Sunday, February 4, 2018

Angelus with Jesus for a day in Capharnaum

At 12:00 noon local time (6:00am EST) today, the Holy Father, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Angelus with the faithful and with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of His Holiness, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

This Sunday's gospel continues the description of a day that Jesus spent in Capharnaum, a Saturday, the weekly holy day for the Jews (cf Mk 1:21-39).  This time, the evangelist Mark emphasizes the relationship between Jesus' miraculous acts and the awakening of the faith in the people he encounters.  In fact, with the healing miracles that he accomplishes in order to help those who are suffering from illnesses of various types, the Lord wishes to arouse a response of faith on their part.

The day that Jesus spent in Capharnaum began with the healing of Peter's mother-in-law and ends with the scene of many people from the town - who had brought the sick to him - crowded in front of the house where he was staying.  The crowd, which was marked by physical suffering and spiritual misery, constituted - so to speak - the living environment in which Jesus' mission - including his healing and consoling words and gestures - is accomplished.   Jesus did not come to bring salvation to a laboratory; his preaching is not clinical, detached from the people: he preaches in the midst of the crowd!  In the midst of the people!  Consider that the major part of the public life of Jesus was spent on the streets, among the people, preaching the gospel, healing their physical and spiritual wounds.  This was a humanity plagued by suffering, the crowd that is often spoken of in the gospel.  It was a humanity plagued by suffering, labouring and problems: this suffering humanity was directed by Jesus' powerful, liberating and renewing actions.  So it was that in the midst of the crowd, even until late into the evening, Jesus continued to work until that Saturday came to an end.  And then, what did Jesus do afterwards?

Before the next day dawned, He went out - unseen - from the city gate and found a quiet place to pray.  Jesus prays.  In this way he also separates his person and mission from a triumphal vision which would lead to misunderstandings about the sense of the miracles and about his charismatic power.  In fact, the miracles are signs which invite a response of faith; they are signs that are always accompanied by words which illuminate them; and together, the signs and the words awaken faith and conversion through the divine strength and grace of Christ.

The conclusion of today's gospel passage (Mk 1:35-39) shows us that the proclamation of the Kingdom of God by Jesus finds its proper place in the streets.  To the disciples who came looking for him in order to take him back to the city - the disciples had gone out to find where Jesus was praying and wanted to call him back to the city - what did Jesus say?  Let us go elsewhere, to neighbouring villages, so that I may preach there too (Mk 1:38).  This was the journey of the Son of God and this would also be the journey of his disciples.  It must also be the journey of all Christians.  This path, as a place of joyful proclamation of the gospel, places the mission of the Church under the sign of going, of a journey, under the sign of movement and never a matter of standing still.

May the Virgin Mary help us to be open to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who inspires the Church to pitch her tent more and more among the people in order to be able to bring the healing words of Jesus, the healer of souls and of bodies, to everyone.
(Original text in Italian)

After the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Yesterday, in Vigevano, the young Teresio Olivelli, who was killed because of his Christian faith in 1945 in the concentration camp in Hersbruck, was Beatified.  He gave witness to Christ in his love for the weak and now joins the long line of martyrs of the last century.  His heroic sacrifice is a seed of hope and of fraternity especially for the youth.

Today in Italy, we are celebrating the Day of Life, which is focused this year around the theme: The gospel of life, joy for the world.  I echo the Bishops' Message and express my appreciation and encouragement for the various ecclesial realities that promote and support life in so many ways, especially the Movement for Life.  There are some of their members here in the Square and I want to greet them.  I am concerned about this: there are not too many people here who are fighting for life in a world where every day, more and more arms are created; every day, more and more laws against life are enacted; every day, the disposable culture continues to grow, anything and anyone who is not useful or considered a bother is thrown away.  Please, let us pray that our people may be increasingly conscious of defending life at this moment, when there is so much destruction and so many people are cast aside.

I wish to assure my closeness in prayer to Madagascar, where a strong cyclone has recently struck, leaving victims, displaced persons and extensive damage.  May the Lord comfort and sustain them.

And now an announcement.  In the face of the tragic, protracted situation of conflicts in various parts of the world, I invite all the faithful to participate in a special Day of Prayer and Fasting for peace which will be observed on 23 February of this year, the Friday after the First Sunday of Lent.  We will offer this day especially for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.  As in other similar situations, I also invite our non-Catholic and non-Christian brothers and sisters to participate in this initiative in ways that they deem to be appropriate, but all together.

Our heavenly Father always welcomes his children who cry to him in suffering and anguish, heal our broken hearts and bandage our wounds (Psalm 147:3).  I issue a heartfelt call because  we too hear this cry and, each of us according to our own conscience, standing before God, must ask ourselves: What can I do for peace?  Surely, we can pray; but not only that: every one of us can concretely say no to violence, because victories obtained through violence are false victories, while work for peace brings about good for all people!

I greet all of you, the faithful of Rome and pilgrims who have come from Italy and from various other countries.  I greet the group from the Diocese of Cádiz e Ceuta (Spain), the graduates from the Charles Péguy College in Paris, the faithful from Sestri Levante, Empoli, Milan and Palermo, and the representatives from the City of Agrigento, to whom I express my appreciation for your commitment to welcoming and integrating migrants.  Thank you!  Thank you for all that you are doing.  I offer a cordial greeting to the volunteers and collaborators working with the Fraterna Domus Association which has existed here in Rome for 50 years, offering welcome and solidarity to so many people.

I wish you a good Sunday.  Please do not forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!

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