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Monday, June 22, 2015

0412: Reflections on the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis

Entry 0412: Reflections on the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

by Pope Francis (Updated 21 June 2017)

On two occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 30 June 2013 and 28 June 2015. Here are the texts of the two brief addresses delivered prior to the recitation of the Angelus.



Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 30 June 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

This Sunday’s Gospel Reading (Lk 9:51-62) shows a very important step in Christ’s life: the moment when, as Saint Luke writes: “He [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem” (9:51). Jerusalem is the final destination where Jesus, at his last Passover, must die and rise again and thus bring his mission of salvation to fulfilment.

From that moment, after that “firm decision” Jesus aimed straight for his goal and in addition said clearly to the people he met and who asked to follow him what the conditions were: to have no permanent dwelling place; to know how to be detached from human affections and not to give in to nostalgia for the past.

Jesus, however, also told his disciples to precede him on the way to Jerusalem and to announce his arrival, but not to impose anything: if the disciples did not find a readiness to welcome him, they should go ahead, they should move on. Jesus never imposes, Jesus is humble, Jesus invites. If you want to, come. The humility of Jesus is like this: he is always inviting but never imposing.

All of this gives us food for thought. It tells us, for example, of the importance which the conscience had for Jesus too: listening in his heart to the Father’s voice and following it. Jesus, in his earthly existence, was not, as it were “remote-controlled:” he was the incarnate Word, the Son of God made man, and at a certain point he made the firm decision to go up to Jerusalem for the last time; it was a decision taken in his conscience, but not alone: together with the Father, in full union with him! He decided out of obedience to the Father and in profound and intimate listening to his will. For this reason, moreover, his decision was firm, because it was made together with the Father. In the Father Jesus found the strength and light for his journey. And Jesus was free, he took that decision freely. Jesus wants us to be Christians, freely as he was, with the freedom which comes from this dialogue with the Father, from this dialogue with God. Jesus does not want selfish Christians who follow their own ego, who do not talk to God. Nor does he want weak Christians, Christians who have no will of their own, “remote-controlled” Christians incapable of creativity, who always seek to connect with the will of someone else and are not free. Jesus wants us free. And where is this freedom created? It is created in dialogue with God in the person’s own conscience. If a Christian is unable to speak with God, if he cannot hear God in his own conscience, he is not free, he is not free.

This is why we must learn to listen to our conscience more. But be careful! This does not mean following my own ego, doing what interests me, what suits me, what I like. It is not this! The conscience is the interior place for listening to the truth, to goodness, for listening to God; it is the inner place of my relationship with him, the One who speaks to my heart and helps me to discern, to understand the way I must take and, once the decision is made, to go forward, to stay faithful.

We have had a marvelous example of what this relationship with God is like, a recent and marvelous example. Pope Benedict XVI gave us this great example when the Lord made him understand, in prayer, what the step was that he had to take. With a great sense of discernment and courage, he followed his conscience, that is, the will of God speaking in his heart. And this example of our Father does such great good to us all, as an example to follow.

Our Lady, in her inmost depths with great simplicity was listening to and meditating on the Word of God and on what was happening to Jesus. She followed her Son with deep conviction and with steadfast hope. May Mary help us to become increasingly men and women of conscience, free in our conscience, because it is in the conscience that dialogue with God takes place; men and women, who can hear God’s voice and follow it with determination, who can listen to God’s voice, and follow it with decision.



Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 28 June 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today’s Gospel presents the account of the resurrection of a young, 12-year-old girl, the daughter of a one of the leaders of the synagogue, who falls at Jesus’ feet and beseeches him: “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live” (Mk 5:23). In this prayer we hear the concern of every father for the life and well-being of his child. We also hear the great faith which that man has in Jesus. And when news arrives that the little girl is dead, Jesus tells him: “Do not fear, only believe” (v. 36). These words from Jesus give us courage! And He frequently also says them to us: “Do not fear, only believe.” Entering the house, the Lord sends away all those who are weeping and wailing and turns to the dead girl, saying: “Little girl, I say to you, arise” (v. 41). And immediately the little girl rose and began to walk. Here we see Jesus’ absolute power over death, which for Him is like a dream from which one can awaken.

The Evangelist inserts another episode in this account: the healing of a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. Because of this ailment, which, according to the culture of the time, rendered her “impure,” she was forced to avoid all human contact. The poor woman was condemned to a civic death. In the midst of the crowd following Jesus, this unknown woman says to herself: “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well” (v. 28). And thus it happened. The need to be freed urges her to dare and her faith “snatches,” so to speak, healing from the Lord. She who believes “touches” Jesus and draws from Him a saving grace. This is faith: to touch Jesus is to draw from Him the grace that saves. It saves us, it saves our spiritual life, it saves us from so many problems. Jesus notices and, in the midst of the people, looks for the woman’s face. She steps forward trembling and He says to her: “Daughter, your faith has made you well” (v. 34). It is the voice of the heavenly Father who speaks in Jesus: “Daughter, you are not cursed, you are not excluded, you are my child!” And every time Jesus approaches us, when we go forth from Him with faith, we feel this from the Father: “Child, you are my son, you are my daughter! You are healed. I forgive everyone for everything. I heal all people and all things.”

These two episodes—a healing and a resurrection—share one core: faith. The message is clear, and it can be summed up in one question: do we believe that Jesus can heal us and can raise us from the dead? The entire Gospel is written in the light of this faith: Jesus is risen, He has conquered death, and by his victory we too will rise again. This faith, which for the first Christians was sure, can tarnish and become uncertain, to the point that some may confuse resurrection with reincarnation. The Word of God this Sunday invites us to live in the certainty of the Resurrection: Jesus is the Lord, Jesus has power over evil and over death, and He wants to lead us to house of the Father, where life reigns. And there we will all meet again, all of us here in this square today, we will meet again in the house of the Father, in the life that Jesus will give us.

The Resurrection of Christ acts in history as the principle of renewal and hope. Anyone who is desperate and tired to death, if he entrusts himself to Jesus and to his love, can begin to live again. And to begin a new life, to change life is a way of rising again, of resurrecting. Faith is a force of life, it gives fullness to our humanity; and those who believe in Christ must acknowledge this in order to promote life in every situation, in order to let everyone, especially the weakest, experience the love of God who frees and saves.

Let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, for the gift of a strong and courageous faith, that might urge us to be diffusers of hope and life among our brothers and sisters.

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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For reflections on the 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time
 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.

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