Before the Angelus
After the Angelus
At midday today, fifteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, 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 the Gospel presents the celebrated parable of the “Good Samaritan” (see Lk 10, 25-37). Questioned by a doctor of the law on what was necessary to inherit eternal life, Jesus sends him to look for the answers in the Scriptures and says: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself” (27). There were, however, differing interpretations on who was intended as a “neighbour”. Indeed, the man asks again: “And who is my neighbour?” (29). At this point, Jesus replies with the parable, this beautiful parable: I invite you all to take the Gospel today, the Gospel of Luke, tenth chapter, verse 25. It is one of the most beautiful parables in the Gospel. And this parable has become paradigmatic of Christian life. It has become the model of how a Christian should act. Thanks to the evangelist Luke, we have this treasure.
The protagonist of the brief account is a Samaritan who meets on the road a man who has been robbed and beaten by brigands, and he takes care of him. We know that the Jews treated the Samaritans with disdain, considering them foreign to the chosen people. It is therefore not by chance that Jesus selects a Samaritan as the positive character of the parable. In this way He wishes to overcome the prejudice, showing that even an outsider, even one who does not know the true God and does not attend His temple, is capable of behaving according to His will, feeling compassion for the brother in need and coming to his aid with all the means available to him.
On that same road, before the Samaritan, a priest and a Levite had already passed, that is, people devoted to the worship of God. However, seeing the poor man on the ground, they passed by without stopping, probably so as not to contaminate themselves with his blood. They had prioritized a human rule – not contaminating oneself with blood – linked the to worship of the great commandment of God, Who wants first of all mercy.
So Jesus proposes as a model the Samaritan, one who did not have faith! Let us too think of the many people we know, perhaps agnostic, who do good. Jesus chooses as a model a person who has not a man of faith. And this man, loving his brother as himself, shows that he loves God with all his heart and all his strength – the God he did not know! – and expresses at the same time true religiosity and full humanity.
After recounting this beautiful parable, Jesus again addresses the doctor of the law who had asked him, “Who is my neighbour?”, and says to him, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (36). In this way He reverses his interlocutor’s question, and also the logic of us all. He makes us understand that it is not for us, on the basis of our criteria, to define who our neighbour is or is not, but rather the person in need who should be able to recognize who is neighbour is, that is “The one who had mercy on him” (37). Being capable of having compassion: this is the key. This is our key. If you do not feel pity before a needy person, if your heart is not moved, then something is wrong. Be careful, be careful. We must not let ourselves be carried away by selfish insensitivity. The capacity for compassion has become the touchstone of the Christian, indeed of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus Himself is the compassion of the Father towards us. If you go down the street and see a homeless man lying there and pass by without looking at him, or you think: “But, it’s an effect of the wine. He is a drunk”, ask yourself if that man is drunk, ask yourself if your heart has not hardened, if your heart has not become ice. This conclusion indicates that mercy towards a human life in need is the true face of love. This is how one becomes a true disciple of Jesus and the face of the Father is manifested: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Lk 6: 36). And God, our Father, is merciful, because He has compassion; He is capable of having this compassion, of approaching our pain, our sin, our vices, our miseries.
May the Virgin Mary help us to understand and above all increasingly to live the unbreakable bond between the love for God our Father and the concrete and generous love for our brothers, and may she give us the grace to have compassion and to grow in compassion.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Once again I wish to express my closeness to the beloved Venezuelan people, particularly tried by the continuing crisis. Let us pray to the Lord to inspire and enlighten the parties involved, so that they may reach an agreement as soon as possible to put an end to the sufferings of the people for the good of the country and of the entire region.
I cordially greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from Italy and various parts of the world: families, parish groups, and associations.
In particular, I greet the young people of the dioceses of Pamplona and Tudela, those attending the course for formators promoted by “Regnum Christi”, the sisters of the Sacred Family of Nazareth who are celebrating their General Chapter, and the confirmands of Bolgare, Bergamo.
I send a cordial greeting to Polish faithful, to you [indicates the faithful in the square] and to those who participate in the annual pilgrimage of Radio Maria to the Shrine of Czestochowa. Let us greet all the Polish pilgrims.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and goodbye.