Sunday, June 7, 2020

Angelus: God's plan for salvation

At noon today in Rome (6:00am EDT), 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 the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's Gospel (cf Jn 3: 16-18), for the feast of the Holy Trinity, shows - in the synthetic language of the apostle John - the mystery of God's love for the world, his creation. In the brief dialogue with Nicodemus, Jesus presents himself as the One who completes the Father's plan of salvation for the world. He says: God loved the world so much that he gave the only-begotten Son (Jn 3: 16). These words indicate that the action of the three divine Persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - is all one single plan of love that saves humanity and the world, it is a plan of salvation for us.

God created this good, beautiful world, but after sin, the world is marked by evil and corruption. We men and women are sinners, all of us, therefore God could intervene to judge the world, to destroy evil and chastise sinners. Instead, He loves the world, despite our sins; God loves each one of us even when we are wrong and we turn away from him. God the Father loves the world so much that, to save him, he gives what is most precious: his only-begotten Son, who gives his life for us, then rises, goes back to the Father and together with him sends the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the Trinity is Love, all at the service of the world, and he wants to save and recreate us. Today, thinking of God the Father and the Son and Holy Spirit, we think of the love of God! And it would be nice if we felt loved. God loves me: this is the sentiment for today.

When Jesus says that the Father gave his only-begotten Son, we spontaneously think of Abraham and his offering of his son Isaac, of whom the book of Genesis speaks (cf Gn 22: 1-14): here is the measure without measure love of God. And we also think of how God reveals himself to Moses: full of tenderness, merciful, compassionate, slow to anger and rich in grace and faithfulness (cf Ex 34: 6). This encounter with God encouraged Moses, who, as the book of Exodus narrates, was not afraid to stand between the people and the Lord, saying to him: Yes, this is a people with a stiff neck, but you forgive our guilt and our sin: make us your inheritance (Ex 34: 9). And so did God, by sending his Son. We are His children in the Son with the power of the Holy Spirit! We are the legacy of God!

Dear brothers and sisters, today's feast invites us to let ourselves be fascinated again by the beauty of God; beauty, goodness and inexhaustible truth. But also beauty, goodness and humble truth, close to us, God who took on flesh in order to enter our life, our history, my history, the history of each of us, so that every man and woman could meet him and have eternal life. And this is faith: to welcome God-who-is-Love, to welcome this God-who-is-Love who gives himself in Christ, who makes us move in the Holy Spirit; let yourself be met by him and trust in him. This is the Christian life. To love, to meet God, to seek God; and He looks for us first, He meets us first.

May the Virgin Mary, abode of the Trinity, help us to welcome the love of God with an open heart, which fills us with joy and gives meaning to our journey in this world, always directing us to the goal that is Heaven.

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

Dear brothers and sisters,

I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims: individual faithful, families, and religious communities. And your presence in the square is also a sign that in Italy the acute phase of the epidemic is over, even if the need remains - but be careful, don't sing victory first, don't sing victory too soon! - to follow the current rules carefully, because they are rules that help us to prevent the virus from moving forward. Thank God we are leaving the hardest part behind, but always with the prescriptions that the authorities give us. But unfortunately in other countries - I think of some - the virus is still taking many victims. Last Friday, in one country, one person died per minute! Terrible. I wish to express my closeness to those populations, to the sick and to their families, and to all those who take care of them. With our prayer let's get closer to them.

The month of June is dedicated in a special way to the Heart of Christ, a devotion that unites the great spiritual teachers and the simple people of God. In fact, the human and divine Heart of Jesus is the source where we can always draw mercy, forgiveness, the tenderness of God. We can do it by dwelling on a passage of the Gospel, feeling the love of the Holy Spirit that is within us at the centre of every gesture, of every word spoken by Jesus: at the center is love, the love of the Father who sent the his Son, the love of the Holy Spirit that is within us. And we can do this by adoring the Eucharist, where this love is present in the Blessed Sacrament. Then also our hearts, little by little, will become more patient, more generous, more merciful, in imitation of the Heart of Jesus. There is an ancient prayer - I learned it from my grandmother - that says this: Jesus, make my heart look like yours. It is a beautiful prayer. Make my heart look like yours. This is a beautiful prayer, a little one, for us to pray this month. Shall we say it together now?  Jesus, make my heart look like yours. Once more: Jesus, make my heart look like yours.

I wish you all a good Sunday.  I was going to say a good and warm Sunday.  A good Sunday.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye.

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