Pope Francis Homilies
Books of the Bible Index of Homilies
Matthew Mark Luke John The Acts Romans 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians Ephesians Philippians Colossians 1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 Timothy Titus Philemon Hebrews James 1 Peter 2 Peter 1 John 2 John 3 John Jude Revelation Genesis Exodus Leviticus Numbers Deuteronomy Joshua Judges Ruth 1 Samuel 2 Samuel 1 Kings 2 Kings 1 Chronicles 2 Chronicles Ezra Nehemiah Tobit Judith Esther 1 Maccabees 2 Maccabees Job Psalms Proverbs Ecclesiastes The Song of Songs The Book of Wisdom Sirach Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations Baruch Ezekiel Daniel Hosea Joel Amos Obadiah Jonah Micah Nahum Habakkuk Zephaniah Haggai Zechariah Malachi
Pope Francis Vespers 25.01.23
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above
We have just heard the word of God, which has inspired this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Those words are forceful, so forceful in fact, that they might seem out of place as we celebrate the joy of coming together as brothers and sisters in Christ to celebrate a solemn liturgy in his praise. In these days so full of tragic and troubling news reports, we could perhaps easily dispense with such biblical condemnations of the sins of society! Yet if we are sensitive to the profound unease of the times in which we are living, we should be all the more concerned for what causes suffering to the Lord for whom we live. And since we have gathered in his name, we cannot fail to put his word at the centre of things. That word is prophetic: God, speaking in the voice of Isaiah, admonishes us and urges us to change. Admonishment and change are the two words on which I would like to reflect with you this evening.
1. Admonishment. Let us hear something of what God has to say: “When you come to appear before me…, bringing offerings is futile… When you stretch out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen” (Is 1:12.13.15). What arouses the Lord’s indignation to the point that he rebukes so severely the people whom he loves so greatly? The text reveals two motives. First, he condemns the fact that in his Temple, in his name, one fails to do what he desires: not incense and offerings, but that the poor receive assistance, that justice be rendered to the orphan, that the cause of the widow be upheld (cf. v. 17). In the days of the prophet, and not only then, it was generally thought that the rich, who made great offerings and looked down upon the poor, were blessed in God’s eyes. Yet this was, and is, completely to misunderstand the Lord. It is the poor that Jesus proclaims blessed (cf. Lk 6:20), and in the parable of the final judgment he identifies himself with those who hunger and thirst, the stranger, the needy, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:35-36). This, then, is the first cause of his indignation: God suffers when we, who call ourselves his faithful ones, put our own ways of seeing things before his, when we follow the judgments of the world rather than those of heaven, when we are content with exterior rituals yet remain indifferent to those for whom he cares the most. God is grieved, we might say, by our indifference and lack of understanding.
In addition to this, there is a second and more serious motive that offends the Most High. It is sacrilegious violence. He tells us: “I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity… Your hands are full of blood… Remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes” (Is 1:13.15.16). The Lord is “moved to wrath”, because of the violence done to the temple of God which is man, even while he is being glorified in the material temples we erect! We can imagine with what suffering he must witness wars and acts of violence perpetrated by those who call themselves Christians. We are reminded of the story of the holy man who protested the brutality of a king by offering him meat during the Lenten season. When the king in the name of piety indignantly refused to accept the gift, the man of God asked him why he had scruples about eating the flesh of animals, while not hesitating to sacrifice the flesh of the children of God.
Brothers and sisters, this admonition of the Lord gives us much food for thought, as individual Christians and as Christian confessions. I would like to state once again that “today, with our developed spirituality and theology, we have no excuses. Still, there are those who appear to feel encouraged or at least permitted by their faith to support varieties of narrow and violent nationalism, xenophobia and contempt, and even the mistreatment of those who are different. Faith, and the humanism it inspires, must maintain a critical sense in the face of these tendencies, and prompt an immediate response whenever they rear their head” (Fratelli Tutti, 86). If, following the example of the Apostle Paul, we desire that the grace of God in us not be in vain (cf. 1 Cor 15:10), we must be opposed to war, to violence and to injustice wherever they begin to appear. The theme of this Week of Prayer was chosen by a group of Christians from Minnesota, conscious of the injustices perpetrated in the past against native peoples and in our own day against African-Americans. Before the various forms of contempt and racism, before indifference, lack of understanding and sacrilegious violence, the word of God admonishes us: “learn to do good, seek justice” (Is 1:17). It is not enough to denounce, we need also to renounce evil, to pass from evil to good. In other words, admonishment is meant to change us.
