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Monday, July 17, 2017

0542: Reflections on the 16th Sunday
of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis



Entry 0542: Reflections on the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time   

 by Pope Francis 


O
n four occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 21 July 2013, 20 July 2014, 19 July 2015, and 17 July 2016. Here are the texts of the four brief addresses prior the recitation of the Angelus that the Holy Father delivered on these occasions.



POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint 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. Saint 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 neighbor. 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. Saint 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

Saint 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.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 17 July 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

In today’s Gospel the Evangelist Luke writes about Jesus who, on the way to Jerusalem, enters a village and is welcomed into the home of two sisters: Martha and Mary (see Lk 10:38-42). Both welcome the Lord, but they do so in different ways. Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to his words (see v. 39), whereas Martha is completely caught up in preparing things; at a certain point 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). Jesus responds to her: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her” (vv. 41-42).

In bustling about and busying herself, Martha risks forgetting—and this is the problem—the most important thing, which is the presence of the guest, Jesus in this case. She forgets about the presence of the guest. A guest is not merely to be served, fed, looked after in every way. Most importantly he ought to be listened to. Remember this word: Listen! A guest should be welcomed as a person, with a story, his heart rich with feelings and thoughts, so that he may truly feel like he is among family. If you welcome a guest into your home but continue doing other things, letting him just sit there, both of you in silence, it is as if he were of stone: a guest of stone. No. A guest is to be listened to. Of course, Jesus’ response to Martha—when he tells her that there is only one thing that needs to be done—finds its full significance in reference to listening to the very word of Jesus, that word which illuminates and supports all that we are and what we do. If we go to pray, for example, before the Crucifix, and we talk, talk, talk, and then we leave, we do not listen to Jesus. We do not allow him to speak to our heart. Listen: this is the key word. Do not forget! And we must not forget that in the house of Martha and Mary, Jesus, before being Lord and Master, is a pilgrim and guest. Thus, his response has this significance first and foremost: “Martha, Martha why do you busy yourself doing so much for this guest even to the point of forgetting about his presence?”—A guest of stone!—Not much is necessary to welcome him; indeed, only one thing is needed: listen to him—this is the word: listen to him—be brotherly to him, let him realize he is among family and not in a temporary shelter.

Understood in this light, hospitality, which is one of the works of mercy, is revealed as a truly human and Christian virtue, a virtue which in today’s world is at risk of being overlooked. In fact, nursing homes and hospices are multiplying, but true hospitality is not always practiced in these environments. Various institutions are opened to care for many types of disease, of loneliness, of marginalization, but opportunities are decreasing for those who are foreign, marginalized, excluded, from finding someone ready to listen to them: because they are foreigners, refugees, migrants. Listen to that painful story. Even in one’s own home, among one’s own family members, it might be easier to find services and care of various kinds rather than listening and welcome. Today we are so taken, by excitement, by countless problems—some of which are not important—that we lack the capacity to listen. We are constantly busy and thus we have no time to listen. I would like to ask you, to pose a question to you, each one answer in your own heart: do you, husband, take time to listen to your wife? And do you, woman, take time to listen to your husband? Do you, parents, take time, time to “waste”, to listen to your children? or your grandparents, the elderly?—“But grandparents always say the same things, they are boring.”—But they need to be listened to! Listen. I ask that you learn to listen and to devote more of your time. The root of peace lies in the capacity to listen.

May the Virgin Mary, Mother of listening and of service and of attentive care, teach us to be welcoming and hospitable to our brothers and our sisters.

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


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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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Monday, July 10, 2017

0541: Reflections on the 15th Sunday
of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis



Entry 0541: Reflections on the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time   

 by Pope Francis 


On four occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 14 July 2013, 13 July 2014, 12 July 2015, and 10 July 2016. Here are the texts of the four brief addresses prior the recitation of the Angelus and a homily delivered on these occasions.



POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Castel Gandolfo, Sunday, 14 July 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning,

Today our Sunday meeting for the Angelus is taking place here in Castel Gandolfo. I greet the inhabitants of this beautiful little town! Above all, I would like to thank you for your prayers, and I do this with all of you who have come here in large numbers as pilgrims.

