At midday today, Pope 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 are the Pope’s words of introduction to the Marian prayer:
Before the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters, buongiorno!
Today the Gospel contains a very beautiful prayer Jesus addresses to the Father, saying, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children” (Mt 11:25). But what things is Jesus talking about? And then, who are these little children to whom such things are revealed? Let us reflect on this: on the things for which Jesus thanks his Father and on the little children who know how to welcome them.
The things for which Jesus thanks his Father. Just before this, the Lord had recalled some of his works: “the blind receive their sight […] lepers are cleansed, […] the poor have the good news preached to them” (Mt 11:5), and he revealed what this means, saying that these are the signs that God is at work in the world. The message, then, is clear – God reveals himself by liberating and healing the human person – let’s not forget this, God reveals himself by liberating and healing the human person—and he does this with a gratuitous love, a love that saves. This is why Jesus thanks his father, because his greatness consists in his love and he never works outside of love. But this greatness in love is not understood by those who presume to be great and who fabricate a god in their own image – powerful, inflexible, vindictive. In other words, those who are presumptuous – full of themselves, proud, concerned only about their own interests – these are the presumptuous ones, convinced they do not need anyone, are not able to accept God as Father. In this regard, Jesus names the inhabitants of three rich cities of his times – Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum – where he had accomplished many healings, but whose inhabitants remained indifferent to his preaching. For them, his miracles were only spectacular events, useful for making news and to increase gossip. Once passing interest in them was over, they archived them, maybe in order to occupy themselves in other novelties of the moment. They did not know how to welcome the great things of God.
The little children, instead, know how to welcome them, and Jesus thanks the Father for them: “I bless you,” he says, because you have revealed the Kingdom of Heaven to little ones. Jesus praises him for the simple people whose hearts are free from presumption and self-love. The little ones are those who, like children, feel their need and are not self-sufficient. They are open to God and allow themselves to be amazed at his works. They know how to read his signs, to marvel at the miracles of his love! I ask all of you, and even myself, do we know how to marvel at the things of God or do we take them for passing things?
Brothers and sisters, if we think about it, our lives are filled with miracles – they are filled with deeds of love, signs of God’s goodness. Before these, however, even our hearts can remain indifferent and become habitual, curious but not capable of being amazed, of allowing themselves to be “impressed”. A closed heart, an armed heart, that does not have the capacity of being amazed. To impress is a beautiful verb that brings to mind photographic film. This is the correct behaviour before God’s works: to take a photo of his works in our minds so it is impressed on our hearts, to then be developed in our lives through many good deeds, so that this “photograph” of God who is love becomes ever brighter in us and through us.
And now, let us ask ourselves: In the deluge of news that overwhelms us, do I, as Jesus shows us today, know how to stop before the great things of God, those that God accomplishes? Do I allow myself to marvel like a child at the good that silently changes the world? Have I lost the capacity to be amazed? And do I thank the Father each day for his works? May Mary, who exulted in the Lord, make us able to be amazed by his love and to thank him with simplicity.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
With sorrow, I learned again that blood has been poured out in the Holy Land. I hope that the Israeli and Palestinian leaders can resume direct dialogue to bring an end to the spiral of violence and open paths of reconciliation and peace.
Today is Sea Sunday, dedicated to those who work aboard ships, in the ports and in the maritime industry. I thank the mariners who protect the oceans from various forms of pollution – in addition to their work – and remove from the ocean the garbage that we throw into it, the plastic. The fishermen from San Benedetto del Tronto told me once about the tons of plastic they removed from the sea, as we saw recently on the programme Sua Immagine. I thank the chaplains and volunteers of the Apostolate of the Sea and I entrust all of them to the protection of Mary, Stella maris (Star of the Sea). I would also like remember gratefully all who work for Mediterranea Saving Humans for saving migrants in the sea. Thank you very much, brothers and sisters!
And now I greet you, faithful from Rome and pilgrims, who, despite the July heat, are here in the square! A round of applause to all of you! I am happy to greet in a particular way the girl scouts and university students from Leopoli in Ukraine: I give you all my blessing and I extend it to your dear ones and your people, so severely tried. Let us pray for this people that suffers so much. I greet the people from Poland and I remember the huge pilgrimage that takes place today at the Shrine of Jasna Góra, in Częstochowa.
I greet the young people from the Regnum Christi movement, the scouts from Modica, the parish choir from Saint Stephen Quisquina - Agrigento, the children from the Diocese of Pistoia and the faithful from Sacile.
And now I would like to announce that next 30 September I will hold a Consistory for the appointment of new Cardinals. Where they come from expresses the universality of the Church, which continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all people of the earth. In addition, the insertion of the new Cardinals in the Diocese of Rome, manifests the inseparable bond between the See of Peter and the local Churches spread throughout the world.
Here are the names of the new Cardinals:
Archbishop Robert Francis PREVOST, O.S.A., Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops
Archbishop Claudio GUGEROTTI, Prefect of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches
Archbishop Víctor Manuel FERNÁNDEZ, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith
Archbishop Emil Paul TSCHERRIG, Apostolic Nunzio
Archbishop Christophe Louis Yves Georges PIERRE, Apostolic Nunzio
Archbishop Pierbattista PIZZABALLA, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Archbishop Stephen BRISLIN, Archbishop of the Capetown (Kaapstad)
Archbishop Ángel Sixto ROSSI, S.J., Archbishop of Córdoba
Archbishop Luis José RUEDA APARICIO, Archbishop of Bogotá
Archbishop Grzegorz RYŚ, Archbishop of Łódź
Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin MULLA, Archbishop of Juba
Archbishop José COBO CANO, Archbishop of Madrid
Archbishop Protase RUGAMBWA, Coadjutor Archbishop of Tabora
Bishop Sebastian FRANCIS, Bishop of Penang
Bishop Stephen CHOW SAU-YAN, S.J., Bishop of Hong Kong
Bishop François-Xavier BUSTILLO, O.F.M. Conv., Bishop of Ajaccio
Bishop Américo Manuel ALVES AGUIAR, Auxiliary Bishop of Lisbon
Reverend Ángel FERNÁNDEZ ARTIME, s.d.b., Rector Major of the Salesians
Together with them, I will add to the members of the College of Cardinals two archbishops and one religious who have distinguished themselves for their service to the Church:
Archbishop Agostino MARCHETTO, Apostolic Nuncio.
Archbishop Diego Rafael PADRÓN SÁNCHEZ, Archbishop Emeritus of Cumaná
Father Luis Pascual DRI, OFM Cap., Confessor of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei, Buenos Aires
Let us pray for the new Cardinals, so that, confirming their adhesion to Christ, the merciful and faithful High Priest (cf. Heb 2:17), they might help me in my ministry as Bishop of Rome for the good of the entire Holy People faithful to God.
I hope all of you have a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and arrivederci.