2. Change. After diagnosing our wrongs, the Lord asks us to remedy them and, through the prophet, tells us: “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; cease to do evil” (v. 16). Yet knowing that we are overwhelmed and, as it were, paralyzed by our many sins, he promises that he himself will wash away our sins. “Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (v. 18). Dear friends, due to our failure to understand God and the violence that lurks within us, we are incapable of setting ourselves free. Without God, without his grace, we are not healed of our sin. God’s grace is the source of our change. We see this in the life of the Apostle Paul, whom we commemorate today. By ourselves, we cannot succeed, but with God, all is possible. By ourselves, we do not succeed, but together, it is possible. For the Lord asks his disciples to be converted together. Conversion – a word that is repeated often but not always easily understood – is demanded of the people; it is communitarian and ecclesial in nature. Consequently, we also believe that our ecumenical conversion grows to the extent that we recognize our need for God’s grace, our need for his mercy. In acknowledging that we are dependent on God for everything, we will truly, with his aid, feel and “be one” (Jn 17:21). This is important, brothers and sisters.
What a beautiful thing it is to be open, together, in the grace of the Spirit, to this change of perspective. To rediscover that “all the faithful throughout the world are in communion with each other in the Holy Spirit, so that - as Saint John Chrysostom wrote – ‘those who dwell in Rome knows those in India to be part of the same body’” (Lumen Gentium, 13; In Io. Hom., 65,1). On this journey of fellowship, I am grateful that so many Christians, of various communities and traditions, are accompanying with participation and interest the synodal journey of the Catholic Church, which I trust will become increasingly ecumenical. Let us not forget that journeying together and acknowledging that we are in communion with one another in the Holy Spirit entails a change, the growth that can only take place, as Benedict XVI wrote, “on the basis of an intimate encounter with God, an encounter which has become a communion of will, even affecting my feelings. Then I learn to look on this other person not simply with my eyes and my feelings, but from the perspective of Jesus Christ. His friend is my friend” (Deus Caritas Est, 18).
May the Apostle Paul help us to change, to be converted; may he obtain for us something of his own indomitable courage. Since in the course of our journey, it is easy to work for our own group rather than for the kingdom of God, to grow impatient, to give up on the hope of that day when “all Christians will be gathered, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, into that unity of the one Church, which Christ bestowed on his Church from the beginning” (Unitatis Redintegratio, 4). Precisely in view of that day, we place our trust in Jesus, our Pasch and our peace: while we pray and worship him, he is ever at work. And we are comforted by the words of Saint Paul, which we can feel addressed to each one of us: “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Cor 12:9).
Dear friends, in a fraternal spirit I wanted to share these thoughts that the word of God has awakened in me, so that, admonished by God, by his grace we can change and grow through praying, serving, engaging in dialogue and working together towards the full unity that Christ desires. Now I would like to offer you my heartfelt thanks. All together may we journey along on the path that the Lord has placed before us, the path of unity.
Pope Francis General Audience 25.01.23
I extend a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from Australia and the United States of America. In the context of this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, I offer a special greeting to the group from the Bossey Ecumenical Institute. Upon all of you, and upon your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!
The day after tomorrow, January 2th, the International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is observed. In remembrance of that extermination of millions of Jewish people and people of other faiths that must neither be forgotten nor denied. There can be no sustained commitment to building fraternity together without first dispelling the roots of hatred and violence that fueled the horror of the Holocaust.
I extend a cordial welcome to Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet and thank the participants in the symposium sponsored by the Dicastery for Integral Human Development, on Hansen's disease (leprosy), entitled “Leave No One Behind.”
Finally, my thoughts go, as usual, to the young, the sick, the elderly and the newlyweds. Today concludes the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I encourage us to live, each in our own state of life, the demands of Christian unity that come to us from baptism. Aware of the gift of this sacrament, let us work, pray, and offer our sacrifices daily for the unity of all believers in Christ.