Today’s Gospel—we are at Chapter 10 of Luke—is the famous Parable of the Good Samaritan. Who was this man? He was an ordinary person coming down from Jerusalem on his way to Jericho on the road that crosses the Judean Desert. A short time before, on that road a man had been attacked by brigands, robbed, beaten and left half dead by the wayside. Before the Samaritan arrived, a priest as well as a Levite had passed by, that is, two people associated with worship in the Lord’s Temple. They saw the poor man, but passed him by without stopping. Instead, when the Samaritan saw that man, “he had compassion” (Lk 10:33), the Gospel says. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; then he set him on his own mount, took him to an inn and paid for his board and lodging; in short, he took care of him: this is the example of love of neighbor. However, why does Jesus choose a Samaritan to play the lead in the parable? Because Samaritans were despised by Jews on account of their different religious traditions; and yet Jesus shows that the heart of that Samaritan was good and generous and that—unlike the priest and the Levite—he puts into practice the will of God who wants mercy rather than sacrifices (see Mk 12:33). God always wants mercy and does not condemn it in anyone. He wants heartfelt mercy because he is merciful and can understand well our misery, our difficulties and also our sins. He gives all of us this merciful heart of his! The Samaritan does precisely this: he really imitates the mercy of God, mercy for those in need.

A man who lived to the full this Gospel of the Good Samaritan is the Saint we are commemorating today: Saint Camillus de Lellis, Founder of the Clerks Regular Ministers to the Sick, Patron of ill people and health-care workers. Saint Camillus died on 14 July 1614: this very day his fourth centenary is being inaugurated and will end in a year. I greet with deep affection all the spiritual sons and daughters of Saint Camillus who live by his charism of charity in daily contact with the sick. Be “Good Samaritans” as he was! And I hope that doctors, nurses and all those who work in hospitals and clinics may also be inspired by the same spirit. Let us entrust this intention to the intercession of Mary Most Holy.

Moreover I would like to entrust another intention to Our Lady, together with you all. The World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro is now at hand. One can see that there are many young people here, but you are all young at heart! I shall leave in a week, but many young people will set out for Brazil even sooner. Let us therefore pray for this great pilgrimage which is beginning, that Our Lady of Aparecida, Patroness of Brazil, may guide the footsteps of the participants and open their hearts to accepting the mission that Christ will give them.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 13 July 2014

Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

This Sunday’s Gospel (Mt 13:1-23) shows us Jesus preaching on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, and because a large crowd surrounds him, He climbs into a boat, goes a little away from the shore and preaches from there. When he speaks to the people, Jesus uses many parables: in language understandable to everyone, with images from nature and from everyday situations.

The first story he tells is an introduction to all the parables: that of the sower, who sows his seed unsparingly on every type of soil. And the real protagonist of this parable is actually the seed, which produces more or less according to the type of soil upon which it falls. The first three areas are unproductive: along the path the seed is eaten by birds; on rocky ground the sprouts are scorched and wither away because they have no roots; among the briars the seed is choked by thorns. The fourth piece of ground is good soil, and only there does the seed take root and bear fruit.

In this case, Jesus does not limit himself to presenting this parable, he also explains it to his disciples. The seed fallen on the path stands for those who hear the message of the Kingdom of God but do not understand it; thus the evil one comes and snatches it away. Indeed, the evil one does not want the seed of the Gospel to sprout in the heart of man. This is the first analogy. The second is that of the seed fallen among the stones: this represents the people who hear the word of God and understand it immediately, but superficially, because they have no roots and they are unsettled; and when trials and tribulations arise, these people give up immediately. The third case is that of the seed fallen among the briars: Jesus explains that this refers to the people who hear the word but they, because of the cares of the world and the seduction of riches, are choked. Finally, the seed fallen on fertile soil represents those who hear the word, accept it, cherish it and understand it, and they bear fruit. The perfect model of this good soil is the Virgin Mary.

This parable speaks to each of us today, as it spoke to those who listened to Jesus 2,000 years ago. It reminds us that we are the soil where the Lord tirelessly sows the seed of his Word and of his love. How do we receive it? And we can ask ourselves: how is our heart? Which soil does it resemble: that of the path, the rocks, the thorns? It’s up to us to become good soil with neither thorns nor stones, but tilled and cultivated with care, so it may bear good fruit for us and for our brothers and sisters.

And it will do us good not to forget that we too are sowers. God sows good seed, and here too we can also ask ourselves: which type of seed comes out of our heart and our mouth? Our words can do much good and also much harm; they can heal and they can wound; they can encourage and they can dishearten. Remember: what counts is not what goes in but what comes out of the mouth and of the heart.

