Angelus / Foto: Francesco Sforza - © PHOTO.VA - OSSERVATORE ROMANO

Angelus Address: The Missionary Does not Bring Himself but Jesus

“His Bond with Jesus Is Stronger than Any Other Bond”

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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!
Today’s liturgy presents to us the last parts of the missionary discourse of chapter 10 of Matthew’s Gospel (Cf. 10:37-42), with which Jesus instructs the twelve Apostles, at the moment in which He sends them for the first time on mission to the villages of Galilee and Judea. In this last part Jesus stresses two essential aspects for the life of the missionary disciple: the first, that his bond with Jesus is stronger than any other bond; the second, that the missionary does not bring himself but Jesus, and through him the love of the celestial Father. These two aspects are connected, because the more Jesus is at the center of the heart and life of the disciple, the more the disciple is “transparent” to His presence. They both go together.
“He who loves father or mother more than me . . .” (v. 37), says Jesus. The affection of a father, the tenderness of a mother, the sweet friendship between brothers and sisters, all this, though being very good and legitimate, cannot be put before Christ. Not because He wants us without a heart and devoid of gratitude but, rather, on the contrary, because the disciple’s condition calls for a priority relationship with the Teacher – whoever is a disciple, be it a layman, a laywoman, a priest, a Bishop: the priority relationship. Perhaps the first question we should ask a Christian is: “But do you encounter Jesus? Do you pray to Jesus?” The relationship.  The Book of Genesis could almost be paraphrased: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Cf. Genesis 2:24).
He who lets himself be attracted by this bond of love and of life with the Lord Jesus, becomes His representative, His “ambassador,” especially by his way of being, of living, to the point that Jesus Himself, on sending the disciples on mission, says to them: “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives Him who sent me” (Matthew 10:40). It is necessary that people be able to perceive that for the disciple Jesus is truly “the Lord,” He is truly the center of his life, the all of his life. It does not matter if then, as every human person, he has his limitations and also his errors – as long as he has the humility to acknowledge them –; what is important is that he not have a double heart – and this is dangerous. I am a Christian, I am a disciple of Jesus, I am a priest, I am a Bishop, but I have a double heart. No, this is not right. He must not have a double heart but a simple, united heart; that he not have his foot in two shoes, but that he is honest with himself and with others. Double-dealing is not Christian. Therefore, Jesus prays to the Father, so that the disciples will not fall into the spirit of the world. You are either with Jesus, with the spirit of Jesus, or you are with the spirit of the world.
And here our experience as priests teaches us a very beautiful thing, a very important thing: it is precisely this reception of the holy faithful People of God, it is precisely this “cup of cold water” (v. 42), of which the Lord speaks today in the Gospel, given with affectionate faith, which helps one to be a good priest! There is reciprocity also in the mission: if you leave everything for Jesus, people recognize the Lord in you but, at the same time, it helps you to convert every day to Him, to renew and purify yourself of compromises and to overcome temptations. The closer a priest is to the People of God, the more he will feel close to Jesus, and the more a priest is close to Jesus, the more he will feel close to the People of God.
The Virgin Mary experienced personally what it means to love Jesus detaching herself from herself, giving new meaning to family bonds, beginning from faith in Him. May she help us, with her maternal intercession, to be free and happy missionaries of the Gospel.
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The 5th of July is the feast of Venezuela’s independence. I assure my prayer for this beloved Nation and I express my closeness to the families that have lost children in the manifestations of the Square. I appeal so that violence is brought to an end and a peaceful and democratic solution is found to the crisis. May Our Lady of Coromoto intercede for Venezuela! And let us all pray to Our Lady of Coromoto for Venezuela: “Hail Mary . . .”
My greeting goes to you all, Romans and pilgrims!
In particular, I greet the Irish faithful of Belfast, and the young people of Schattdorf (Switzerland) who a short time ago received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
I greet the various parish groups and Associations, as well as the participants in the moto-pilgrimage of Cardito (Naples).
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!
[Original text: Italian]  [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

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