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 Saint Peter’s Square.
The following is the Pope’s introduction to the Marian prayer:
Before the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today’s Gospel reading (see Lk 10: 1-12, 17-20) presents Jesus who sends seventy-two disciples on their mission, in addition to the twelve apostles. The number seventy-two probably indicates all the nations. Indeed, in the book of Genesis, seventy-two different nations are mentioned (see 10: 1-32). In this way, this envoy prefigures the mission of the Church to announce the Gospel to all peoples. To those disciples, Jesus says: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to sent out workers into His harvest field” (v. 2).
This request of Jesus remains valid. We must always pray to the “Lord of the harvest”, that is, God the Father, to send workers to labour in His field, which is the world. And each one of us must do so with an open heart, with a missionary attitude; our prayer must not be limited only to our needs, to our necessities: a prayer is truly Christian if it also has a universal dimension.
In sending forth the seventy-two disciples, Jesus gives them precise instructions, which express the characteristics of the mission. The first – we have already seen – is pray; the second, go; and then: do not take a purse or bag …; say “Peace to this house” … Stay there … do not move around from house to house; heal the sick who are there and tell them, “The Kingdom of God has come near to you”; and, if they are not welcomed, go into its streets and take your leave (see v. 2-10). These imperatives demonstrate that the mission is based on prayer; that it is itinerant: it is not static, it is itinerant; which requires detachment and poverty; which leads to peace and healing, signs of the closeness of the Kingdom of God; that is not proselytism but rather proclamation and witness; and which also requires the frankness and evangelical freedom to go away, highlighting the responsibility of having rejected the message of salvation, but without condemnation and execration.
If lived in these terms, the mission of the Church will be characterized by joy. And how does this passage end? “The seventy-two returned with joy” (v. 17). It is not an ephemeral joy that springs from the success of the mission; on the contrary, it is a joy rooted in the promise that – Jesus says – “your names are written in heaven” (v. 20). With this expression He means the inner joy, the indestructible joy that is born of the awareness of being called by God to follow His Son. That is, the joy of being His disciples. Today, for example, each one of us, here in the Square, can think of the name he or she received on the day of Baptism: that name is “written in heaven”, in the heart of God the Father. And it is the joy of this gift that makes every disciple a missionary, one who walks in the company of the Lord Jesus, who learns from Him to spend himself without reserve for others, free of himself and his own possessions.
Together let us invoke the maternal protection of Mary Most Holy, that she may support in every place the mission of Christ’s disciples; the mission of announcing to all that God loves us, that He wants to save us and that He calls us to be part of His Kingdom.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Although some days have passed, I invite you to pray for the poor helpless people killed or injured by the air strike on a detention centre for migrants in Libya. The international community cannot tolerate such grave events. I pray for the victims: may the God of peace welcome the deceased to Him and sustain the wounded. I hope that humanitarian corridors may be organized in an extensive and concerted way for those migrants most in need. I also remember all the victims of the massacres that have recently been committed in Afghanistan, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Let us pray together. [Moment of silence]
I address a cordial greeting to you all, Romans and pilgrims! I greet the students of the “Saint Ignatius School” of Cleveland, United States of America; the young people of Basiasco and Mairago; and the priests who are participating in a course for formators, promoted by the “Sacerdos” Institute in Rome. I greet the Eritrean community in Rome: dear brothers and sisters, pray for your people! And I greet the many Polish people who are here in front!
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and goodbye.