Our Lady teaches us, by her example, to understand the Word, cherish it and make it bear fruit in us and in others.


APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO ECUADOR, BOLIVIA AND PARAGUAY
(5-13 JULY 2015)

POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Asunción (Paraguay), Sunday, 12 July 2015

I thank the Archbishop of Asuncion, the Most Reverend Edmundo Ponziano Valenzuela Mellid, and the Orthodox Archbishop of South America, Tarasios, for their kind words.

At the end of this celebration we look with trust to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother. She is the gift that Jesus gives to his people. He gave her to us as our Mother at the hour of his cross and suffering. She is the fruit of Christ’s sacrifice for us. And from that moment, Mary has always been, and will always be, with her children, especially the poor and those most in need.

Mary has become part of the tapestry of human history, of our lands and peoples. As in so many other countries of Latin America, the faith of the Paraguayan people is imbued with love of the Virgin Mary. They approach their mother with confidence, they open their hearts and entrust to her their joys and sorrows, their aspirations and sufferings. Our Lady consoles them and with tender love fills them with hope. They never cease to turn with trust to Mary, mother of mercy for each and every one of her children.

I also ask the Blessed Mother, who persevered in prayer with the Apostles as they waited for the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:13-14), to watch over the Church and strengthen her members in fraternal love. With Mary’s help, may the Church be a home for all, a welcoming home, a mother for all peoples.

Dear brothers and sisters: I ask you please not to forget to pray for me. I know very well how much the Pope is loved in Paraguay. I also keep you in my heart and I pray for you and your country.

Let us now join in praying the Angelus to the Blessed Virgin.


APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO ECUADOR, BOLIVIA AND PARAGUAY
(5-13 JULY 2015)

HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS

Asunción (Paraguay), Sunday, 12 July 2015

“The Lord will shower down blessings, and our land will yield its increase.” These are the words of the Psalm. We are invited to celebrate this mysterious communion between God and his People, between God and us. The rain is a sign of his presence, in the earth tilled by our hands. It reminds us that our communion with God always brings forth fruit, always gives life. This confidence is born of faith, from knowing that we depend on grace, which will always transform and nourish our land.

It is a confidence which is learned, which is taught. A confidence nurtured within a community, in the life of a family. A confidence which radiates from the faces of all those people who encourage us to follow Jesus, to be disciples of the One who can never deceive. A disciple knows that he or she is called to have this confidence; we feel Jesus’s invitation to be his friend, to share his lot, his very life. “No longer do I call you servants, but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” The disciples are those who learn how to live trusting in the friendship offered by Jesus.

The Gospel speaks to us of this kind of discipleship. It shows us the identity card of the Christian. Our calling card, our credentials.

Jesus calls his disciples and sends them out, giving them clear and precise instructions. He challenges them to take on a whole range of attitudes and ways of acting. Sometimes these can strike us as exaggerated or even absurd. It would be easier to interpret these attitudes symbolically or “spiritually.” But Jesus is quite precise, very clear. He doesn’t tell them simply to do whatever they think they can.

Let us think about some of these attitudes: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money.” “When you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place” (see Mk 6:8-11). All this might seem quite unrealistic.

We could concentrate on the words, “bread,” “money,” “bag,” “staff,” “sandals,” and “tunic.” And this would be fine. But it strikes me that one key word can easily pass unnoticed among the challenging words I have just listed. It is a word at the heart of Christian spirituality, of our experience of discipleship: “welcome.” Jesus as the good master, the good teacher, sends them out to be welcomed, to experience hospitality. He says to them: “Where you enter a house, stay there.” He sends them out to learn one of the hallmarks of the community of believers. We might say that a Christian is someone who has learned to welcome others, who has learned to show hospitality.

Jesus does not send them out as men of influence, landlords, officials armed with rules and regulations. Instead, he makes them see that the Christian journey is simply about changing hearts. One’s own heart first all, and then helping to transform the hearts of others. It is about learning to live differently, under a different law, with different rules. It is about turning from the path of selfishness, conflict, division and superiority, and taking instead the path of life, generosity and love. It is about passing from a mentality which domineers, stifles and manipulates to a mentality which welcomes, accepts and cares.

These are two contrasting mentalities, two ways of approaching our life and our mission.

