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!
This Sunday’s Gospel reading (cf. Mk 3: 20-35) shows us two types of misunderstanding that Jesus had to face: that of the scribes and that of his own relatives.
The first misunderstanding. The scribes were men learned in the Sacred Scriptures and responsible for explaining them to the people. Some of them were sent from Jerusalem to Galilee, where Jesus’ fame began to spread, to discredit Him in the eyes of the people, to engage in the role of gossipers, to discredit the other, take away His authority, this awful thing. And they were sent to do this. And these scribes arrived with a specific and terrible accusation – they spared nothing, they went straight to the point and said: “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons He casts out the demons” (v. 22). That is, the head of the demons is the one that drives Him, which is more or less equivalent to saying, “He is possessed”. In fact, Jesus healed many sick people, and the scribes wanted to make them believe that He did so, not with the Spirit of God — as Jesus did –, but with that of the evil one, with the strength of the devil. Jesus reacts with strong and clear words; He does not tolerate this, because those scribes, perhaps without realizing it, were committing the gravest sin: to deny and blaspheme God’s love, which is present and working in Jesus. And blasphemy, the sin against the Holy Spirit, is the only unforgivable sin — says Jesus – because it stems from the closing of the heart to God’s mercy, which acts in Jesus.
However, this episode contains an admonition that is useful for us all. Indeed, it can happen that intense envy of a person’s goodness and good works of a person can lead one to accuse them falsely. There is a mortal poison here: the malice with which, in a premeditated way, one wishes to destroy another’s good reputation. May God free us from this terrible temptation! And if, on examining our conscience, we realize that this evil weed is germinating within us, we must go immediately to confess it in the Sacrament of Penance, before it develops and produces its evil effects, which are incurable. Beware, because this attitude destroys families, friendships, communities and even society.
Today’s Gospel speaks to us also of another very different misunderstanding, in Jesus’ relations: that of His relatives. They were concerned because His new itinerant life seemed madness to them (cf. v. 21). In fact, He showed Himself so available to people, especially the sick and sinners, to the point of not even having time to eat. Jesus was like that: first the people, serve the people, help the people, teach the people and cure the people. He was for the people; He did not even have the time to eat. Therefore, His relatives decide to take Him back home to Nazareth. They arrive in the place where Jesus is preaching and they sent to Him and called Him. They say to Him: “Behold, your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you” (v. 32). He replies: “Who are my mother and my brethren?” And looking around the persons who sat about Him to listen to Him, He adds: “Here are my mother and my brethren! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister and mother” (vv. 33-34). Jesus has formed a new family, no longer based on natural ties but on faith in Him, on His love that receives us and unites us in the Holy Spirit. All those who receive the word of Jesus are children of God and brothers among themselves. To receive the word of Jesus makes us brothers among ourselves and renders us Jesus’ family. To speak badly of others, to destroy the reputation of others, makes us the devil’s family.
That answer Jesus gives is not a lack of respect for His mother and His relatives. On the contrary, for Mary it is the greatest acknowledgement, because it is indeed she who is the perfect disciple who fully obeyed God’s will. May the Virgin Mary help us to live always in communion with Jesus, recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit Who acts in Him and in the Church, regenerating the world to new life.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
I wish once again to address to the beloved Korean people a particular thought in friendship and in prayer. May the talks that will take place in the coming days in Singapore contribute to the development of a positive path forward, that may ensure a future of peace for the Korean peninsula and for the whole world. For this, let us pray to the Lord. All together, let us pray to Our Lady, Queen of Korea, that she may accompany these talks.
Today in Agen, in France, Sister Mary of the Immaculate Conception, née Adelaide de Batz de Trenquelléon, is proclaimed blessed. She lived between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and founded the Daughters of Mary Immaculate, or the Marianists. Let us praise the Lord for this daughter of His who consecrated her life to Him and to the service to her brothers. An applause to the new Blessed, an applause from you all.
I greet you all, dear Romans and pilgrims: parish groups, families, associations. In particular I greet the faithful from Spain: from Murcia, Pamplona and Logroño. And from Italy, those from Naples, the young people of Mestrino and the Alpine sports group of Legnago.
I wish you a good Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and goodbye!