Pope Francis' heartfelt words for typhoon survivors: Jesus is there for you!

Rainy mass homily Pope Francis Philippines 2 CNA Pope Francis says Mass at Tacloban in the Philippines Jan. 17. | CTV

Pope Francis on Saturday spoke to survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in an impromptu homily, voicing compassion for their plight and encouraging them to look to the love of Jesus Christ on the Cross.

"I'm here to be with you," he said. "A little bit late, I have to say. But I'm here. I've come to tell you that Jesus is Lord. That Jesus never lets us down."

The Pope acknowledged the plight and the trauma of the typhoon survivors.

"'Father', you might say to me, 'I was let down because I've lost so many things: my house, my livelihood'," the Pope said.

"It's true, if you would say that, and I respect those sentiments," Pope Francis continued. "But Jesus is there nailed to the Cross, and from there, he does not let us down. There, he experienced all calamities that we experience. Jesus is Lord, the Lord from the Cross, he is there for you!"

"And I walk with you all with my silent heart."

Pope Francis celebrated Mass for hundreds of thousands of people on a windy, rainy morning at the airport near Tacloban, a provincial capital located on the central eastern Philippines island of Leyte. The area suffered severely from the December 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Typhoon Yolanda. The powerful storm killed over 6,000 people and left tens of thousands homeless nationwide.

The Pope set aside his prepared homily. He told the crowd that Christians have in Jesus a Lord who is "capable of crying with us, capable of walking with us, in the most difficult moments of life."

"We have the security of knowing that we are not going to weaken in our faith, because Jesus has been there before us… In his passion, he assumed all our pain," he added.

"So many of you have lost everything… I don't know what to say to you. But the Lord does know what to say to you. Some of you have lost part of your families. All I can do is keep silent."

He encouraged the congregation to look to the maternal care of the Virgin Mary.

"In the moments where we have so much pain, where we no longer understand anything, all we can do is grab hold of her hand firmly. And say 'Mom,' as a child does to a mother, when he or she feels fear.

"It is perhaps the only word that we can say in such difficult times: Mother."

The Pope led the congregation in a moment of silence, asking them to look to Christ on the Cross and to say to the Virgin Mary the word "Mother."

"Let us know that we have Mother Mary, and our older brother, Jesus. We are not alone."

The Pope explained that he decided to visit the Philippines after witnessing the "catastrophe" of the typhoon.

"This is what comes from my heart, and forgive me if I have no other words to express this," his homily concluded. "But please know, Jesus never lets you down. Please know that the love and tenderness of Mother Mary never lets you down."

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"And holding onto her mantle, and with the love of Jesus on the Cross, let us move forward, always forward, and walk together as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Forward!"

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