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, the Gospel (Matthew 14:22-33) describes the episode of Jesus who, after having prayed all night on the shore of Lake Galilee, went towards His disciples’ boat, walking on the water. The boat was in the middle of the Lake, blocked by a strong adverse wind. When they saw Jesus walking on the water, the disciples thought he was a ghost and got scared. But He reassured them: “Take heart, it is I, have no fear!” (v. 27). Peter, with his usual intrepidity, said to Him: “Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water”: and Jesus called him “Come!” (vv. 28-29). Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water towards Jesus; however, because of the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. Then he cried out: “Lord, save me!” and Jesus reached out His hand and caught him (vv. 30-31).
This story has a rich symbolism and it makes us reflect on our faith, be it as individuals, by it as ecclesial community, also the faith of all of us that are here today in the Square. Does the community, this ecclesial community, have faith? How is the faith of each one of us and the faith of our community? The boat is the life of each one of us and also the life of the Church. The adverse wind represents our difficulties and trials. Peter’s invocation: “Lord, bid me come to you!” and his cry: “Lord, save me!”, is so much like our desire to feel the Lord’s closeness, but also the fear and anguish that accompany the hardest moments of our life and of our communities, marked by internal fragility and external difficulties.
For Peter, at that moment, Jesus’ sure word wasn’t enough, which was like a tightrope that he could grip to face the hostile and turbulent water. It’s what can also happen to us. When one doesn’t grip the Lord’s word, <and>, to have greater security, one consults horoscopes and fortune-tellers, one begins to go down. It means that faith isn’t that strong. Today’s Gospel reminds us that faith in the Lord and in his word doesn’t open a way for us where everything is easy and tranquil; it doesn’t subtract us from life’s storms. Faith gives us the certainty of a Presence, the presence of Jesus that drives us to overcome the existential storms, the certainty of a hand that grips us to help us face the difficulties, pointing out the way to us also when it’s dark. In sum, faith isn’t an easy way out of life’s problems, but it supports us on the way and gives it meaning.
This episode is a stupendous image of the reality of the Church of all times: a boat that, along the crossing must also face adverse winds and storms, which threaten to sink it. What saves it is not the courage and quality of its men: the guarantee against shipwreck is faith in Christ and in His word. In this boat we are safe, despite our miseries and weaknesses, especially when we kneel and adore the Lord, like the disciples that, at the end, “prostrated themselves before Him, saying: “Truly you are the Son of God!” (v. 33). How beautiful it is to say this word to Jesus: “Truly you are the Son of God!” Shall we all say it together? “Truly you are the Son of God!”
May the Virgin Mary help us to remain firm in the faith to resist the storms of life, to stay in the boat of the Church, eschewing the temptation to go up on the spellbinding but insecure boats of ideologies, fashions and slogans.[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you all affectionately, Romans and pilgrims present: families, parishes, Associations and individual faithful. Today I also have the joy of greeting some groups of young people: the scouts of Treviso and Vicenza, the participants in the National Congress of Franciscan Youth. Moreover, I greet the Sisters of the Mary Most Holy Addolorata of Naples and the group of pilgrims who came on foot from the Via Francigena of Siena to Rome.
I wish you all a good Sunday and a good lunch. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Goodbye![Original text: Italian] [Translation by Virginia M. Forrester]