Entry 0512: Reflections on the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
by Pope Francis
On three occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 9 February 2014, 8 February 2015 and 7 February 2016. Here are the texts of the three reflections prior to the recitation of the Angelus and a homily delivered on these occasions.
Today’s Gospel challenges us: do we know how to truly trust in the Word of the Lord? Or do we let ourselves become discouraged by our failures? In this Holy Year of Mercy we are called to comfort those who feel they are sinners, unworthy before the Lord, defeated by their mistakes, by speaking to them the very words of Jesus: “Do not be afraid. The Father’s mercy is greater than your sins! It is greater, do not be afraid!” May the Virgin Mary help us to ever better understand that being disciples means placing our feet in the footsteps left by the Master: they are the footprints of divine grace that restore life for all.
Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 9 February 2014
Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
In this Sunday’s Gospel passage, immediately after the Beatitudes, Jesus says to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world’ (see Mt 5:13-14). This surprises us a bit when we think of those who were before Jesus when he spoke these words. Who were these disciples? They were fishermen, simple people. But Jesus sees them with God’s eyes, and his assertion can be understood precisely as a result of the Beatitudes. He wishes to say: if you are poor in spirit, if you are meek, if you are pure of heart, if you are merciful, you will be the salt of the earth and the light of the world!
To better understand these images, we must keep in mind that Jewish Law prescribed that a little bit of salt be sprinkled over every offering presented to God, as a sign of the covenant. Light for
Israel was a symbol of messianic revelation, triumph
over the darkness of paganism. Christians, the new Israel, receive a mission to carry into
the world for all men: through faith and charity they can guide, consecrate, and
make humanity fruitful. We who are baptized Christians are missionary disciples
and we are called to become a living Gospel in the world: with a holy life we will
‘flavor’ different environments and defend them from decay, as salt does; and we
will carry the light of Christ through the witness of genuine charity. But if we
Christians lose this flavor and do not live as salt and light, we lose our effectiveness.
This mission of giving light to the world is so beautiful! We have this mission,
and it is beautiful! It is also beautiful to keep the light we have received from
Jesus, protecting it and safeguarding it. The Christian should be a luminous person;
one who brings light, who always gives off light! A light that is not his, but a
gift from God, a gift from Jesus. We carry this light. If a Christian extinguishes
this light, his life has no meaning: he is a Christian by name only, who does not
carry light; his life has no meaning. I would like to ask you now, how do you want
to live? As a lamp that is burning or one that is not? Burning or not? How would
you like to live? [The people respond: Burning!] As burning lamps! It is truly God
who gives us this light and we must give it to others. Shining lamps! This is the
Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 8 February 2015
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning,
Today’s Gospel (see Mk 1:29-39) presents us Jesus who, after having preached in the Synagogue on the Sabbath, heals many sick people. Preaching and healing: this was Jesus’ principle activity in his public ministry. With his preaching he proclaims the
Kingdom of God,
and with his healing he shows that it is near, that the is
in our midst. Kingdom of God
Entering the house of Simon Peter, Jesus sees that his mother-in-law is in bed with a fever; he immediately takes her by the hand, heals her, and raises her. After sunset, since the Sabbath is over the people can go out and bring the sick to Him; He heals a multitude of people afflicted with maladies of every kind: physical, psychological, and spiritual. Having come to earth to proclaim and to realize the salvation of the whole man and of all people, Jesus shows a particular predilection for those who are wounded in body and in spirit: the poor, the sinners, the possessed, the sick, the marginalized. Thus, He reveals Himself as a doctor both of souls and of bodies, the Good Samaritan of man. He is the true Savior: Jesus saves, Jesus cures, Jesus heals.
The reality of Christ’s healing of the sick invites us to reflect on the meaning and virtue of illness. This also reminds us of the World Day of the Sick, which we shall celebrate on Wednesday, 11 February, the liturgical memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes. I bless the initiatives prepared for this Day, in particular the Vigil that will take place in
Rome on the evening of 10 February. Let us also remember
the President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (Health Pastoral
Care), Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, who is very sick in Poland. A prayer for him, for his health,
because it was he who organized this Day, and he accompanies us in his suffering
on this Day. Let us pray for Archbishop Zimowski.
