Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave February 17, 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 6:17.20-26) presents to us the Beatitudes in Saint Luke’s version. The text is articulated in four beatitudes and four warnings formulated with the expression “woe to you.” With these strong and incisive words, Jesus opens our eyes and makes us see with His look, beyond appearances, beyond the surface, and He teaches us to discern situations with faith.
Jesus declares blessed the poor, the hungry, the afflicted and the persecuted; and warns those that are rich, full, laugh and acclaimed by the people. The reason for this paradoxical beatitude lies in the fact that God is close to those that suffer and He intervenes to free them from their slavery. Jesus sees this; He already sees the beatitude beyond the negative reality. And, equally, the “woe to you,” addressed to all those that today are having a good time, serves to “awaken” them from the dangerous deceit of egoism and open them to the logic of love, while they still have time to do so.
Therefore, the page of today’s Gospel invites to reflect on the profound meaning of having faith, which consists in trusting the Lord totally. It’s about pulling down the worldly idols to open the heart to the true and living God. Only He can give to our existence that so desired fullness yet difficult to attain. Brothers and sisters, there are many, in fact, also in our days, who put themselves forward as dispensers of happiness: they come and promise success in good times, great earnings within reach, magical solutions to every problem, and so on. And here it’s easy to slide, without realizing it, into the sin against the first Commandment: namely, idolatry, to substitute God with an idol. Idolatry and idols seem like things of other times, but in reality, they are of all times! — also of today. They describe some contemporary attitudes better than many sociological analyses.
Therefore, Jesus opens our eyes to the reality. We are called to happiness, to be blessed and we become so, as of now, in the measure in which we put ourselves on the side of God, of his Kingdom, on the side of what’s not ephemeral but lasts for eternal life. We are happy if we acknowledge ourselves needy before God –and this is very important: “Lord, I need You” — and if, like Him and with Him, we are close to the poor, the afflicted and the hungry. We become capable of joy every time that having the goods of this world, we don’t make them idols, to which we sell our soul, but are capable of sharing them with our brothers. On this the liturgy invites us today, once again, to question ourselves and to have the truth in our heart.
Jesus’ Beatitudes are a decisive message, which spurs us not to put our trust in material and passing things; not to seek happiness following vendors of smoke – who so often are vendors of death — professionals of illusion. It’s not necessary to follow them, because they are incapable of giving us hope. The Lord helps us to open our eyes, to acquire a more penetrating look on reality, to be healed from our chronic myopia, with which the worldly spirit infects us. He shakes us with His paradoxical Word and makes us recognize what really enriches us, fills us, gives us joy and dignity, in sum, what really gives meaning and fullness to our life.
May the Virgin Mary help us to listen to this Gospel with an open mind and heart, so that it bears fruit in our lives and we become witnesses of the happiness that doesn’t disappoint, God’s happiness, which never disappoints.[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
© Libreria Editrice Vatican
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
From next Thursday to Sunday a meeting will take place in the Vatican of the Presidents of all the Episcopal Conferences, on the issue of the protection of minors in the Church. I invite you to pray for this appointment, which I wanted as an act of strong pastoral responsibility before an urgent challenge of our time.
I greet the families, the parishes, the Associations and all those who have come to Rome from Italy and from many parts of the world, in particular, the pilgrims from Croatia, from Toulon, Marseilles, and London, the students from Paris and from Badajoz. I greet the faithful of Sassari, Fermo, Castiglione del Lago, Concorezzo; the families of Trentino Alto Adige and the pilgrims from the diocese of Vicenza.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. And, 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