Pope Francis prays the Church will welcome the homeless during coronavirus

Pope Francis in front of the crucifix during Mass March 31 2020 Credit Vatican Media Pope Francis lifts the Eucharist during Mass March 31, 2020. | Vatican Media.

Pope Francis prayed Tuesday for all those who do not have homes to go to during the coronavirus pandemic, that people may be aware of this reality and that the Church will welcome them.

"Let us pray today for those who are homeless, at this moment when we are asked to be inside the house," he said March 31, "so that society will become aware of this reality and help, and the Church welcome them."

Pope Francis is offering his private morning Masses in the chapel of the Santa Marta guesthouse for all those affected by the coronavirus. Every day he prays for a particular intention related to the viral outbreak before the start of Mass.

In his homily, the pope reflected on Christ's sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world, which he said is prophesied in the day's first reading.

"We have to get used to looking at the crucifix in this light, which is the truest, it is the light of redemption," he said.

In the first reading for March 31, from the Book of Numbers, one sees God's wrath, Pope Francis explained. Angry at the complaints of the people, God sent serpents which bit the Israelites and many of them died.

The snake is an "image of evil," Francis said. The people then turn to Moses and repent of their sins, asking him to beg the Lord to take the snakes away.

Moses prayed for the people and God told him to put a bronze snake on a metal rod, and those who look at it will live, the pope recounted.

This might look like idolatry, but it is a prophecy of when Jesus will be raised on the cross for our sins, he explained.

"Jesus lifted up: on the cross. Moses makes a snake and lifts it up. Jesus will be lifted up, like the serpent, to give salvation," he said.

He noted Jesus' words to the doctors of the law in the day's Gospel passage: "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own."

"But the heart of the prophecy is precisely that Jesus made himself [our] sin for us. He did not sin: he became sin," he explained.

Francis quoted from the first letter of St. Peter: "He carried our sins upon himself."

"And when we look at the crucifix, we think of the Lord who suffers: all that is true," the pope said, encouraging people to meditate on the truth that at the moment he was lifted onto the cross, Jesus made himself the sacrifice for the sins of the world.

The crucifixion was torture, "but the truth which comes from God is that He came into the world to take our sins upon himself to the point of becoming sin. All sin. Our sins are there," the pope argued.

"It is not easy to understand this," he concluded. "Just contemplate it, pray, and give thanks."

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