VATICAN CITY, FEBRUARY 4, 2018 (Zenit.org).- Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
This Sunday’s Gospel continues the description of a day of Jesus at Capernaum, on a Sabbath, weekly feast of the Jews (Cf. Mark 1:21-39). This time the evangelist Mark highlights the relation between Jesus’ miraculous activity and the awakening of faith in the persons He encounters. In fact, with the signs of healing He carries out for the sick of all sorts, the Lord wishes to arouse faith as response.
Jesus’ day at Capernaum begins with the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law and ends with the scene of the people of the whole town that huddle in front of the house where He was lodging, to bring all the sick to Him. The crowd, marked by physical sufferings and spiritual miseries, constitutes, so to speak, “the vital environment” in which Jesus’ mission is carried out, made up of words and gestures that heal and console. Jesus didn’t come to bring salvation in a laboratory. He doesn’t do laboratory preaching, detached from the people: He is in the midst of the crowd! In the midst of the people! Think that the greater part of Jesus’ public life is spent on the road, amid the people, to preach the Gospel, to heal physical and spiritual wounds. It’s a humanity furrowed by sufferings, this crowd, of which the Gospel speaks many times. It’s a humanity furrowed by sufferings, toil, and trouble: directed to this poor humanity is the powerful, liberating and renewing action of Jesus. So, that Sabbath ends in the late evening in the midst of the crowd. And what does Jesus do afterward?
Before dawn of the following day, He goes out, unseen, by the gate of the city and retires to a place apart to pray. Jesus prays. Thus He even subtracts His person and His mission from a triumphalist vision, which misunderstands the meaning of the miracles and of His charismatic power. The miracles, in fact, are “signs,” which invite to a response of faith; signs that are always accompanied by words, which illuminate them and, at the same time, signs and words that cause faith and conversion by the divine strength of Christ’s grace.
The conclusion of today’s passage (vv. 35-39) indicates that the proclamation of the Kingdom of God by Jesus finds its most proper place on the road. To the disciples seeking Him to take Him back to the city – the disciples went to find Him where He was praying and wanted to take him back to the city –, what does Jesus answer?: “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also” (v. 38). This was the way of the Son of God and this will be the way of His disciples. The road, as place of the happy proclamation of the Gospel, puts the Church’s mission under the sign of “going forth,” of the road, under the sign of “movement” and never of a static nature.
May the Virgin Mary help us to be open to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who pushes the Church ever more to pitch her tent amid the people to take to all the healing word of Jesus, doctor of souls and bodies.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Vigevano was the youth Teresio Olivelli, killed for his Christian faith in 1945 in the Hersbruck lager. He witnessed Christ in his love for the weakest and joins the long array of martyrs of the last century. May his heroic sacrifice be a seed of hope and fraternity, especially for young people.
Observed today in Italy is Pro-Life Day, which has as its theme “The Gospel of Life, Joy for the World.” I associate myself to the Message of the Italian Bishops and express my appreciation and encouragement to the different ecclesial realities, which in so many ways promote and support life, in particular, the Pro-Life Movement, whose not so numerous exponents present here, I greet. And this worries me: there aren’t that many that fight for life in a world where every day more arms are built, every day more laws are made against life, every day this throwaway culture goes on, of discarding what isn’t useful, what is annoying. Please, let us pray so that our people are more conscious of the defense of life in this time of destruction and discarding of humanity.
I want to assure my closeness to the populations of Madagascar, recently affected by a strong cyclone, which caused victims, displaced and enormous damages. May the Lord comfort and sustain them.
And now an announcement. In face of the tragic protraction of situations of conflict in different parts of the world, I invite all the faithful to a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for Peace next February 23, Friday of the First Week of Lent. We will offer it in particular for the populations of the Democratic Republic of Congo and of South Sudan. As on other similar occasions, I also invite non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to associate themselves to this initiative in the way they consider most opportune, but all together.
Our heavenly Father always listens to His children who cry to Him in sorrow and anguish, who “heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3). I make a heartfelt appeal so that we also listen to this cry and, each one of us in his/her own conscience before God, ask ourselves: “What can I do for peace?” We certainly can pray, but not only: each one can say concretely “no” to violence in as much as it depends on him or her. Because the victories obtained with violence are false victories while working for peace does everyone good!
I greet all of you, faithful of Rome and pilgrims from Italy and from various countries. I greet the group of the dioceses of Cadiz and Ceuta, Spain, the pupils of “Charles Peguy” school of Paris, the faithful of Sestri Levante, Empoli, Milan and Palermo, and the representation of the city of Agrigento, to which I express my appreciation for their commitment to the hospitality and integration of migrants. Thank you! Thank you for what you do. A warm greeting goes to the volunteers and collaborators of the “Fraterna Domus” Association, which for 50 years has worked in Rome for hospitality and solidarity.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye![Original text: Italian]
[ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
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