On Our Good and Great Father

“Where He Is Not, There Can Be No Good”

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 17, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before and after praying the midday Angelus with those who had gathered at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The Gospel parables are brief narratives that Jesus uses to proclaim the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Using images and situations of daily life, the Lord “wishes to indicate the true foundation of everything. He shows us … the God who acts, who enters our life and wants to take us by the hand” (Gesu di Nazaret, I, Milan, 2007, 229). 

With these reflections, the divine Teacher invites us to recognize first of all the primacy of God the Father: Where he is not, there can be no good. He is a decisive priority for everything. Kingdom of Heaven means, in fact, lordship of God, and that means that his will must be assumed as the guiding criterion of our existence.

The subject contained in this Sunday’s Gospel is precisely the Kingdom of Heaven. “Heaven” should not be understood only in the sense of some height that is above us, because this infinite space also has the form of man’s interiority. Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a field of wheat, to make us understand that within us is sown something small and hidden, which, nevertheless, has an unrestrainable vital force. Despite all the obstacles, the seed will develop and the fruit will mature. This fruit will only be good if the terrain of life has been cultivated according to the divine will. Because of this, in the parable of the good seed and the weeds (Matthew 13:24-30,) Jesus warns us that, after the owner planted the seed, “while all were sleeping,” “his enemy” came and sowed weeds. This means that we must be ready to guard the grace received on the day of our baptism, continuing to nourish faith in the Lord, which prevents evil from taking root. Commenting on this parable, St. Augustine observed that “many at first are weeds and then become good seed” and he added: “if the former, when they were evil, were not endured with patience, they would not have attained the praiseworthy change” (Quaest. septend. in Ev. sec. Matth., 12, 4:PL 35, 1371).

Dear friends, the Book of Wisdom — from which today’s first reading draws, emphasizes this dimension of the divine being and states: “There is no god besides you who have the care of all … For your might is the source of justice; your mastery over all things makes you lenient to all.” (Wisdom 12:13,16). And Psalm 85 [86] confirms it: “You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call upon you” (verse 5). 

Hence, if we are children of such a great and good Father, we must seek to resemble him! This was the aim that Jesus set himself with his preaching; he said, in fact, to those who listened to him: “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Let us turn with confidence to Mary, whom we invoked yesterday with the title of Most Holy Virgin of Mount Carmel, so that she will help us to follow Jesus faithfully, and thus live as true children of God.

[After the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the people in various languages. In Italian, he said:]

I am following with profound concern the news from the region of the Horn of Africa and in particular of Somalia, stricken by a severe drought and afterward, in some areas, by intense rain, which is causing a humanitarian catastrophe. Innumerable people are fleeing from that tremendous famine in search of food and help. I hope that international mobilization will increase to send help in time to these brothers and sisters of ours, already sorely tried, among whom are so many children. May our solidarity, and the concrete support of all people of good will, not be lacking to these suffering populations.

[In French, he said:]

Dear French-speaking pilgrims, the time of vacations is certainly propitious for cultural and spiritual enrichment. Through the innumerable places and monuments that you visit, you can discover the beauty of that universal patrimony that refers us to our roots! Be attentive in allowing yourselves to be swept up by the beautiful ideal that inspired the builders of cathedrals and abbeys, when they built these striking signs of the presence of God on our earth. May that ideal become yours and may the Holy Spirit, who sees the depth of hearts, inspire you to pray in these places, rendering thanks and interceding for humanity of the third millennium! I bless you from my heart, particularly the families here present!

[In Spanish, he said:]

I greet affectionately the Spanish-speaking pilgrims present at this Marian prayer, as well as those who join it through radio and television. Today’s liturgy presents to us a God, kind and rich in clemency, who governs the world with wisdom and whose patience has no limit, giving the sinner the necessary time to open his heart to the divine Word, to learn how he behaves, he who can do all, and to reflect in our lives the greatness of his love and mercy. May we be helped in this by the Most Holy Virgin Mary. Happy Sunday.

[In Polish, he said:]

I welcome the Poles who have come to Castel Gandolfo. I also greet your countrymen in Poland and around the world. Yesterday, we celebrated the memorial of Mary, Mother of God of the Scapular (Our Lady of Mount Carmel). The scapular is a particular sign of union with Jesus and Mary. For those who wear it, it is a sign of filial abandonment to the protection of the Immaculate Virgin. In our battle against evil, may Mary our Mother wrap us in her mantle. I commend you to her protection and I bless you from my heart.

[Translation by ZENIT] [In English, he said:]

I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer, including the pilgrims from Meath, Ireland, and from Nazareth, the home of Jesus. Today’s Gospel encourages us to let the good seed of God’s word bear fruit in our lives and to trust in his mysterious plan for the growth of the Kingdom. Let us work for an abundant harvest of holiness in the Church and ask to be found among Christ’s righteous ones on the Day of Judgment. Upon all of you I invoke the Lord’s abundant blessings of joy and peace!

© Copyright 2011 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

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