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Monday, July 13, 2015

0415: Reflections on the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis



Entry 0415: 
Reflections on the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time   
 by Pope Francis (Updated)



On three occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 21 July 2013, 20 July 2014, and 19 July 2015. Here are the texts of three brief addresses, each delivered prior the recitation of the Angelus.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St Peter’s Square, Sunday, 21 July 2013

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

This Sunday we continue reading the 10 chapters of the Evangelist Luke. The passage today is that on Martha and Mary. Who are these two women? Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus, are the relatives and faithful disciples of the Lord, who lived in Bethany. St Luke describes them in this way: Mary, at the feet of Jesus, “listened to his teaching,” while Martha was burdened with much serving (see Lk 10:39-40). Both welcome the Lord on his brief visit, but they do so differently. Mary sets herself at the feet of Jesus to listen but Martha lets herself become absorbed in preparing everything, and so much so that she says to Jesus: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me” (v. 40). And Jesus answers scolding her sweetly: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing” (v. 41).

What does Jesus mean? What is this one thing that we need? First of all, it is important to understand that this is not about two contradictory attitudes: listening to the word of the Lord, contemplation, and practical service to our neighbour. These are not two attitudes opposed to one another, but, on the contrary, they are two essential aspects in our Christian life; aspects that can never be separated, but are lived out in profound unity and harmony. Why then was Martha scolded, even if kindly, by Jesus? Because she considered only what she was doing to be essential; she was too absorbed and worried by the things “to do.” For a Christian, works of service and charity are never detached from the principle of all our action: that is, listening to the Word of the Lord, to be—like Mary—at the feet of Jesus, with the attitude of a disciple. And that is why Martha was scolded.

In our Christian life too, dear brothers and sisters, may prayer and action always be deeply united. A prayer that does not lead you to practical action for your brother—the poor, the sick, those in need of help, a brother in difficulty—is a sterile and incomplete prayer. But, in the same way, when ecclesial service is attentive only to doing, things gain in importance, functions, structures, and we forget the centrality of Christ. When time is not set aside for dialogue with him in prayer, we risk serving ourselves and not God present in our needy brother and sister. St Benedict sums up the kind of life that indicated for his monks in two words: ora et labora, pray and work. It is from contemplation, from a strong friendship with the Lord that the capacity is born in us to live and to bring the love of God, his mercy, his tenderness, to others. And also our work with brothers in need, our charitable works of mercy, lead us to the Lord, because it is in the needy brother and sister that we see the Lord himself.

Let us ask the Virgin Mary, the Mother of listening and of service, to teach us to meditate in our hearts on the Word of her Son, to pray faithfully, to be ever more attentive in practical ways to the needs of our brothers and sisters.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

St. Peter’s Square, Sunday, 20 July 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning,

These Sundays the liturgy proposes several Gospel parables, that is, short stories which Jesus used to announce the Kingdom of Heaven to the crowds. Among those in today’s Gospel, there is a rather complex one which Jesus explained to the disciples: it is that of the good grain and the weed, which deals with the problem of evil in the world and calls attention to God’s patience (see Mt 13:24-30, 36-43). The story takes place in a field where the owner sows grain, but during the night his enemy comes and sows weed, a term which in Hebrew derives from the same root as the name “Satan” and which alludes to the concept of division. We all know that the demon is a “sower of weed,” one who always seeks to sow division between individuals, families, nations and peoples. The servants wanted to uproot the weed immediately, but the field owner stopped them, explaining that: “in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them” (Mt 13:29). Because we all know that a weed, when it grows, looks very much like good grain, and there is the risk of confusing them.

The teaching of the parable is twofold. First of all, it tells that the evil in the world comes not from God but from his enemy, the evil one. It is curious that the evil one goes at night to sow weed, in the dark, in confusion; he goes where there is no light to sow weed. This enemy is astute: he sows evil in the middle of good, thus it is impossible for us men to distinctly separate them; but God, in the end, will be able to do so.