How many times do we see mission in terms of plans and programs. How many times do we see evangelization as involving any number of strategies, tactics, maneuvers, techniques, as if we could convert people on the basis of our own arguments. Today the Lord says to us quite clearly: in the mentality of the Gospel, you do not convince people with arguments, strategies or tactics. You convince them by simply learning how to welcome them.

The Church is a mother with an open heart. She knows how to welcome and accept, especially those in need of greater care, those in greater difficulty. The Church, as desired by Jesus, is the home of hospitality. And how much good we can do, if only we try to speak this language of hospitality, this language of receiving and welcoming. How much pain can be soothed, how much despair can be allayed in a place where we feel at home! This requires open doors, especially the doors of our heart. Welcoming the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner (Mt 25:34-37), the leper and the paralytic. Welcoming those who do not think as we do, who do not have faith or who have lost it. And sometimes, we are to blame. Welcoming the persecuted, the unemployed. Welcoming the different cultures, of which our earth is so richly blessed. Welcoming sinners, because each one of us is also a sinner.

So often we forget that there is an evil underlying our sins, that precedes our sins. There is a bitter root which causes damage, great damage, and silently destroys so many lives. There is an evil which, bit by bit, finds a place in our hearts and eats away at our life: it is isolation. Isolation which can have many roots, many causes. How much it destroys our life and how much harm it does us. It makes us turn our back on others, God, the community. It makes us closed in on ourselves. From here we see that the real work of the Church, our mother, should not be mainly about managing works and projects, but rather about learning to experience fraternity with others. A welcome-filled fraternity is the best witness that God is our Father, for “by this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).

In this way, Jesus teaches us a new way of thinking. He opens before us a horizon brimming with life, beauty, truth and fulfillment.

God never closes off horizons; he is never unconcerned about the lives and sufferings of his children. God never allows himself to be outdone in generosity. So he sends us his Son, he gives him to us, he hands him over, he shares him, so that we can learn the way of fraternity, of self-giving. In a definitive way, he opens up a new horizon; he is a new word which sheds light on so many situations of exclusion, disintegration, loneliness and isolation. He is a word which breaks the silence of loneliness.

And when we are weary or worn down by our efforts to evangelize, it is good to remember that the life which Jesus holds out to us responds to the deepest needs of people. “We were created for what the Gospel offers us: friendship with Jesus and love of our brothers and sisters” (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 265).

On thing is sure: we cannot force anyone to receive us, to welcome us; this is itself part of our poverty and freedom. But neither can anyone force us not to be welcoming, hospitable in the lives of our people. No one can tell us not to accept and embrace the lives of our brothers and sisters, especially those who have lost hope and zest for life. How good it would be to think of our parishes, communities, chapels, wherever there are Christians, with open doors, true centers of encounter between ourselves and God.

The Church is a mother, like Mary. In her, we have a model. We too must provide a home, like Mary, who did not lord it over the word of God, but rather welcomed that word, bore it in her womb and gave it to others.

We too must provide a home, like the earth, which does not choke the seed, but receives it, nourishes it and makes it grow.

That is how we want to be Christians, that is how we want to live the faith on this Paraguayan soil, like Mary, accepting and welcoming God’s life in our brothers and sisters, in confidence and with the certainty that “the Lord will shower down blessings, and our land will yield its increase.” May it be so.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 10 July 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today’s liturgy presents us with the parable of the “Good Samaritan,” taken from the Gospel of Luke (10:25-37). This passage, this simple and inspiring story, indicates a way of life, which has as its main point not ourselves, but others, with their difficulties, whom we encounter on our journey and who challenge us. Others challenge us. And when others do not challenge us, something is not right; something in the heart is not Christian. Jesus uses this parable in his dialogue with a lawyer when asked about the twofold commandment that allows us to enter into eternal life: to love God with your whole heart and your neighbor as yourself (see vv. 25-28). “Yes,” the lawyer replies, “but, tell me, who is my neighbor?” (v. 29). We too can ask ourselves this question: Who is my neighbor? Who must I love as myself? My parents? My friends? My fellow countrymen? Those who belong to my religion? Who is my neighbor?

