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ANGELUS ADDRESS: On the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

June 29, 2018. ‘May the Lord allow the Church, in Rome and throughout the world, to always be faithful to the Gospel, at whose service the Saints Peter and Paul have consecrated their lives’

Here is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after the recitation of the Angelus, to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

Before the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today the Church, a pilgrim to Rome and throughout the world, goes to the roots of Her faith and celebrates the Apostles Peter and Paul. Their mortal remains, kept in the two Basilicas dedicated to them, are so dear to the Romans and to numerous pilgrims who come to venerate them from all over.

I would like to dwell on the Gospel (Mt 16:13-19) that the Liturgy offers us on this Feast Day. It tells an episode that is fundamental for our journey of faith. This is the dialogue in which Jesus asks His disciples the question about His identity. He first asks: “Who do others say the Son of Man is?” (v. 13). And then He asks them directly: “Who do you say that I am?” (v. 15). With these two questions, Jesus seems to say that one thing is to follow popular opinion, and another is to meet Him and open oneself to His mystery: there he discovers the truth. Popular opinion contains a true, but partial answer; Peter, and with him, the Church of yesterday, today and always, responds, through the grace of God, the Truth: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16).

Over the centuries, the world has defined Jesus in different ways: a great prophet of justice and love; a wise master of life; a revolutionary; a dreamer of the dreams of God … and so on. Many beautiful things. In the chatter of these and other hypotheses, the confession of Simon, called Peter, humble and full of faith, stands still today, simple and clear: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16). Jesus is the Son of God: therefore He is perennially alive as His Father is eternally alive. This is the novelty that grace ignites in the heart of those who open themselves to the mystery of Jesus: the non-mathematical certainty, but even stronger, interior, of having met the Source of Life, the Life itself made flesh, visible and tangible in our midst. This is the experience of the Christian, and it is not the merit of us Christians, it is not our merit, but it comes from God, it is a grace of God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit. All this is contained in Peter’s answer: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

And then, Jesus’ answer is full of light: “You are Peter and on this rock, I will build my Church and the gates of the underworld will not prevail against it” (v. 18). It is the first time that Jesus pronounces the word “Church”: and He does so expressing all love possible toward Her, defining Her as “My Church.” It is the new community of the Covenant, no longer based on descent and on the Law, but on faith in Him, Jesus, Face of God. A faith that Blessed Paul VI, when he was still Archbishop of Milan, expressed with this admirable prayer:

«O Christ, our only mediator, You need us:

to live in Communion with God the Father;

to become with you, that You are the only Son and our Lord,

His adopted children;

to be regenerated in the Holy Spirit “( Pastoral Letter , 1955).

Through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Queen of the Apostles, may the Lord allow the Church, in Rome and throughout the world, to always be faithful to the Gospel, at whose service the Saints Peter and Paul have consecrated their lives.

[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]

After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

This morning, here in St. Peter’s Square, I celebrated the Eucharist with the new Cardinals created in yesterday’s Consistory ; and I have blessed the Palliums of Metropolitan Archbishops named in the last year, coming from different countries. I renew my greeting and my wish to them and to those who have accompanied them on this festive occasion. May they always live their service to the Gospel and to the Church with enthusiasm and generosity.

In the same celebration, I welcomed with affection the delegation who came to Rome on behalf of the Ecumenical Patriarch, my dear brother Bartholomew. This presence is a further sign of the journey of communion and fraternity which, thanks to God, characterizes our Churches.

I extend a cordial greeting to all of you, families, parish groups, associations and individual believers from Italy and many parts of the world, especially from the Czech Republic, Pakistan, China and the United States of America. And I see the Spanish flags: from Spain … And from many other countries.

My greeting today is especially for you, faithful of Rome, on the feast of the patron saints of the city! For this anniversary, the “Pro Loco” in Rome promoted the traditional Infiorata [flower display], which I see from here, made by different artists, associations and volunteers. Thank you for this beautiful initiative and for the striking floral decorations!

I wish all a good feast. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!