May Mary help us discover the Lord in our midst, even in the most and unusual situations…
Pope Francis gave this reminder during his Angelus Address today, Sept. 30, 2018, reflecting on the need for openness and freedom in proclaiming the Gospel.
In his remarks, the Pope stressed: “God’s great freedom in giving himself to us is a challenge and an exhortation to change our attitudes and our relationships.”
The Holy Father prayed: “May the Virgin Mary, model of docile reception of God’s surprises, help us to recognize the signs of the Lord’s presence in our midst, discovering Him wherever He manifests Himself, also in the most unthinkable and unusual situations.”
“May she teach us to love our community without jealousies and closures, always open to the vast horizon of the action of the Holy Spirit.”
Pope Francis concluded his Angelus address, as usual, wishing everyone a happy Sunday, a good lunch, and asking them to pray for him.
Earlier that morning, the Pope had presided over Mass, at the Grotto of Lourdes of the Vatican Gardens, for the Vatican Gendarmerie, at 9am.
Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
This Sunday’s Gospel (Cf. Mark 9:38-43.45.47.-48) presents to us one of those very instructive particulars of Jesus’ life with His disciples. They had seen a man, who wasn’t part of the group of Jesus’ followers, casting out devils in Jesus’ name, and so they wanted to forbid him. With the typical zealous enthusiasm of young people, John referred the incident to the Master seeking His support. However, Jesus answers on the contrary: “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us” (vv. 39-40).
John and the other disciples reflect an attitude of closure in face of an event that doesn’t fit in their schemes, in this case the action, though good, of a person “outside” the circle of followers. Instead, Jesus seems very free, fully open to the freedom of the Spirit of God, who isn’t limited in His action by some border or enclosure. Jesus wishes to educate His disciples, also us today, to this interior freedom.
It does us good to reflect on this episode, and to make an examination of conscience.
The attitude of Jesus’ disciples is very human, very common, and we can find it in the Christian communities of all times, probably also in ourselves. Rather, in good faith, with zeal one would want to protect the authenticity of a certain experience, especially charismatic, protecting the founder or leader from false imitators. However, at the same time there is sort of fear of a “concurrence” – and this is awful: the fear of a concurrence –, that someone can draw new followers, and then one is unable to appreciate the good that others do: it’s not right because “he’s not one of ours,” it’s said. It’s a form of self-reference. Here, rather, is the root of proselytism. And the Church — Pope Benedict said — doesn’t grow by proselytism; it grows by attraction, namely, it grows by the witness given to others with the strength of the Holy Spirit.
God’s great freedom in giving Himself to us is a challenge and an exhortation to change our attitudes and our relationships. It’s the invitation that Jesus addresses to us today. He calls us not to think according to the categories of “friend/enemy,” “we/them.” Who is inside? Who is outside,” “mine/yours,” but to go beyond, to open our heart to be able to recognize God’s presence and action also in unusual and unforeseen realms, and in persons that are not part of our circle. It’s about being more attentive to the genuineness of the good, of the beautiful and of the true that is done, not about the name and provenance of the one who does it. And — as the remaining part of today’s Gospel suggests — instead of judging others, we must examine ourselves, and “cut” without compromises all that can scandalize the persons weakest in the faith.
May the Virgin Mary, model of docile reception of God’s surprises, help us to recognize the signs of the Lord’s presence in our midst, discovering Him wherever He manifests Himself, also in the most unthinkable and unusual situations. May she teach us to love our community without jealousies and closures, always open to the vast horizon of the action of the Holy Spirit.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I express my closeness to the populations of the Island of Sulawesi, in Indonesia, affected by a strong tsunami. I pray for the deceased — unfortunately numerous –, for the wounded for all those that have lost their home and work. May the Lord console them and support the efforts of all those that are involved in bringing help. Let us pray together for our brothers of the Island of Sulawesi: Hail Mary . . .
Proclaimed Blessed today at Marseilles is Jean-Baptiste Fouque, diocesan priest, who was an assistant parish priest his whole life — a good example for status seekers –. Living between the 19th and 20th centuries, he promoted numerous welfare and social works in favor of young people, the elderly, the poor and the sick. May the example and intercession of this apostle of charity sustain us in our commitment to welcome and share with the weakest and most disadvantage people: applaud the new Blessed Jean-Baptiste!
I greet you all affectionately, Romans and pilgrims from different countries. In particular, I greet the faithful of Calpe (Spain), the groups of Mayors and Administrators of the Salzburg region, and the international delegation of the deaf on the occasion of the World Day of the Deaf.
I greet the members of Sant’Egidio Community of Campania, the young people of the Shalom Movement of Fucecchio, the faithful of Foggia and those of Rapallo.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye![Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]