Jesus responds with this parable. A man, along the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, was attacked, beaten and abandoned by robbers. Along that road, a priest passed by, then a Levite, and upon seeing this wounded man, they did not stop, but walked straight past him (vv. 31-32). Then a Samaritan came by, that is, a resident of Samaria, a man who was therefore despised by the Jews because he did not practice the true religion; and yet he, upon seeing that poor wretched man, “had compassion. He went to him, bandaged his wounds [...], brought him to an inn and took care of him” (vv. 33-34); and the next day he entrusted him to the care of the innkeeper, paid for him and said that he would pay for any further costs (see v. 35).

At this point, Jesus turns to the lawyer and asks him: “Which of these three—the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan—do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell victim to the robbers?” And the lawyer, of course—because he was intelligent—said in reply: “The one who had compassion on him” (vv. 36-37). In this way, Jesus completely overturned the lawyer’s initial perspective (as well as our own!): I must not categorize others in order to decide who is my neighbor and who is not. It is up to me whether to be a neighbor or not—the decision is mine—it is up to me whether or not to be a neighbor to those whom I encounter who need help, even if they are strangers or perhaps hostile. And Jesus concludes, saying: “Go and do likewise” (v. 37). What a great lesson! And he repeats it to each of us: “Go and do likewise,” be a neighbor to the brother or sister whom you see in trouble. “Go and do likewise.” Do good works, don’t just say words that are gone with the wind. A song comes to mind: “Words, words, words.” No. Works, works. And through the good works that we carry out with love and joy towards others, our faith emerges and bears fruit. Let us ask ourselves—each of us responding in his own heart—let us ask ourselves: Is our faith fruitful? Does our faith produce good works? Or is it sterile instead, and therefore more dead than alive? Do I act as a neighbor or simply pass by? Am I one of those who selects people according to my own liking? It is good to ask ourselves these questions, and to ask them often, because in the end we will be judged on the works of mercy. The Lord will say to us: Do you remember that time on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho? That man who was half dead was me. Do you remember? That hungry child was me. Do you remember? That immigrant who many wanted to drive away, that was me. That grandparent who was alone, abandoned in nursing homes, that was me. That sick man, alone in the hospital, who no one visited, that was me.

May the Virgin Mary help us to walk along the path of love, love that is generous towards others, the way of the Good Samaritan. My she help us to live the first commandment that Christ left us. This is the way to enter into eternal life.

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


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For reflections on the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time
 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.


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Monday, July 3, 2017

0540: Reflections on the 14th Sunday
of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis



Entry 0540: Reflections on the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time   

 by Pope Francis 


On three occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 7 July 2013, 6 July 2014, and 3 July 2016. Here are the texts of three brief addresses prior the recitation of the Angelus and a homily delivered on these occasions.


POPE FRANCIS


ANGELUS


Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 7 July 2013


Dear Brothers and Sisters! Good morning!


First of all I would like to share with you the joy of having met, yesterday and today, a special pilgrimage for the Year of Faith of seminarians and novices. I ask you to pray for them, that love of Christ may always grow in their lives and that they may become true missionaries of the Kingdom of God.


The Gospel this Sunday (Lk 10:1-12, 17-20) speaks to us about this: the fact that Jesus is not a lone missionary, he does not want to fulfill his mission alone, but involves his disciples. And today we see that in addition to the twelve Apostles he calls another 72, and sends them to the villages, two by two, to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. This is very beautiful! Jesus does not want to act alone, he came to bring the love of God into the world and he wants to spread it in the style of communion, in the style of brotherhood. That is why he immediately forms a community of disciples, which is a missionary community. He trains them straight away for the mission, to go forth.


But pay attention: their purpose is not to socialize, to spend time together, no, their purpose is to proclaim the Kingdom of God, and this is urgent! And it is still urgent today! There is no time to be lost in gossip, there is no need to wait for everyone’s consensus, what is necessary is to go out and proclaim. To all people you bring the peace of Christ, and if they do not welcome it, you go ahead just the same. To the sick you bring healing, because God wants to heal man of every evil. How many missionaries do this, they sow life, health, comfort to the outskirts of the world. How beautiful it is! Do not live for yourselves, do not live for yourselves, but live to go forth and do good! There are many young people today in the Square: think of this, ask yourselves this: is Jesus calling me to go forth, to come out of myself to do good? To you, young people, to you boys and girls I ask: you, are you brave enough for this, do you have the courage to hear the voice of Jesus? It is beautiful to be missionaries! Ah, you are good! I like this!


