Sunday, May 12, 2019

Regina Caeli for IV Sunday of Easter

At noon today in Rome (6:00am EDT), the IV Sunday of Easter, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Regina Coeli with the faithful and with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of His Holiness, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Regina Coeli

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In today's gospel (cf Jn 10:27-30), Jesus presents himself as the true Shepherd of God's people.  He speaks about the relationship that ties him to the sheep of the flock, which is to say to his disciples, and he insists upon the fact that this is a relationship of reciprocal knowing.  My sheep - he says - listen to my voice and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life and none of them will be lost (Jn 10:27-28).  If we read these words attentively, we will see that Jesus' work can be explained in a few actions: Jesus speaks, Jesus knows us, Jesus gives eternal life and Jesus takes care of us.

The Good Shepherd - Jesus - pays attention to each one of us, he seeks us out and he loves us, he offers us his word, he knows the depth of our hearts, our desires and our hopes, as well as our failures and our disappointments.  He welcomes us and loves us as we are , with our wounds and our defects.  He gives eternal life to each one of us: he offers us the possibility of living a full life, without end.  In other words, he protects us and guides us with love, helping us to make our way along unpleasant pathways and the roads in life that are sometimes risky.

To the words and gestures that describe the way in which Jesus, the Good Shepherd, relates to us, there are words concerning the sheep, that is to say, relating to us: listen to my voice, follow me. These are actions that show how we must correspond to the tender and caring attitudes of the Lord. In fact, listening to and recognizing his voice implies intimacy with him, which is consolidated in prayer, in the heart to heart encounter with the divine Master and Shepherd of our souls. This intimacy with Jesus, this being open, talking with Jesus, strengthens in us the desire to follow him, coming out of the labyrinth of wrong paths, abandoning selfish behaviours, in order to set out on the new paths of fraternity and the gift of ourselves, in imitation of Him.

Let us not forget that Jesus is the only Pastor who speaks to us, knows us, gives us eternal life and takes care of us. We are the only flock and all we have to do is strive to listen to his voice, while with love he scrutinizes the sincerity of our hearts. And from this continuous intimacy with our Pastor, from this conversation with him, comes the joy of following him as he leads us to the fullness of eternal life.

Now, let us turn to Mary, Mother of Christ the Good Shepherd. She, who promptly responded to God's call, helps in particular those who are called to the priesthood and the consecrated life to welcome Christ's invitation to be his most direct collaborators in the proclamation of the Gospel and in the service of the Kingdom with the joy and availability of God in our time.

Following the recitation of the Regina Coeli, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters!

In many countries, today is celebrated as Mothers' Day.  I would like to send a warm greeting to all mothers, thanking them - everyone, let us all applaud our mothers! - for their precious work in raising children and protecting the value of the family. We also remember the mothers who look at us from the skies and continue to watch over us with their prayer. Our thoughts also go to our celestial Mother, whom we will celebrate tomorrow May 13th, with the name of Our Lady of Fatima. We entrust ourselves to her to continue our journey with joy and generosity.

This Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday, is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which this year has as its theme: The courage to risk for the promise of God. The courage to risk for God's promise: following Jesus is always a risk, but it takes courage. In all communities we pray in a special way for vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. This morning, in Saint Peter's Basilica, I had the joy of ordaining nineteen new priests. As I affectionately greet these new presbyters together with their families and friends, I invite you to remember how many the Lord continues to call by name, as he did one day with the Apostles on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, so that they may become fishers of men. From among these nineteen new priests, I have invited two of them to greet you and bless you along with me.

I greet all of you, families, church groups and individual faithful from Italy and from different countries. In particular, I greet the pilgrims from Texas and those from Valencia; the faithful from Gela and Pistoia; the boys who have recently been Confirmed who have come from Parma, the scouts from Cossato and those from Frosinone. And now I will ask these new priests to bless you all with me.


I wish you all a good Sunday.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!
Original text in Italian

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