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Monday, June 6, 2016

0472: Reflections on the 11th Sunday
of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis



Entry 0472: Reflections on the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time   

 by Pope Francis  (Updated 20 June 2017)


Othree occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 16 June 2013, 14 June 2015, and 12 June 2016. Here are the texts of three brief addresses prior the recitation of the Angelus and two homilies delivered on these occasions.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 16 June 2013


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the end of this Eucharistic Celebration dedicated to the Gospel of Life, I am pleased to recall that yesterday Odardo Focherini, husband and father of seven children, a journalist, was beatified in Carpi. Arrested and incarcerated in hatred of his Catholic faith, he died in the concentration camp of Hersbruck in 1944 at the age of 37. He saved many Jews from Nazi persecution. Together with the Church in Carpi, let us give thanks to God for this witness to the Gospel of Life!

I warmly thank all of you who have come from Rome and from many parts of Italy and of the world, especially the families and those who are more directly involved in the promotion and protection of life.

I cordially greet the 150 members of the Association “Grávida”-Argentina, gathered in the city of Pilar. Thank you so much for what you have done! Have courage and go forward!

Finally, I greet the many participants in the Harley-Davidson motorcycle rally as well as those from the Motoclub Polizia di Stato [State Police Motoclub].

Let us turn now to Our Lady, entrusting all human life, especially the most fragile, helpless and threatened, to her motherly protection.


HOLY MASS FOR “EVANGELIUM VITAE” DAY

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 16 June 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This celebration has a very beautiful name: the Gospel of Life. In this Eucharist, in the Year of Faith, let us thank the Lord for the gift of life in all its forms, and at the same time let us proclaim the Gospel of Life.

On the basis of the word of God which we have heard, I would like to offer you three simple points of meditation for our faith: first, the Bible reveals to us the Living God, the God who is life and the source of life; second, Jesus Christ bestows life and the Holy Spirit maintains us in life; and third, following God’s way leads to life, whereas following idols leads to death.

1. The first reading, taken from the Second Book of Samuel, speaks to us of life and death. King David wants to hide the act of adultery which he committed with the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in his army. To do so, he gives the order that Uriah be placed on the front lines and so be killed in battle. The Bible shows us the human drama in all its reality: good and evil, passion, sin and its consequences. Whenever we want to assert ourselves, when we become wrapped up in our own selfishness and put ourselves in the place of God, we end up spawning death. King David’s adultery is one example of this. Selfishness leads to lies, as we attempt to deceive ourselves and those around us. But God cannot be deceived. We heard how the prophet says to David: “Why have you done evil in the Lord’s sight?” (see 2 Sam 12:9). The King is forced to face his deeds of death; what he has done is truly a deed of death, not life! He recognizes what he has done and he begs forgiveness: “I have sinned against the Lord!” (v. 13). The God of mercy, who desires life and always forgives us, now forgives David and restores him to life. The prophet tells him: “The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.”

What is the image we have of God? Perhaps he appears to us as a severe judge, as someone who curtails our freedom and the way we live our lives. But the Scriptures everywhere tell us that God is the Living One, the one who bestows life and points the way to fullness of life. I think of the beginning of the Book of Genesis: God fashions man out of the dust of the earth; he breathes in his nostrils the breath of life, and man becomes a living being (see 2:7). God is the source of life; thanks to his breath, man has life. God’s breath sustains the entire journey of our life on earth. I also think of the calling of Moses, where the Lord says that he is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of the living. When he sends Moses to Pharaoh to set his people free, he reveals his name: “I am who I am,” the God who enters into our history, sets us free from slavery and death, and brings life to his people because he is the Living One. I also think of the gift of the Ten Commandments: a path God points out to us towards a life which is truly free and fulfilling. The commandments are not a litany of prohibitions—you must not do this, you must not do that, you must not do the other; on the contrary, they are a great “Yes!” a yes to God, to Love, to life. Dear friends, our lives are fulfilled in God alone, because only he is the Living One!