These 72 disciples, whom Jesus sent out ahead of him, who were they? Who do they represent? If the Twelve were the Apostles, and also thus represent the Bishops, their successors, these 72 could represent the other ordained ministries, priests and deacons; but more broadly we can think of the other ministries in the Church, of catechists, of the lay faithful who engage in parish missions, of those who work with the sick, with different kinds of disadvantaged and marginalized people; but always as missionaries of the Gospel, with the urgency of the Kingdom that is close at hand. Everyone must be a missionary, everyone can hear that call of Jesus and go forth and proclaim the Kingdom!


The Gospel says that those 72 came back from their mission full of joy, because they had experienced the power of Christ’s Name over evil. Jesus says it: to these disciples He gives the power to defeat the evil one. But he adds: “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Lk 10:20). We should not boast as if we were the protagonists: there is only one protagonist, it is the Lord! The Lord’s grace is the protagonist! He is the one hero! And our joy is just this: to be his disciples, his friends. May Our Lady help us to be good agents of the Gospel.


Dear friends, be glad! Do not be afraid of being joyful! Don’t be afraid of joy! That joy which the Lord gives us when we allow him to enter our life. Let us allow him to enter our lives and invite us to go out to the margins of life and proclaim the Gospel. Don’t be afraid of joy. Have joy and courage!



HOLY MASS WITH SEMINARIANS, NOVICES AND THOSE DISCERNING THEIR VOCATION


HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS


Vatican Basilica, Sunday, 7 July 2013


Dear Brothers and Sisters,


Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting you, and today our joy is even greater, because we have gathered for the Eucharist on the Lord’s Day. You are seminarians, novices, young people on a vocational journey, from every part of the world. You represent the Church’s youth! If the Church is the Bride of Christ, you in a certain sense represent the moment of betrothal, the Spring of vocation, the season of discovery, assessment, formation. And it is a very beautiful season, in which foundations are laid for the future. Thank you for coming!


Today the word of God speaks to us of mission. Where does mission originate? The answer is simple: it originates from a call, the Lord’s call, and when he calls people, he does so with a view to sending them out. How is the one sent out meant to live? What are the reference points of Christian mission? The readings we have heard suggest three: the joy of consolation, the Cross and prayer.


1. The first element: the joy of consolation. The prophet Isaiah is addressing a people that has been through a dark period of exile, a very difficult trial. But now the time of consolation has come for Jerusalem; sadness and fear must give way to joy: “Rejoice, be glad, rejoice with her in joy,” says the prophet (66:10). It is a great invitation to joy. Why? What is the reason for this invitation to joy? Because the Lord is going to pour out over the Holy City and its inhabitants a “cascade” of consolation, a veritable overflow of consolation—such that it will be overcome—a cascade of maternal tenderness: “You shall be carried upon her hip and dandled upon her knees” (vv. 12). As when a mother takes her child upon her knee and caresses him or her: so the Lord will do and does with us. This is the cascade of tenderness which gives us much consolation. “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you” (v. 13). Every Christian, and especially you and I, is called to be a bearer of this message of hope that gives serenity and joy: God’s consolation, his tenderness towards all. But if we first experience the joy of being consoled by him, of being loved by him, then we can bring that joy to others. This is important if our mission is to be fruitful: to feel God’s consolation and to pass it on to others! I have occasionally met consecrated persons who are afraid of the consolations of God, and the poor things, they were tormented, because they are of this divine tenderness. But be not afraid. Do not be afraid, because the Lord is the Lord of consolation, he is the Lord of tenderness. The Lord is a Father and he says that he will be for us like a mother with her baby, with a mother’s tenderness. Do not be afraid of the consolations of the Lord. Isaiah’s invitation must resound in our hearts: “Comfort, comfort my people” (40:1) and this must lead to mission. We must find the Lord who consoles us and go to console the people of God. This is the mission. People today certainly need words, but most of all they need us to bear witness to the mercy and tenderness of the Lord, which warms the heart, rekindles hope, and attracts people towards the good. What a joy it is to bring God’s consolation to others!