In our thoughts and prayers, may the tormented Ukraine, so much afflicted, not be absent. This morning I had a meeting with the leaders of the different Confessions of faith that are in Ukraine – all united – and they told me about the pain of that people. Let us never forget, every day, to pray for definitive peace in Ukraine.
To all my blessings.
Pope Francis Message for the 57th World Day of Social Communications 24.01.23
Excerpt below, for the full message click on the picture link above
After having reflected in past years on the verbs “to go and see” and “to listen” as conditions for good communication, with this Message for the LVII World Day of Social Communications, I would like to focus on “speaking with the heart”. It is the heart that spurred us to go, to see and to listen, and it is the heart that moves us towards an open and welcoming way of communicating.
Pope Francis January 2023
We pray that educators may be credible witnesses, teaching fraternity rather than confrontation and helping the youngest and most vulnerable above all.
I would like to propose that educators add new content to their teaching: fraternity.
Education is an act of love that illuminates the path for us to recover a sense of fraternity, so we will not ignore those who are most vulnerable.
Educators are witnesses who not only impart their mental knowledge, but also their convictions, their commitment to life.
They know how to handle the three languages well: that of the head, that of the heart, and that of the hands, all in harmony. And hence the joy in communicating.
And they will be heeded much more attentively and will become community builders.
Why? Because they’re sowing this testimony.
Let us pray that educators may be credible witnesses, teaching fraternity rather than confrontation and helping especially the youngest and most vulnerable above all.
Pope Francis General Audience 25.01.23
Jesus teacher of proclamation
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above
Last Wednesday we reflected on Jesus model of proclamation, on his pastoral heart always reaching out to others. Today we look to Him as a teacher of proclamation. Model of proclamation. Today, the teacher of proclamation Let us be guided by the episode in which He preaches in the synagogue of His village, Nazareth. Jesus reads a passage from the prophet Isaiah (cf. 61:1-2) and then surprises everyone with a very short “sermon” of just one sentence, just one sentence. And He speaks thus, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Lk. 4:21). This was Jesus’ sermon: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. This means that for Jesus that prophetic passage contains the essence of what He wants to say about Himself. So, whenever we talk about Jesus, we should go back to that first announcement of His. Let us see, then, what it consists of. Five essential elements can be identified.
The first element is joy. Jesus proclaims, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor” (v. 18), that is, a proclamation of gladness, of joy. Good news: one cannot speak of Jesus without joy, because faith is a wonderful love story to be shared. Bearing witness to Jesus, doing something for others in His name, to have received “between the lines” of one’s life, so beautiful a gift that no words suffice to express it. Instead, when joy is lacking, the Gospel does not come through, because – it’s the very meaning of the word – is good news, and “Gospel” means “good news,” a proclamation of joy. A sad Christian can talk about beautiful things, but it is all in vain if the news he conveys is not joyful. A thinker once said, “A Christian who is sad is a sad Christian.” Don’t forget this.
We come to the second aspect: deliverance. Jesus says He was sent “release to the captives” (ibid.). This means that one who proclaims God cannot proselytize, no, cannot pressure others, no, but relieve them: not impose burdens, but take them away; bearing peace, not bearing guilt. Of course, following Jesus involves asceticism, involves sacrifices; after all, if every good thing requires these things, how much more the decisive reality of life! However, those who witness to Christ show the beauty of the goal rather than the toil of the journey. We may have happened to tell someone about a beautiful trip we took: for example, we would have spoken about the beauty of the places, what we saw and experienced, not about the time to get there and the queues at the airport, no! So, any announcement worthy of the Redeemer must communicate liberation. Like that of Jesus. Today there is joy, because I have come to liberate.
The third aspect: light. Jesus says He came to bring “sight to the blind”. It is striking that throughout the Bible, before Christ, the healing of a blind man never appears, never. It was indeed a promised sign that would come with the Messiah. But here it is not just about physical sight, but a light that makes one see the life of a new world, and also life in a new way. There is a “coming into the light,” a rebirth that happens only with Jesus. If we think about it, that is how Christian life began for us: with Baptism, which in ancient times was called precisely “enlightenment.” And what light does Jesus give us? He brings us the light of sonship: He is the beloved Son of the Father, living forever; with Him we too are children of God loved forever, despite our mistakes and faults. So life is no longer a blind advance toward nothingness, no; it is not a matter of fate or luck, no. It is not something that depends on chance or the stars, no, or even on health or finances, no. Life depends on love, on the love of the Father, Who cares for us, His beloved children. How wonderful to share this light with others! Has it occurred to you that the life of each of us – my life, your life, our life – is an act of love? And an invitation to love? This is wonderful! But so many times we forget this, in the face of difficulties, in the face of bad news, even in the face of – and this is bad – worldliness, the worldly way of life.