And here we arrive at the second theme: the juxtaposition of the impatience of the servants and the patient waiting of the field owner, who represents God. At times we are in a great hurry to judge, to categorize, to put the good here, the bad there. But remember the prayer of that self-righteous man: “God, I thank you that I am good, that I am not like other men, malicious” (see Lk 18:11-12). God, however, knows how to wait. With patience and mercy he gazes into the “field” of life of every person; he sees much better than we do the filth and the evil, but he also sees the seeds of good and waits with trust for them to grow. God is patient, he knows how to wait. This is so beautiful: our God is a patient father, who always waits for us and waits with his heart in hand to welcome us, to forgive us. He always forgives us if we go to him.

The field owner’s attitude is that of hope grounded in the certainty that evil does not have the first nor the last word. And it is thanks to this patient hope of God that the same weed, which is the malicious heart with so many sins, in the end can become good grain. But be careful: evangelical patience is not indifference to evil; one must not confuse good and evil! In facing weeds in the world the Lord’s disciple is called to imitate the patience of God, to nourish hope with the support of indestructible trust in the final victory of good, that is, of God.

In the end, in fact, evil will be removed and eliminated: at the time of harvest, that is, of judgment, the harvesters will follow the orders of the field owner, separating the weed to burn it (see Mt 13:30). On the day of the final harvest, the judge will be Jesus, He who has sown good grain in the world and who himself became the “grain of wheat,” who died and rose. In the end we will all be judged by the same measure with which we have judged: the mercy we have shown to others will also be shown to us. Let us ask Our Lady, our Mother, to help us to grow in patience, in hope and in mercy with all brothers and sisters.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 19 July 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

I see you are braving this heat in the Square, well done!

Today’s Gospel tells us that the Apostles, after the experience of the mission, have returned content but also tired. Jesus, filled with understanding, wants to give them some relief; and so he takes them away, to a lonely place, so they can rest a while (see Mk 6:31). “Many saw them going, and knew, … and got there ahead of them” (v. 33). From this point the Evangelist offers us the image of Jesus of singular intensity, “photographing,” so to speak, his eyes and gathering the sentiments of his heart. The Evangelist states: “As he landed he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things” (v. 34).

Let us recall the three verbs in this evocative photogram: to see, to have compassion, to teach. We can call them the verbs of the Shepherd. To see, to have compassion, to teach. The first and second, to see and to have compassion, are always found together in the attitude of Jesus: in fact his gaze is not the gaze of a sociologist or a photojournalist, for he always gazes with “the eyes of the heart.” These two verbs, to see and to have compassion, configure Jesus as the Good Shepherd. His compassion too, is not merely a human feeling, but is the deep emotion of the Messiah in whom God’s tenderness is made flesh. From this tenderness is born Jesus’ wish to nourish the crowd with the bread of his Word, that is, to teach the Word of God to the people. Jesus sees, Jesus has compassion, Jesus teaches us. This is beautiful!

I asked the Lord that the Spirit of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, this Spirit, should guide me in the course of the Apostolic Journey which I carried out in recent days in Latin America, and which allowed me to visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. I wholeheartedly thank God for this gift. I thank the peoples of the three countries for their warm and affectionate welcome and enthusiasm. I renew my recognition of the Authorities of these countries for their welcome and cooperation. With great affection I thank my brother Bishops, the priests, consecrated people and all the peoples for their warm participation. With these brothers and sisters I praised the Lord for the wonders that he has worked in the People of God journeying in those lands, through the faith which has enlivened and enlivens their life and their culture. We also praised him for the natural beauty with which he has enriched these countries. The Latin American Continent has great human and spiritual resources, safeguards deeply rooted Christian values, but also experiences serious social and economic problems. In order to contribute to their solution, the Church is committed to mobilizing the spiritual and moral forces of its communities, cooperating with all members of society. Before the great challenges that must be faced in proclaiming the Gospel, I urged them to draw from Christ the Lord the grace which saves and which gives strength to the commitment of Christian testimony, to enhance the spreading of the Word of God, so that the outstanding religiosity of those peoples may always bear faithful witness to the Gospel.

I entrust the fruit of this unforgettable Apostolic Journey to the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, whom all of Latin America venerates as its Patron with the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe

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For reflections on the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time 

 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.




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