Like Paul, let’s pray God sustain us along our trials and open our hearts.
Today, Pope Francis gave this invitation to faithful gathered at the General Audience, his first of the New Year. It took place this morning in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall this morning
Francis continued his catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, noting that “we see the Gospel preached not only on land but also at sea, as Paul, now a prisoner, is taken by ship to Rome.”
The Holy Father reminded of all the perils Paul faced, and underscored how he did not get discouraged by them. When landing on Malta, Francis observed how he and others were struck by the “unusual kindness” from the people there, but hazards too. Luckily, Paul, other than being bit by a viper, was unharmed, and while there, he healed many people.
“Paul’s sea voyage, full of peril and salvation,” Pope Francis underscored, “can serve as a symbol of God’s providential care for us through our passage from death to life in the waters of baptism.”
The Holy Father prayed the Lord sustain us in our trials, and open our hearts, to all people, so “they find in us that fraternal love born of our saving encounter with Jesus Christ.”
Below is the Vatican-provided text of the Pope’s summary.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, we see the Gospel preached not only on land but also at sea, as Paul, now a prisoner, is taken by ship to Rome. From Crete, Paul warns the crew of the risk of further travel, yet they carry on into a near fatal storm. Paul encourages all on board not to be afraid, and recounts how an angel has told him that they will arrive in Rome. In this way, Jesus’ promise that his disciples would become his witnesses “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) would be fulfilled. Landing on Malta, the travellers experience “unusual kindness” from the people of that place, but hazards too, as Paul is bitten by a viper. He himself is unharmed, and during his stay on the island he heals many of the sick. Paul’s sea voyage, full of peril and salvation, can serve as a symbol of God’s providential care for us through our passage from death to life in the waters of baptism. May the Lord sustain us in our own trials and open our hearts to those who today experience shipwreck and arrive on our shores. May they find in us that fraternal love born of our saving encounter with Jesus Christ.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from Australia and the United States of America. May each of you, and your families, cherish the joy of this Christmas season and draw near in prayer to the Saviour who has come to dwell among us. May God bless you![Vatican-provided English text]