2. Today’s Gospel brings us another step forward. Jesus allows a woman who was a sinner to approach him during a meal in the house of a Pharisee, scandalizing those present. Not only does he let the woman approach but he even forgives her sins, saying: “Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Lk 7:47). Jesus is the incarnation of the Living God, the one who brings life amid so many deeds of death, amid sin, selfishness and self-absorption. Jesus accepts, loves, uplifts, encourages, forgives, restores the ability to walk, gives back life. Throughout the Gospels we see how Jesus by his words and actions brings the transforming life of God. This was the experience of the woman who anointed the feet of the Lord with ointment: she felt understood, loved, and she responded by a gesture of love: she let herself be touched by God’s mercy, she obtained forgiveness and she started a new life. God, the Living One, is merciful. Do you agree? Let’s say it together: God, the Living One, is merciful! All together now: God, the Living One, is merciful. Once again: God, the Living One is merciful!

This was also the experience of the Apostle Paul, as we heard in the second reading: “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). What is this life? It is God’s own life. And who brings us this life? It is the Holy Spirit, the gift of the risen Christ. The Spirit leads us into the divine life as true children of God, as sons and daughters in the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Are we open to the Holy Spirit? Do we let ourselves be guided by him? Christians are “spiritual.” This does not mean that we are people who live “in the clouds,” far removed from real life, as if it were some kind of mirage. No! The Christian is someone who thinks and acts in everyday life according to God’s will, someone who allows his or her life to be guided and nourished by the Holy Spirit, to be a full life, a life worthy of true sons and daughters. And this entails realism and fruitfulness. Those who let themselves be led by the Holy Spirit are realists, they know how to survey and assess reality. They are also fruitful; their lives bring new life to birth all around them.

3. God is the Living One, the Merciful One; Jesus brings us the life of God; the Holy Spirit gives and keeps us in our new life as true sons and daughters of God. But all too often, as we know from experience, people do not choose life, they do not accept the “Gospel of Life” but let themselves be led by ideologies and ways of thinking that block life, that do not respect life, because they are dictated by selfishness, self-interest, profit, power and pleasure, and not by love, by concern for the good of others. It is the eternal dream of wanting to build the city of man without God, without God’s life and love—a new Tower of Babel. It is the idea that rejecting God, the message of Christ, the Gospel of Life, will somehow lead to freedom, to complete human fulfilment. As a result, the Living God is replaced by fleeting human idols which offer the intoxication of a flash of freedom, but in the end bring new forms of slavery and death. The wisdom of the Psalmist says: “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps 19:8). Let us always remember: the Lord is the Living One, he is merciful. The Lord is the Living One, he is merciful.

Dear brothers and sisters, let us look to God as the God of Life, let us look to his law, to the Gospel message, as the way to freedom and life. The Living God sets us free! Let us say “Yes” to love and not selfishness. Let us say “Yes” to life and not death. Let us say “Yes” to freedom and not enslavement to the many idols of our time. In a word, let us say “Yes” to the God who is love, life and freedom, and who never disappoints (see 1 Jn 4:8; Jn 11:2; Jn 8:32); let us say “Yes” to the God who is the Living One and the Merciful One. Only faith in the Living God saves us: in the God who in Jesus Christ has given us his own life by the gift of the Holy Spirit and has made it possible to live as true sons and daughters of God through his mercy. This faith brings us freedom and happiness. Let us ask Mary, Mother of Life, to help us receive and bear constant witness to the “Gospel of Life.” Amen.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 14 June 2015

Dear brothers and sisters, Good morning!

Today’s Gospel is composed of two very brief parables: that of the seed that sprouts and grows on its own, and that of the mustard seed (see Mk 4:26-34). Through these images taken from the rural world, Jesus presents the efficacy of the Word of God and the requirements of his Kingdom, showing the reasons for our hope and our commitment in history.

