”

Continuing a theme launched earlier on Sunday at his Sunday Angelus Audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis told St. Gregory parishioners that he wanted them to read the Gospels regularly, and that just as he had done with those in the square earlier in the day Sunday, he gave the congregation pocket copies of the Gospels. “I want to give you a little copy of the gospels, and you bring it home to your house,” the Pope said.

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