The fourth aspect of the proclamation: healing. Jesus says He came “to set at liberty those who are oppressed”. The oppressed are those in life who feel crushed by something that happens: sickness, labors, burdens on the heart, guilt, mistakes, vices, sins... Oppressed by this. We think of the sense of guilt, for example. How many of us have suffered this? We think a little bit about the sense of guilt for this or that.... What is oppressing us above all is precisely that evil that no medicine or human remedy can heal: sin. And if someone has a sense of guilt, it is for something they have done, and that feels bad. But the good news is that with Jesus, this ancient evil, sin, which seems invincible, no longer has the last word.
I can sin because I am weak. Each of us can do it, but that is not the last word. The last word is Jesus’ outstretched hand that lifts you up from sin. “And Father, when do you do this? Once?” No. “Twice?” No. “Three time?” No. Always. Whenever you are sick, the Lord always has His hand outstretched. Only He wants us (to) hold on and let Him carry you. The good news is that with Jesus this ancient evil no longer has the last word: the last word is Jesus' outstretched hand that carries you forward.
Jesus heals us from sin, always. And how much do I have to pay for this healing? Nothing. He heals us always and gratuitously. He invites those who “labour and are heavy laden” -- He says it in the Gospel – invites them to come to Him (cf. Mt 11:28). And so to accompany someone to an encounter with Jesus is to bring them to the doctor of the heart, Who lifts up life. That is to say, “Brother, sister, I don't have answers to so many of your problems, but Jesus knows you, Jesus loves you and can heal and soothe your heart. Go and leave them with Jesus.”
Those who carry burdens need a caress for the past. So many times we hear, “But I would need to heal my past...I need a caress for that past that weighs so heavily on me...” He needs forgiveness. And those who believe in Jesus have just that to give to others: the power of forgiveness, which frees the soul from all debt. Brothers, sisters, do not forget: God forgets everything. How so? Yes, He forgets all our sins. That He forgets. That’s why He has no memory. God forgives everything because He forgets our sins. Only He wants us to draw near to the Lord and He forgives us everything. “But Father, I do the same things always...” And He will always do His same thing! Forgiving you, embracing you. Please, let us not distrust this. This is the way to love the Lord. Those who carry burdens and need a caress for the past need forgiveness, and Jesus does that. And that's what Jesus gives: to free the soul from all debt. In the Bible it talks about a year when one was freed from the burden of debt: the Jubilee, the year of grace. As if it were the ultimate point of the proclamation. Christ is the Jubilee of every day, every hour, drawing you near, to caress you, to forgive you.
And the proclamation of Jesus must always bring the amazement of grace. This amazement… “No, I can’t believe it! I have been forgiven.” But this is how great our God is. Because it is not we who do great things, but rather the grace of the Lord who, even through us, accomplishes unexpected things. And these are the surprises of God. God is the master of surprises. He always surprises us, is always waiting, waits for us. We arrive, and He has been expecting us. Always. The Gospel comes with a sense of wonder and newness that has a name: Jesus.
May He help us to proclaim it as He desires, communicating joy, deliverance, light, healing, and wonder. This is how one communicates about Jesus.
The last thing: This good news, which the Gospel says is addressed “to the poor” (v. 18). We often forget about them, yet they are the recipients explicitly mentioned, because they are God’s beloved. Let us remember them, and let us remember that, in order to welcome the Lord, each of us must make him- or herself “poor within.” With that poverty… “Lord, I am in need, I am in need of forgiveness, I am in need of help, I am in need of strength. This poverty that we all have: making oneself poor interiorly. You have to overcome any pretence of self-sufficiency in order to understand oneself to be in need of grace, and to always be in need of Him. Is someone tells me, “Father, what is the shortest way to encounter Jesus?” Be needy. Be needy for grace, needy for forgiveness, be needy for joy. And he will draw near to you. Thank you.