2. The second reference point of mission is the Cross of Christ. Saint Paul, writing to the Galatians, says: “Far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (6:14). And he speaks of the “marks of Jesus,” that is, the wounds of the crucified Lord, as a countersign, as the distinctive mark of his life as an Apostle of the Gospel. In his ministry Paul experienced suffering, weakness and defeat, but also joy and consolation. This is the Paschal mystery of Jesus: the mystery of death and resurrection. And it was precisely by letting himself be conformed to the death of Jesus that Saint Paul became a sharer in his resurrection, in his victory. In the hour of darkness, in the hour of trial, the dawn of light and salvation is already present and operative. The Paschal mystery is the beating heart of the Church’s mission! And if we remain within this mystery, we are sheltered both from a worldly and triumphalistic view of mission and from the discouragement that can result from trials and failures. Pastoral fruitfulness, the fruitfulness of the Gospel proclamation is measured neither by success nor by failure according to the criteria of human evaluation, but by becoming conformed to the logic of the Cross of Jesus, which is the logic of stepping outside oneself and spending oneself, the logic of love. It is the Cross—always the Cross that is present with Christ, because at times we are offered the Cross without Christ: this has not purpose!—it is the Cross, and always the Cross with Christ, which guarantees the fruitfulness of our mission. And it is from the Cross, the supreme act of mercy and love, that we are reborn as a “new creation” (Gal 6:15).


3. Finally the third element: prayer. In the Gospel we heard: “Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest, to send out laborers into his harvest” (Lk 10:2). The laborers for the harvest are not chosen through advertising campaigns or appeals of service and generosity, but they are “chosen” and “sent” by God. It is he who chooses, it is he who sends, it is Lord who sends, it is he who gives the mission. For this, prayer is important. The Church, as Benedict XVI has often reiterated, is not ours, but God’s; and how many times do we, consecrated men and women, think that the Church is ours! We make of it something that we invent in our minds. But it is not ours! it is God’s. The field to be cultivated is his. The mission is grace. And if the Apostle is born of prayer, he finds in prayer the light and strength of his action. Our mission ceases to bear fruit, indeed, it is extinguished the moment the link with its source, with the Lord, is interrupted.


Dear seminarians, dear novices, dear young people discerning your vocations. One of you, one of your formators, said to me the other days, “evangelizer, on le fait à genoux” “evangelization is done on one’s knees.” Listen well: “evangelization is done on one’s knees.” Without a constant relationship with God, the mission becomes a job. But for what do you work? As a tailor, a cook a priest, is your job being a priest, being a sister? No. It is not a job, but rather something else. The risk of activism, of relying too much on structures, is an ever-present danger. If we look towards Jesus, we see that prior to any important decision or event he recollected himself in intense and prolonged prayer. Let us cultivate the contemplative dimension, even amid the whirlwind of more urgent and heavy duties. And the more the mission calls you to go out to the margins of existence, let your heart be the more closely united to Christ’s heart, full of mercy and love. Herein lies the secret of pastoral fruitfulness, of the fruitfulness of a disciple of the Lord!


Jesus sends his followers out with no “purse, no bag, no sandals” (Lk 10:4). The spread of the Gospel is not guaranteed either by the number of persons, or by the prestige of the institution, or by the quantity of available resources. What counts is to be permeated by the love of Christ, to let oneself be led by the Holy Spirit and to graft one’s own life onto the tree of life, which is the Lord’s Cross.


Dear friends, with great confidence I entrust you to the intercession of Mary Most Holy. She is the Mother who helps us to take life decisions freely and without fear. May she help you to bear witness to the joy of God’s consolation, without being afraid of joy, she will help you to conform yourselves to the logic of love of the Cross, to grow in ever deeper union with the Lord in prayer. Then your lives will be rich and fruitful! Amen.



POPE FRANCIS


ANGELUS


Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 6 July 2014


Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!


In this Sunday’s Gospel, we find Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28). When Jesus says this, he has before him the people he meets every day on the streets of Galilee: very many simple people, the poor, the sick, sinners, those who are marginalized. These people always followed him to hear his word—a word that gave hope! Jesus’ words always give hope!—and even just to touch a hem of his garment. Jesus himself sought out these tired, worn out crowds like sheep without a shepherd (see Mt 9:35-36), and he sought them out to proclaim to them the Kingdom of God and to heal many of them in body and spirit. Now he calls them all to himself: “Come to me,” and he promises them relief and rest.


