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Angelus Address: Jesus’ Call to Peter and the Miraculous Catch

‘When We Put Ourselves Generously at Jesus’ Service, He Does Great Things in Us’

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave February 10, 2019, 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 Gospel (Cf. Luke 5:1-11) proposes to us, in Luke’s account, Saint Peter’s call. We know that his name was Simon and that he was a fisherman. On the shore of the Lake of Galilee, Jesus sees him washing the nets together with other fishermen. He finds him tired and disappointed because that night they hadn’t caught anything. And Jesus surprised him with an unexpected gesture. He gets into the boat and asks him to put out a little from the land because He wants to speak to the people from there — there were so many people. So Jesus sat down in Simon’s boat and taught the crowd gathered along the shore. But His words reawakened trust even in Simon’s heart. Then Jesus, with another surprising “move,” says to him: “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (v. 4).

Simon’s answered with an objection: ”Master, we toiled all night and took nothing!” And, as an expert fisherman, he could have added: “If we didn’t catch anything at night, much less so will we catch during the day.” Instead, inspired by Jesus’ presence and illumined by His Word, he says: “But at your word, I will let down the nets” (v. 5). It’s the answer of faith, which we are also called to give; it’s the attitude of willingness that the Lord asks of all His disciples, especially all those that have tasks of responsibility in the Church. And Peter’s trustful obedience generates a miraculous result: He did so “and he enclosed a great shoal of fish” (v. 6).

It was a miraculous catch, a sign of the power of Jesus’ word: when we put ourselves generously at His service. He does great things in us. He acts so with each one of us: He asks us to receive Him in the boat of our life, to go out with Him, to sail through a new sea, which reveals itself full of surprises. His invitation to go out into the open sea of humanity of our time, to be witnesses of goodness and mercy, gives a new meaning to our existence, which often risks being flat. Sometimes we can be surprised and hesitant in face of the Divine Master’s call to us, and we are tempted to reject it for reasons of our inadequacy. After that incredible catch, Peter also says to Jesus: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” But he says it on his knees before Him whom he now recognizes as “Lord.” And Jesus encourages him saying: “Do not be afraid, henceforth you will be catching men” (v. 10), because, if we trust in Him, God frees us from our sin and opens a new horizon before us: to collaborate in His mission.

The greatest miracle Jesus wrought for Simon and the other disappointed and tired fishermen was not so much to fill the net with fish but to help them not to fall victims of disappointment and discouragement in face of failures. He opened them to become heralds and witnesses of His word and of the Kingdom of God. And the disciples’ answer was quick and total: ”And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him” (v. 11).

May the Virgin Mary, model of ready adhesion to the Will of God, help us to feel the fascination of the Lord’s call and make us willing to collaborate with Him to spread His word of salvation everywhere.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

After the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Two days ago, on the Liturgical Memorial of Saint Josephine Bakhita, the fifth “World Day against Trafficking in Persons” was held. The motto this year is “Together Against Trafficking” [There was applause in the Square] — Once again! [They repeat] “Together Against Trafficking!” Don’t forget this. It invites you to join forces to overcome this challenge. I thank all those that combat on this front, in particular, so many women religious. I appeal especially to governments so that the causes of this sore are addressed with determination and the victims are protected. However, all of us can and must denounce the cases of exploitation and slavery of men, women, and children. Prayer is the force that supports our common commitment. Therefore, I now invite you to recite together with me a prayer to Saint Josephine Bakhita, which has been handed out in the Square. We pray together.

As a child, Saint Josephine Bakhita was sold as a slave and had to face unspeakable difficulties and sufferings. Once freed from her physical slavery, she found true redemption in her encounter with Christ and His Church.

Saint Josephine Bakhita, help all those that are trapped in slavery. Intercede before the God of mercy in their name, so that the chains of their prison can be broken.

May God Himself free all those that have been menaced, wounded or mistreated by the trafficking and traffic of human beings. Bring relief to those that have survived this slavery and teach them to see Jesus as model of faith and hope, so that their wounds can be healed.

We entreat you to pray and intercede for all of us so that we don’t fall into indifference so that we open our eyes and can look at the miseries and wounds of so many brothers and sisters deprived of their dignity and of their freedom and hear to their cry for help. Amen.

Saint Josephine Bakhita, pray for us.

I greet you all, Romans and pilgrims! In particular, the faithful of Verona and the “Beggars of Dreams” of Schio.

I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

About Virginia Forrester

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