Pope Francis Angelus 22.01.23
Sunday of the Word of God
Today I would like to express my wish for peace and every good to all those in the Far East, and in various parts of the world, who are celebrating the Lunar New Year. Nevertheless, on this joyous occasion, I cannot fail to mention my spiritual nearness to those who are going through difficult times due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the hope that these present difficulties might soon be overcome. Lastly, I hope that the kindness, sensitivity, solidarity and harmony that are being experienced in the families who are reunited in these days as is customary, might ever more permeate and characterize our family and social relationships so as to live a serene and happy life. Happy New Year!
Sadly, my thought turns in particular to Myanmar, where the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption in the Village of Can Thar – one of the most ancient and important places of worship in the country – was burned and destroyed. I am close to the helpless civilian population subject to severe trials in many cities. Please God that this conflict will soon come to an end, opening a new period of forgiveness, love and peace. Let us pray together to Our Lady for Myanmar.
I also invite you to pray that the acts of violence in Peru might cease. Violence quenches the hope for a just solution to problems. I encourage all the parties involved to undertake the path of dialogue as brothers of the same nation, in full respect for human rights and the rule of law. I join the Peruvian Bishops in saying: ¡No a la violencia, venga de donde venga! ¡No más muertes! [No to violence wherever it comes from! No more deaths!]
Positive signs are coming from Cameroon that bring the hope of progress toward the resolution of the conflict in the English-speaking regions. I encourage all the parties who have signed the Agreement to persevere on the path of dialogue and mutual understanding, for only through encounter can the future be designed.
In these days, as we pray in particular for the full unity of all Christians, please, let us not forget, to pray for peace for war-torn Ukraine. May the Lord comfort and sustain that people who are suffering so much! They are suffering so much!
I wish all of you a good Sunday.
And please do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and arrivederci.
Pope Francis Video Message 20.01.23
To Young People preparing for World Youth Day Lisbon 2023
Pope Francis Holy Mass 22.01.23
Sunday of the Word of God
The Gospel in your pocket
How do we receive the Word of God? The response is clear: As one receives Jesus Christ. The Church tells us that Jesus is present in the Scripture, in His Word.
Always carry a small Gospel with you in your purse, in your pocket, and read a passage from the Gospel during the day. Not so much to learn something, but mostly to find Jesus, because Jesus actually is in His Word, in His Gospel. Every time I read the Gospel, I find Jesus. - Pope Francis 01.09.14
Daily Readings - read the entire New Testament over a 2 year period (reading plan courtesy of Gideon International)
Pope Francis Holy Mass 22.01.23
Sunday of the Word of God
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above
Jesus leaves the quiet and hidden life of Nazareth and moves to Capernaum, a port city located along the Sea of Galilee, at the crossroads of different peoples and cultures. The urgency that impels him is the proclamation of the Word of God, which must be brought to everyone. Indeed, we see in the Gospel that the Lord invites all to conversion and calls the first disciples so that they may also spread the light of the Word to others (cf. Mt 4:12-23). Let us appreciate this dynamism, which will help us live out the Sunday of the Word of God: the Word is for everyone, the Word calls everyone to conversion, the Word makes us heralds.
The Word of God is for everyone. The Gospel presents us with Jesus always on the move, on his way to others. On no occasion in his public life does he give us the idea that he is a stationary teacher, a professor seated on a chair; on the contrary, we see him as an itinerant, we see him as a pilgrim, travelling through towns and villages, encountering faces and their stories. His feet are those of the messenger announcing the good news of God’s love (cf. Is 52:7-8). In Galilee of the Gentiles, on the sea route, beyond the Jordan, where Jesus preaches, there was – the text notes – a people plunged into darkness: foreigners, pagans, women and men from various regions and cultures (cf. Mt 4:15-16). Now they too can see the light. And so Jesus “enlarges the boundaries”: the Word of God, which heals and raises up, is not only destined for the righteous of Israel, but for all; he wants to reach those far away, he wants to heal the sick, he wants to save sinners, he wants to gather the lost sheep and lift up those whose hearts are weary and oppressed. In short, Jesus ‘reaches out’ to tell us that God’s mercy is for everyone. Let us not forget this: God’s mercy is for everyone, for each one of us. Each person can say, “God’s mercy is for me”.