In the first parable, attention is placed on the fact that the seed scattered on the ground (v. 26) takes root and develops on its own, regardless of whether the farmer sleeps or keeps watch. He is confident in the inner power of the seed itself and in the fertility of the soil. In the language of the Gospel, the seed is the symbol of the Word of God, whose fruitfulness is recalled in this parable. As the humble seed grows in the earth, so too does the Word by the power of God work in the hearts of those who listen to it. God has entrusted his Word to our earth, that is to each one of us with our concrete humanity. We can be confident because the Word of God is a creative word, destined to become the “full grain in the ear” (v. 28). This Word, if accepted, certainly bears fruit, for God Himself makes it sprout and grow in ways that we cannot always verify or understand. (see v. 27). All this tells us that it is always God, it is always God who makes his Kingdom grow. That is why we fervently pray “thy Kingdom come.” It is He who makes it grow. Man is his humble collaborator, who contemplates and rejoices in divine creative action and waits patiently for its fruits.

The Word of God makes things grow, it gives life. And here, I would like to remind you once again, of the importance of having the Gospel, the Bible, close at hand. A small Gospel in your purse, in your pocket and to nourish yourselves every day with this living Word of God. Read a passage from the Gospel every day, a passage from the Bible. Please don’t ever forget this. Because this is the power that makes the life of the Kingdom of God sprout within us.

The second parable uses the image of the mustard seed. Despite being the smallest of all the seeds, it is full of life and grows until it becomes “the greatest of all shrubs” (Mk 4:32). And thus is the Kingdom of God: a humanly small and seemingly irrelevant reality. To become a part of it, one must be poor of heart; not trusting in their own abilities, but in the power of the love of God; not acting to be important in the eyes of the world, but precious in the eyes of God, who prefers the simple and the humble. When we live like this, the strength of Christ bursts through us and transforms what is small and modest into a reality that leavens the entire mass of the world and of history.

An important lesson comes to us from these two parables: God’s Kingdom requires our cooperation, but it is above all the initiative and gift of the Lord. Our weak effort, seemingly small before the complexity of the problems of the world, when integrated with God’s effort, fears no difficulty. The victory of the Lord is certain: his love will make every seed of goodness present on the ground sprout and grow. This opens us up to trust and hope, despite the tragedies, the injustices, the sufferings that we encounter. The seed of goodness and peace sprouts and develops, because the merciful love of God makes it ripen.

May the Holy Virgin, who like “fertile ground” received the seed of the divine Word, sustain us in this hope which never disappoints.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 12 June 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Yesterday, in Vercelli, Fr Giacomo Abbondo was proclaimed Blessed. He lived in the 1700’s, in love with God, educated and always available to his parishioners. Let us join in the joy and thanksgiving of the Diocese of Vercelli. As well as with that of Monreale, where today Sr Carolina Santocanale, Foundress of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculata of Lourdes, was also beatified. Born to a noble family in Palermo, she chose to leave comfort behind and become “poor among the poor.” It was from Christ, especially in the Eucharist, that she drew strength for her spiritual motherhood and her tenderness for the weak.

In the context of the Jubilee of the Sick, in recent days an International Congress dedicated to people affected by Hansen’s disease was held in Rome. With gratitude I greet the organizers and participants and I wish them fruitful results in their fight against this disease.

Today is the World Day Against Child Labor. United together, let us renew our efforts to eradicate the causes of this form of modern slavery, which deprives millions of children of their fundamental rights and exposes them to grave dangers. Today there are so many child slaves in the world!

I affectionately greet all the pilgrims from Italy and other countries for this Jubilee Day. In a special way, I thank you, who in your condition or disability wanted to be present. Heartfelt thanks also goes to the doctors and healthcare workers who, at the “health points” set up around the four Papal Basilicas, are offering specialized check-ups to the hundreds of people who live on the outskirts of Rome. Thank you very much!

May the Virgin Mary, to whom we turn now in prayer, always be with us on our journey.


EXTRAORDINARY JUBILEE OF MERCY
FOR THE SICK AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 12 June 2016

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:19). In these words, the Apostle Paul powerfully expresses the mystery of the Christian life, which can be summed up in the paschal dynamic of death and resurrection received at baptism. Indeed, through immersion in water, each of us, as it were, dies and is buried with Christ (see Rom 6:3-4), and remerging, shows forth new life in the Holy Spirit. This rebirth embraces every aspect of our lives: even sickness, suffering and death are taken up in Christ and in him find their ultimate meaning. Today, on the Jubilee day devoted to the sick and bearers of disabilities, this word of life has a special resonance for our assembly.

