Before the Angelus
After the Angelus
At midday today, the Holy Father Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
The following is the Pope’s introduction to the Marian prayer:
Before the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In today’s Gospel reading (cf. Mt 20: 1-16), we find the parable of the labourers called for the day, which Jesus tells to communicate two aspects of the Kingdom of God: first, that God wants to call everyone to work for His Kingdom; and second, that in the end He wants to give the same recompense, namely salvation, eternal life, to all.
The master of a vineyard, who represents God, comes out at dawn and engages a group of workers, agreeing with them to salary of one denarius for the day: it was a just salary. Then he goes out again in the subsequent hours – he goes out five times in that day – until the late afternoon, to take on other workers, whom he sees unemployed. At the end of the day the master orders that all the workers be given a denarius, even those who had worked just a few hours. Naturally the workers employed first complain, because they see they were paid the same as those who had worked less. The master, however, reminds them that they had received what was agreed; if he then chose to be generous with the others, they should not be envious.
In reality, this “injustice” on the part of the master serves to provoke, in those who listen to the parable, a leap to another level, because here Jesus does not wish to speak about the problem of work or of the just salary, but of the Kingdom of God. And the message is this: in the Kingdom of God there are no unemployed – everyone is called upon to play their part; and for everyone at the end there will be the compensation that comes from divine justice – not human, fortunately for us! – that is, the salvation that Jesus Christ gained for us with His death and resurrection. A salvation that is not deserved, but given – salvation is free – “So the last will be first, and the first last” (Mt 20: 16).
With this parable, Jesus wants to open our hearts to the logic of the love of the Father, which is freely given and generous. It causes us to wonder and be fascinated by the “thoughts” and the “ways” of God which, as the prophet Isaiah recalls, are not our thoughts and are not our ways (cf. Is 55: 8). Human thoughts are often marked by selfishness and personal self-interest, and our narrow and tortuous paths are not comparable to the broad, straight roads of the Lord. He uses mercy – do not forget this: He uses mercy – He forgives amply, He is full of generosity and goodness that He reserves for every one of us; He opens to all the boundless territories of His love and of His grace, which alone can grant the human heart the fullness of joy.
Jesus wants to make us contemplate the outlook of that master: the gaze with which he sees each one of the labourers awaiting work, and calls them to go to his vineyard. It is a look full of attention, of benevolence; it is a look that appeals, that invites them to rise, to start walking, because he wants life for each one of them, he wants a full life, busy, saved from emptiness and inertia. God does not exclude anyone and He wants every person to reach fullness. This is the love of our God, of our God Who is the Father.
Mary Most Holy, help us to welcome in our life the logic of love, that frees us from the presumption of meriting God’s recompense and from passing negative judgement on others.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Yesterday, in Oklahoma City, United States of America, Stanley Francis Rother was proclaimed blessed. A missionary priest, he was killed in hatred of the faith for his work of evangelisation and human promotion in aid of the poorest in Guatemala. May his heroic example help us to be courageous witnesses of the Gospel, committed to promoting the dignity of man.
I greet all of you with affection, Romans and pilgrims from various countries. In particular I greet the choir of the Italian Catholic Mission of Bern, the Roman community of Communion and Liberation, and the faithful of Villadossola, Offanengo and Nola.
I wish you all a good Sunday and please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and goodbye.