This aspect is fundamental also for us. It reminds us that the Word is a gift addressed to everyone; therefore we can never restrict its field of action, for beyond all our calculations, it springs forth in a spontaneous, unforeseen and unpredictable way (cf. Mk 4:26-28), in the ways and times that the Holy Spirit knows. Moreover, if salvation is destined for all, even the most distant and lost, then the proclamation of the Word must become the main priority of the ecclesial community, as it was for Jesus. May it not happen that we profess a God with an expansive heart, yet become a Church with a closed heart – this, I dare say, would be a curse; may it not happen that we preach salvation for all, yet make the way to receive it impractical; may it not happen that we recognize we are called to proclaim the Kingdom, yet neglect the Word, losing ourselves in so many secondary activities or discussions. Let us learn from Jesus to put the Word at the centre, to enlarge our boundaries, to open ourselves up to people, and to foster experiences of encounter with the Lord, realizing that the Word of God “is not encased in abstract or static formulas, but has a dynamic power in history which is made up of persons and events, words and actions, developments and tensions”.
Let us now come to the second aspect: the Word of God, which is addressed to all, calls everyone to conversion. In fact, Jesus repeats in his preaching: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 4:17). This means that God’s nearness is not inconsequential, his presence does not leave things as they are, it does not advocate a quiet life. On the contrary, his Word shakes us, disturbs us, incites us to change, to conversion. It throws us into crisis because it “is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Heb 4:12). Like a sword, the Word penetrates life, enabling us to discern the feelings and thoughts of the heart, that is, making us see where the light of goodness is to be afforded room and where, instead, the thick darkness of vices and sins is to be resisted. When it enters us, the Word transforms our hearts and minds; it changes us and leads us to direct our lives to the Lord.
Here is Jesus’ invitation: God has come close to you; recognize his presence, make room for his Word, and you will change your outlook on life. I can also put it like this: place your life under the Word of God. This is the path the Church shows us. All of us, even the pastors of the Church, are under the authority of the Word of God. Not under our own tastes, tendencies and preferences, but under the one Word of God that moulds us, converts us and calls us to be united in the one Church of Christ. So, brothers and sisters, we can ask ourselves: Where does my life find direction, from where does it draw its orientation? From the many “words” I hear, from ideologies, or from the Word of God that guides and purifies me? What are the aspects in me that require change and conversion?
Finally – the third step – the Word of God, which is addressed to everyone and calls us to conversion, makes us heralds. Indeed, Jesus walks along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and calls Simon and Andrew, two brothers who were fishermen. With his Word he invites them to follow him, telling them that he will make them “fishers of men” (Mt. 4,19): no longer just experts in boats, nets and fish, but experts in seeking others. And just as in sailing and fishing they had learned to leave the shore and cast their nets into the deep, in the same way they would become apostles capable of sailing upon the open seas of the world, of going out to meet their brothers and sisters and proclaiming the joy of the Gospel. This is the dynamism of the Word: it draws us into the “net” of the Father’s love and makes us apostles moved by an unquenchable desire to bring all those we encounter into the barque of the Kingdom. This is not proselytism because it is the Word of God that calls us, not our own word.
Today let us also hear the invitation to be fishers of men: let us feel that we are called by Jesus in person to proclaim his Word, to bear witness to it in everyday life, to live it in justice and charity, called to “give it flesh” by tenderly caring for those who suffer. This is our mission: to become seekers of the lost, oppressed and discouraged, not to bring them ourselves, but the consolation of the Word, the disruptive proclamation of God that transforms life, to bring the joy of knowing that He is our Father and addresses each one of us, to bring the beauty of saying, “Brother, sister, God has come close to you, listen and you will find in his Word an amazing gift!”
Brothers and sisters, I would like to conclude by simply thanking those who work to make sure that the Word of God is shared, proclaimed and put at the centre of our lives. Thank you to those who study and delve into the riches of the Word. Thank you to the pastoral workers and to all Christians engaged in the work of listening to and spreading the Word, especially lectors and catechists. Today I will confer these ministries on some of you. Thank you to those who have accepted the many invitations I have made to take the Gospel with them everywhere and to read it every day. And finally, I especially thank our deacons and priests. Thank you dear brothers, for you do not let God’s holy people be deprived of the nourishment of the Word. Thank you for committing yourselves to meditating on it, living it and proclaiming it. Thank you for your service and your sacrifices. May the sweet joy of proclaiming the Word of salvation be a consolation and reward for all of us.
