(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 07.09.2023).- Some 15,000 people accompanied the Holy Father in reciting the Marian Angelus prayer on Sunday, July 9, in Saint Peter’s Square. In his greetings after his address and the Angelus, Pope Francis expressed his regret for the violence against Palestinians in the Holy Land. Given that being observed on July 9 was the Day of the Sea, the Pontiff mentioned its commemoration. Finally, he also announced the creation on September 30, 2023, of new Cardinals.
Here is the text of his address, translated from the Italian original by the Holy See.
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Today the Gospel contains a very beautiful prayer Jesus addresses to the Father, saying, “I thank you, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children” (Matthew 11:25). But what things is Jesus talking about? And then, who are these little children to whom such things are revealed? Let us reflect on this: on the things for which Jesus thanks His Father and on the little children who know how to welcome them.
The things for which Jesus thanks His Father. Just before this, the Lord had recalled some of His works: “the blind receive their sight […] lepers are cleansed, […] the poor have the Good News preached to them” (Matthew 11:5), and He revealed what this means, saying that these are the signs that God is at work in the world. The message, then, is clear – God reveals Himself by liberating and healing the human person — let’s not forget this, God reveals Himself by liberating and healing the human person — and He does this with a gratuitous love, a love that saves. This is why Jesus thanks His Father, because His greatness consists in His love and He never works outside of love.
But this greatness in love is not understood by those who presume to be great and who fabricate a god in their own image — powerful, inflexible, vindictive. In other words, those who are presumptuous — full of themselves, proud, concerned only about their own interests — these are the presumptuous ones, convinced they do not need anyone, are not able to accept God as Father. In this regard, Jesus names the inhabitants of three rich cities of His time — Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum — where He had accomplished many healings, but whose inhabitants remained indifferent to His preaching. For them, His miracles were only spectacular events, useful for making news and to increase gossip. Once passing interest in them was over, they archived them, maybe in order to occupy themselves in other novelties of the moment. They did not know how to welcome the great things of God.
The little children, instead, know how to welcome them, and Jesus thanks the Father for them: “I bless you,” He says, because You have revealed the Kingdom of Heaven to little ones. Jesus praises Him for the simple people whose hearts are free from presumption and self-love. The little ones are those who, like children, feel their need and are not self-sufficient. They are open to God and allow themselves to be amazed at His works. They know how to read His signs, to marvel at the miracles of His love! I ask all of you, and even myself, do we know how to marvel at the things of God or do we take them for passing things?
Brothers and sisters, if we think about it, our lives are filled with miracles — they are filled with deeds of love, signs of God’s goodness. Before these, however, even our hearts can remain indifferent and become habitual, curious but not capable of being amazed, of allowing themselves to be “impressed.” A closed heart, an armed heart, that does not have the capacity of being amazed. To impress is a beautiful verb that brings to mind photographic film. This is the correct behaviour before God’s works: to take a photo of His works in our minds so it is impressed on our hearts, to then be developed in our lives through many good deeds, so that this “photograph” of God who is love becomes ever brighter in us and through us.
And now, let us ask ourselves: In the deluge of news that overwhelms us, do I, as Jesus shows us today, know how to stop before the great things of God, those that God accomplishes? Do I allow myself to marvel like a child at the good that silently changes the world? Have I lost the capacity to be amazed? And do I thank the Father each day for His works? May Mary, who exulted in the Lord, make us able to be amazed by His love and to thank Him with simplicity.