Below is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ Angelus address today at noon to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square:
Before the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, Good morning!
Today’s Gospel (Lk 12: 49-53) is part of the teachings of Jesus to his disciples as they made their way up toward Jerusalem, where He awaits death on the Cross. To indicate the purpose (scope) of His mission, He uses three images: fire, baptism and division. Today, I wish to speak about the first image: fire. Fire.
Jesus expresses it in these words: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” (v.49). The fire which Jesus speaks about to is the fire of the Holy Spirit, the alive and active presence in all of us since our Baptism. It is a creative force that purifies and renews, it burns away every human misery, all selfishness and every sin, and transforms us from within, regenerates and makes us capable of loving. Jesus desires that the Holy Spirit may blaze like fire in our hearts, because it is only from the heart—pay attention to this—that the fire of divine love will flourish and advance the Kingdom of God.
If we open ourselves totally to the Holy Spirit, He will give us the audacity and fervor to proclaim to all Jesus and His consoling message of mercy and salvation, even in distant seas. But this does not come from the head, it comes from the heart. And for this reason, Jesus wishes that this fire enters into our hearts.
To carry out Her mission in the world, the Church needs the help of the Holy Spirit in order to not be deterred by fear and calculation, to not get used to walk within her set borders. The Apostolic courage that the Holy Spirit kindles in us is like a fire that helps us overcome walls and barriers, making us creative and encouraging us to put ourselves in motion to even walk down unexplored or inconvenient roads, offering hope to those we meet. With the fire of the holy spirit, we are called more and more to become communities of people led and transformed by the Holy Spirit, full of understanding, from having more open hearts and joyful faces. More than ever, today, more than ever today, we need priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful, with the attentive gaze of the Apostle, to be moved and to stand before hardships and material and spiritual poverty, characterizing the process of evangelization and of mission with the sounding rhythm of closeness. It is really the fire of the Holy Spirit the brings us with and makes us neighbors with the people that suffer, those who are needy, with so many human miseries, with so many problems: of refugees, of those who suffer. That fire that comes from the heart, fire!
In this moment, I think with admiration especially of the many priests and religious, all over the world, that are dedicated to proclaiming the Gospel with great love and loyalty, often even at the cost of their lives. Their exemplary witness reminds us that the Church does not need bureaucrats and managers, but passionate missionaries, consumed by the ardor to bring the consoling words of Jesus and His regenerating grace to everyone.
If the Church does not receive this fire of the Holy Spirit, or doesn’t let it enter into Herself, it becomes a cold or lukewarm Church, incapable of giving life, because it is made up of cold or lukewarm Christians. It would do us good today to take five minutes and each of us ask ourselves: But how is my heart? Is it cold or lukewarm, or instead capable of receiving this fire? Let us take five minutes for this. It would do good for us all.
We ask the Virgin Mary to pray with us and for us, Heavenly Father, to pour out upon all believers the Holy Spirit, the Divine fire that warms hearts and helps us be in solidarity with the joys and sufferings of our brothers. May the example of St. Maximilian Kolbe, martyr of love, whose feast day is today, support us in our journey and teach us to live the fire of love for God and neighbor.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet with affection all of you Romans and pilgrims present!
Also today, I have the joy of greeting some groups of young people: first of all, scouts who have come from Paris; and the young people who have come to Rome on pilgrimage on foot or by bicycle from Bisuschio, Treviso, Solarolo, Macherio, Sovico, Vall’Alta of Bergamo and seminarians of the Minor Seminary of Bergamo. I repeat to you the words that were the theme of the great meeting [World Youth Day] in Krakow: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” Strive always to forgive and have a compassionate heart.
I also greet the associations of the project “Postcards on bicycle.“
I wish you all a good Sunday and good lunch. And, please, do not forget to pray for me. Goodbye!
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]