The salvific work of Christ is not exhausted with his Person and in the span of his earthly life; it continues through the Church, the sacrament of God’s love and tenderness for mankind. In sending his disciples on mission, Jesus confers a double mandate on them: to proclaim the Gospel of salvation and to heal the sick (see Mt 10:7-8). Faithful to this teaching, the Church has always considered caring for the sick an integral part of her mission.
‘The poor and the suffering you will always have with you,’ Jesus admonishes (see Mt 26:11), and the Church continually finds them along her path, considering those who are sick as a privileged way to encounter Christ, to welcome and serve him. To treat the sick, to welcome them, to serve them, is to serve Christ: the sick are the flesh of Christ.
This also occurs in our own time, when, notwithstanding the many scientific break-throughs, the interior and physical suffering of people raises serious questions about the meaning of illness and pain, and about the reason for death. They are existential questions, to which the pastoral action of the Church must respond with the light of faith, having before her eyes the Crucifixion, in which appears the whole of the salvific mystery of God the Father, who out of love for human beings did not spare his own Son (see Rm 8:32). Therefore, each one of us is called to bear the light of the Word of God and the power of grace to those who suffer, and to those who assist them—family, doctors, nurses—so that the service to the sick might always be better accomplished with more humanity, with generous dedication, with evangelical love, with tenderness.
through our hands, caresses our suffering and treats our wounds, and does so with
the tenderness of a mother. Mother Church
Let us pray to Mary, Health of the Sick, that every person who is sick might experience, thanks to the care of those who are close to them, the power of God’s love and the comfort of her maternal tenderness.
VISIT TO THE ROMAN PARISH
SAN MICHELE ARCANGELO A PIETRALATA
HOMILY OF POPE FRANCIS
Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time, 8 February 2015
This is what Jesus’ life was like: ‘he went throughout all
in their synagogues and casting out demons’ (Mk 1:39). Jesus who preaches and Jesus
who heals. The whole day was like this: preaching to the people, teaching the Law,
teaching the Gospel. And the people look for Him to listen to Him and also because
He heals the sick. ‘That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick
or possessed with demons. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases,
and cast out many demons’ (Mk 1:32, 34). And we are before Jesus in this celebration:
Jesus is the One who presides at this celebration. We are priests in the name of
Jesus, but He is the President, He is the true Priest, who offers the sacrifice
to the Father. We could ask ourselves whether we let Jesus preach to us. Each one
of us: ‘Do I let Jesus preach to me, or I know all? Do I listen to Jesus or do I
prefer to listen to something else, perhaps people’s gossip, or stories.’ Listening
to Jesus. Listening to Jesus’ preaching. ‘How can I do this, Father? On which TV
channel does Jesus speak?’ He speaks to you in the Gospel! And this is an attitude
that we still do not have: to go to seek the word of Jesus in the Gospel. To always
carry a Gospel with us, a small one, or to have one at our fingertips. Five minutes,
10 minutes. When I am traveling or when I have to wait, I take the Gospel from my
pocket, or from my bag and I read something; or at home. And Jesus speaks to me,
Jesus preaches to me there. It is the Word of Jesus. And we have to get accustomed
to this: to hear the Word of Jesus, to listen to the Word of Jesus in the Gospel.
To read a passage, think a bit about what it says, what it is saying to me. If I
don’t feel it is speaking to me, I move to another. But to have this daily contact
with the Gospel, to pray with the Gospel; because this way Jesus preaches to me,
He says with the Gospel what He wants to tell me. I know people who always carry
it and when they have a little time they open it, and this way they always find
the right word for the moment they are living in. This is the first thing I wanted
to say to you: let the Lord preach to you. Listen to the Lord.