Pope Francis Angelus 22.01.23
What must we leave behind?
Excerpt below, for the full transcript click on the picture link above
The Gospel from today’s liturgy (Mt 4:12-23) narrates the call of the first disciples who, along the lake of Galilee leave everything to follow Jesus. He had already met some of them, thanks to John the Baptist, and God had placed the seed of faith within them (cf. Jn 1:35-39). So now, Jesus goes back to look for them where they live and work. The Lord always looks for us. The Lord always draws near to us, always. This time, he extends a direct call to them: “Follow me!” (Mt 4:19). And “immediately they left their nets and followed him” (v. 20). Let’s take a moment to reflect on this scene. This is the moment of a decisive encounter with Jesus, one they would remember their entire lives and would be included in the Gospel. From then on, they follow Jesus. And in order to follow him, they leave.
To leave so as to follow. And it is always like this with Jesus. It can begin in some way with a sense of attraction, perhaps due to others. Then the awareness can become more personal and can kindle a light in the heart. It becomes something beautiful to share: “You know, that passage from the Gospel struck me…. That service opportunity I had struck me…” – something that touches your heart. This is what happened with the first disciples (cf. Jn 1:40-42). But sooner or later, the moment comes in which it is necessary to leave so as to follow (cf. Lk 11:27-28). That is when it is necessary to make a decision: Shall I leave behind some certainties and embark on a new adventure, or shall I remain like I am? This is a decisive moment for every Christian because the meaning of everything else is at stake here. If someone does not find the courage to set out on the journey, the risk is to remain a spectator of one’s own existence and to live the faith halfway.
To stay with Jesus, therefore, requires the courage to leave, to set out on the journey. What must we leave behind? Our vices and our sins, certainly, which are like anchors that hold us at bay and prevent us from setting sail. To begin to leave, it is only right that we begin by asking forgiveness – forgiveness for the things that are not beautiful. I leave these things behind to move forward. But it is also necessary to leave behind what holds us back from living fully, for example, fear, selfish calculations, the guarantees that come from staying safe, just getting by. It also means giving up the time wasted on so many useless things. How beautiful it would be to leave all this in order to experience, for example, the tiring but rewarding risk of service, or to dedicate time to prayer so as to grow in friendship with the Lord. I am also thinking of a young family who leaves behind a quiet life to open themselves up to the unpredictable and beautiful adventure of motherhood and fatherhood. It is a sacrifice, but all it takes is one look at a child to understand that it was the right choice to leave behind certain rhythms and comforts to have this joy. I am also thinking, of certain professionals, for example, doctors or healthcare workers, who give up a lot of free time to study and prepare themselves, and who do good, dedicating many hours day and night, and spend so much physical and mental energy for the sick. I think of workers who leave behind convenience, who let go of doing nothing so as to put food on the table. In short, to live life, we need to accept the challenge to leave. Today, Jesus extends this invitation to each of us.
So, I leave you with a question about this. First of all: Can I remember a “strong moment” in which I have already encountered Jesus? Each of us can recall our own story – in my life, has there been a significant moment when I encountered Jesus? And, is there something beautiful and significant that happened in my life because of which I left other less important things? And today, is there something Jesus asks me to give up? What are the material things, ways of thinking, attitudes I need to leave behind so as to truly say “yes”? May Mary help us to respond with a total “yes” to God, like she did, to know what to leave behind so as to follow him better. Do not be afraid to leave if it is to follow Jesus. We will always find that we are better.
Dear brothers and sisters!
This Third Sunday of Ordinary Time is dedicated in a special way to the Word of God. Let us rediscover with awe the fact that God speaks to us, especially through the Sacred Scriptures. Let us read them, study them, meditate on them, pray over them. Let us read a passage from the Bible every day, especially from the Gospel. Jesus speaks to us there, he enlightens us, he guides us. And I remind you of something I have said other times: Let’s have a small Gospel, a pocket-size Gospel, to take in your bag, always with us. And when there is a moment during the day, read something from the Gospel. It is Jesus who accompanies us. So, a small pocket-size Gospel always with us.