Each of us, sooner or later, is called to face—at times painfully—frailty and illness, both our own and those of others. How many different faces do these common yet dramatically human experiences take! Yet all of them directly raise the pressing question of the meaning of life. Our hearts may quietly yield to cynicism, as if the only solution were simply to put up with these experiences, trusting only in our own strength. Or we may put complete trust in science, thinking that surely somewhere in the world there is a medicine capable of curing the illness. Sadly, however, this is not always the case, and, even if the medicine did exist, it would be accessible to very few people.

Human nature, wounded by sin, is marked by limitations. We are familiar with the objections raised, especially nowadays, to a life characterized by serious physical limitations. It is thought that sick or disabled persons cannot be happy, since they cannot live the lifestyle held up by the culture of pleasure and entertainment. In an age when care for one’s body has become an obsession and a big business, anything imperfect has to be hidden away, since it threatens the happiness and serenity of the privileged few and endangers the dominant model. Such persons should best be kept apart, in some “enclosure”—even a gilded one—or in “islands” of pietism or social welfare, so that they do not hold back the pace of a false well-being. In some cases, we are even told that it is better to eliminate them as soon as possible, because they become an unacceptable economic burden in time of crisis. Yet what an illusion it is when people today shut their eyes in the face of sickness and disability! They fail to understand the real meaning of life, which also has to do with accepting suffering and limitations. The world does not become better because only apparently “perfect” people live there—I say “perfect” rather than “false”—but when human solidarity, mutual acceptance and respect increase. How true are the words of the Apostle: “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor 1:27)!

This Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 7:36-8:3) presents us with a specific situation of weakness. The woman caught in sin is judged and rejected, yet Jesus accepts and defends her: “She has shown great love” (7:47). This is the conclusion of Jesus, who is attentive to her suffering and her plea. This tenderness is a sign of the love that God shows to those who suffer and are cast aside. Suffering need not only be physical; one of today’s most frequent pathologies is also spiritual. It is a suffering of the heart; it causes sadness for lack of love. It is the pathology of sadness. When we experience disappointment or betrayal in important relationships, we come to realize how vulnerable and defenseless we are. The temptation to become self-absorbed grows stronger, and we risk losing life’s greatest opportunity: to love in spite of everything!

The happiness that everyone desires, for that matter, can be expressed in any number of ways and attained only if we are capable of loving. This is the way. It is always a matter of love; there is no other path. The true challenge is that of who loves the most. How many disabled and suffering persons open their hearts to life again as soon as they realize they are loved! How much love can well up in a heart simply with a smile! The therapy of smiling. Then our frailness itself can become a source of consolation and support in our solitude. Jesus, in his passion, loved us to the end (see Jn 13:1); on the cross he revealed the love that bestows itself without limits. Can we reproach God for our infirmities and sufferings when we realize how much suffering shows on the face of his crucified Son? His physical pain was accompanied by mockery, condescension and scorn, yet he responds with a mercy that accepts and forgives everything: “by his wounds we are healed” (Is 53:5; 1 Pet 2:24). Jesus is the physician who heals with the medicine of love, for he takes upon himself our suffering and redeems it. We know that God can understand our infirmities, because he himself has personally experienced them (see Heb 4:15).

The way we experience illness and disability is an index of the love we are ready to offer. The way we face suffering and limitation is the measure of our freedom to give meaning to life’s experiences, even when they strike us as meaningless and unmerited. Let us not be disturbed, then, by these tribulations (see 1 Th 3:3). We know that in weakness we can become strong (see 2 Cor 12:10) and receive the grace to fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for his body, the Church (see Col 1:24). For that body, in the image of the risen Lord’s own, keeps its wounds, the mark of a hard struggle, but they are wounds transfigured for ever by loves


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For reflections on the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time  

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


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