This invitation of Jesus reaches to our day, and extends to the many brothers and sisters oppressed by life’s precarious conditions, by existential and difficult situations and at times lacking valid points of reference. In the poorest countries, but also on the outskirts of the richest countries, there are so many weary people, worn out under the unbearable weight of neglect and indifference. Indifference: human indifference causes the needy so much pain! And worse, the indifference of Christians! On the fringes of society so many men and women are tried by indigence, but also by dissatisfaction with life and by frustration. So many are forced to emigrate from their homeland, risking their lives. Many more, every day, carry the weight of an economic system that exploits human beings, imposing on them an unbearable “yoke,” which the few privileged do not want to bear. To each of these children of the Father in heaven, Jesus repeats: “Come to me, all of you.” But he also says it to those who have everything, but whose heart is empty and without God. Even to them, Jesus addresses this invitation: “Come to me.” Jesus’ invitation is for everyone. But especially for those who suffer the most.


Jesus promises to give rest to everyone, but he also gives us an invitation, which is like a commandment: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:29). The “yoke” of the Lord consists in taking on the burden of others with fraternal love. Once Christ’s comfort and rest is received, we are called in turn to become rest and comfort for our brothers and sisters, with a docile and humble attitude, in imitation of the Teacher. Docility and humility of heart help us not only to take on the burden of others, but also to keep our personal views, our judgments, our criticism or our indifference from weighing on them.


Let us invoke Mary Most Holy, who welcomes under her mantle all the tired and worn out people, so that through an enlightened faith, witnessed in life, we can offer relief for so many in need of help, of tenderness, of hope.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 3 July 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today’s Gospel passage, taken from the tenth Chapter of the Gospel of Luke (vv. 1-12, 17-20), makes us consider how necessary it is to invoke God, “the Lord of harvest to send out laborers” (v. 2). The “laborers” whom Jesus speaks of are the missionaries of the Kingdom of God, whom he himself calls and sends on “ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to come” (v. 1). Their task is to proclaim a message of salvation addressed to everyone. Missionaries always proclaim a message of salvation to everyone; not only those missionaries who go afar, but we too, [are] Christian missionaries who express a good word of salvation. This is the gift that Jesus gives us with the Holy Spirit. This message is to say: “The kingdom of God has come near to you” (v. 9), because God has “come near” to us through Jesus; God became one of us; in Jesus, God reigns in our midst, his merciful love overcomes sin and human misery.

This is the Good News that the “laborers” must bring to everyone: a message of hope and comfort, of peace and charity. When Jesus sends the disciples ahead of him into the villages, he tells them: “first, say ‘Peace be to this house!’; heal the sick in it” (vv. 5, 9). All of this signifies that the Kingdom of God is built day by day and already offers on this earth its fruits of conversion, of purification, of love and of comfort among men. It is a beautiful thing! Building day by day this Kingdom of God that is to be made. Do not destroy, build!

With what spirit must disciples of Jesus carry out this mission? First of all they must be aware of the difficult and sometimes hostile reality that awaits them. Jesus minces no words about this! Jesus says: “I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves” (v. 3). This is very clear. Hostility is always at the beginning of persecutions of Christians; because Jesus knows that the mission is blocked by the work of evil. For this reason, the laborer of the Gospel will strive to be free from every kind of human conditioning, carrying neither purse nor bag nor sandals (see v. 4), as Jesus counseled, so as to place reliance solely in the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ. This means abandoning every motive of personal advantage, careerism or hunger for power, and humbly making ourselves instruments of the salvation carried out by Jesus’ sacrifice.

A Christian’s mission in the world is splendid, it is a mission intended for everyone, it is a mission of service, excluding no one; it requires a great deal of generosity and above all setting one’s gaze and heart facing on High, to invoke the Lord’s help. There is a great need for Christians who joyfully witness to the Gospel in everyday life. The disciples, sent out by Jesus, “returned with joy” (v. 17). When we do this, our heart fills with joy. This expression makes me think of how much the Church rejoices, she revels when her children receive the Good News thanks to the dedication of so many men and women who daily proclaim the Gospel: priests—those brave parish priests whom we all know—nuns, consecrated women, missionary men and women. I ask myself—listen to the question: how many of you young people who are now present today in the Square, hear the Lord’s call to follow him? Fear not! Be courageous and bring to others this guiding light of apostolic zeal that these exemplary disciples have given to us.

Let us pray to the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, that the Church may never lack generous hearts that work to bring everyone the love and kindness of our heavenly Father.

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


* * * * *

For reflections on the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time
 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.


* * * * *