And Jesus heals: let yourselves be healed by Jesus. We all have wounds, everyone: spiritual wounds, sins, hostility, jealousy; perhaps we don’t say hello to someone: ‘Ah, he did this to me, I won’t acknowledge him anymore.’ But this needs to be healed! ‘How do I do it? Pray and ask that Jesus heal it.’ It’s sad in a family when siblings don’t speak to each other for a small matter; because the devil takes a small matter and makes a world of it. Then hostilities go on, often times for many years, and that family is destroyed. Parents suffer because their children don’t speak to each other, or one son’s wife doesn’t speak to the other, and thus, with jealousy, envy. The devil sows this. And the only One who casts out demons is Jesus. The only One who heals these matters is Jesus. For this reason I say to each one of you: let yourself be healed by Jesus. Each one knows where his wounds are. Each one of us has them; we don’t have only one: two, three, four, 20. Each one knows! May Jesus heal those wounds. But for this I must open my heart, in order that He may come. How do I open my heart? By praying. ‘But Lord, I can’t with those people over there. I hate them. They did this, this and this.’ ‘Heal this wound, Lord.’ If we ask Jesus for this grace, He will do it. Let yourself be healed by Jesus. Let Jesus heal you. Let Jesus preach to you and let Him heal you. This way I can even preach to others, to teach the words of Jesus, because I let Him preach to me; and I can also help heal many wounds, the many wounds that there are. But first I have to do it: let Him preach to me and heal me.
When the bishop comes to make a visit to the parishes, we do many things. We can also make a nice proposal, a small one: the proposal to read a passage of the Gospel every day, a short passage, in order to let Jesus preach to me. And the other proposal: to pray that I let myself be healed of the wounds I have. Agreed? Shall we sign? Okay? Let’s do it, because this will be good for everyone. Thank you.
Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 7 February 2016
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
This Sunday’s Gospel tells us—in St Luke’s narrative—of the call of Jesus’ first disciples (5:1-11). The event takes place in the context of everyday life: there are several fishermen on the shore of the
, who, after working all night and
catching nothing, are washing and arranging their nets. Jesus gets into one of the
boats, that of Simon, called Peter, whom he asks to put out a little from the shore,
and he starts to preach the Word of God to the crowd of people who had gathered.
When he is finished speaking, he tells them to put out into the deep and cast the
nets. Simon had previously met Jesus and felt the prodigious power of his word.
Therefore, he responds: “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your
word I will let down the nets” (v. 5). And this faith of his did not disappoint:
indeed, the nets filled with so many fish that they nearly broke (see v. 6). Facing
this extraordinary event, the fishermen are greatly astonished. Simon Peter throws
himself at Jesus’ feet, saying: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord”
(v. 8). That prodigious sign convinces him that Jesus is not only a formidable master
whose word is true and powerful, but he is the Lord, he is the manifestation of
God. For Peter this close presence brings about a strong sense of his own pettiness
and unworthiness. From a human point of view, he thinks that there should be distance
between the sinner and the Holy One. In truth, his very condition as a sinner requires
that the Lord not distance Himself from him, in the same way that a doctor cannot
distance himself from those who are sick. lake of Galilee
Jesus’ response to Simon Peter is reassuring and decisive: “Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men” (v. 10). Once again the fisherman of
his trust in this word, leaves everything and follows the one who has become his
Lord and Master. Simon’s workmates, James and John, do the same. This is the logic
that guides Jesus’ mission and the mission of the Church: go in search, “fish” for
men and women, not to proselytize, but to restore full dignity and freedom to all,
through the forgiveness of sins. This is the essential point of Christianity: to
spread the free and regenerative love of God, with a welcoming and merciful attitude
toward everyone, so that each person can encounter God’s tenderness and have the
fullness of life. Here, in a particular way, I think of confessors: they are the
first who must give the Father’s mercy, following Jesus’ example, as did the two
holy Brothers, Fr Leopold and Padre Pio.
© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana
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For reflections on the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.
* * * * *
For reflections on the Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time
by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.
* * * * *