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 (cf. Mk 10: 35-45) describes Jesus Who, once again and with great patience, tries to correct His disciples, converting them from the mentality of the world to that of God. The occasion is provided by the brothers James and John, two of the very first whom Jesus had met and called to follow Him. They have by now made quite a lot of progress with Him and belong fully to the group of the twelve Apostles. Therefore, while they are travelling towards Jerusalem, where the disciples eagerly hope that Jesus, on the occasion of the Feast of the Passover, will finally establish the Kingdom of God, the two brothers are emboldened to approach the Master and address their request to Him: “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory” (v. 37).
Jesus knows that James and John are inspired by great enthusiasm for Him and for the cause of the Kingdom, but He also knows that their expectations and their zeal are contaminated by the spirit of the world. Therefore he replies: “You don’t know what you are asking” (v. 38). And while they speak of “thrones of glory” upon which they would be seated next to Christ the King, He speaks of a “cup” to drink from, of a “baptism” to receive, that is His passion and death. James and John, again aiming for the hoped-for privilege, say impulsively: yes, “We can”! But, even here, they do not fully realize what they are saying. Jesus announces that they will drink from His cup and receive His baptism, that is that they too, like the other Apostles, will participate in His cross, when their time comes. But, concludes Jesus “but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared” (v.40). It is as if to say: now follow me and learn the way of love “at a loss”, and the heavenly Father will consider the reward. The way of love is always “at a loss”, because to love means to leave aside selfishness, self-referentiality, to serve others.
Jesus then realizes that the other ten Apostles are angry with James and John, thus showing that they have the same worldly mentality. And this provides Him with the starting point for a lesson that applies to Christians of all times, even for us. He says: “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (v. 42-44). It is the rule of the Christian. The Master’s message is clear: while the great of the Earth build themselves “thrones” with their power, God chooses an uncomfortable throne, the cross, from which to reign by giving His life: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (v. 45).
The way of service is the most effective antidote against the pathology of the search for first places; it is a medicine for climbers, against this search for first places, which infects so many human contexts and spares neither Christians, the people of God, nor even the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Therefore, as disciples of Christ, we welcome this Gospel as a call to conversion, to witness with courage and generosity a Church that bows at the feet of the last, to serve them with love and simplicity. May the Virgin Mary, who fully and humbly followed the will of God, help us to joyfully follow Jesus on the path of service, the high road that leads to Heaven.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Yesterday in Malaga, Spain, the Jesuit priest Tiburcio Arnáiz Muñoz, founder of the Missionaries of the Rural Parishes, was proclaimed Blessed. Let us give thanks to the Lord for the witness of this zealous minister of Reconciliation and tireless proclaimer of the Gospel, especially among the humble and the forgotten. May his example inspire us to be workers of mercy and courageous missionaries in every environment; may his intercession support our path. Let us all applaud the Blessed Tiburcio!
Today we celebrate World Missionary Day, on the theme “Together with young people, let us bring the Gospel to all”. Together with young people: this is the way! And it is the reality that, thanks to God, we are experiencing in these days in the Synod dedicated to them: listening to them and involving them we discover many testimonies from young people who have found the meaning and the joy of life in Jesus. And often they encountered Him thanks to other young people, who already participate in this company of brothers and sisters that is the Church. Let us pray that the new generations will not lack the proclamation of faith and the call to collaborate in the Church’s mission. I think of many Christians, men and women, laypeople, consecrated persons, priests, bishops, who have spent their lives, and continue to spend them far from their homelands, proclaiming the Gospel. Our love, our gratitude and our prayer goes to them.
Let us pray a “Hail Mary” for them
[recites the prayer]
And now I greet you all, pilgrims from Italy and various countries. In particular, those from the diocese of Płock and the “Saint John Paul II” School of Kartuzy, Poland; those of Braço do Norte, Brazil, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and from the “Saint Chaumond” Lyceum of Poitiers, France. And a group of young people from Buenos Aires and Cordoba, Argentina. I greet the Italian Secular Trinitarian Order and the young people of the “Village of the simple” of San Cataldo, Sicily. And also the confirmands from Galzignano, whom I see over there.
I address a special thought to the group from Caritas Internationalis, led by the president, Cardinal Luís Antonio Tagle, with several bishops and people from various countries throughout the world. You have made a brief pilgrimage to Rome, to express your desire to walk together, in this way learning how to get to know each other better. I encourage this initiative of “sharing the way”, which is promoted in many cities and which can transform our relationship with migrants. Many thanks to Caritas!
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and goodbye.