“No small stone is useless, rather, in Jesus’ hands it becomes precious, because He gathers it, looks at it with great tenderness, works on it with His Spirit, and puts it in the right place, which He has always thought of and where it can be more useful to the entire edifice”, said Pope Francis, in his comment of today’s Gospel.
Pope Francis gave his weekly address before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, today, August 27, 2017.
“Each one of us is a small stone, but in Jesus’ hands we participate in the building of the Church”, added Pope Francis: “And all of us, in as much as small, have been made “living stones”, because when Jesus takes the stone in His hand, He makes it His, He makes it alive, full of life, full of life by the Holy Spirit, full of life from His love, and thus we have a place and a mission in the Church: she is a community of life, made up of very many stones, all different, which form one edifice in the sign of fraternity and communion.”
Pope Francis also expressed his closeness to people affected by floods in Bangladesh, Nepal and India. He denounced the “persecution” of Sad news has arrived on the persecution of the Rohingyas, a religious minority in Burma.
Here is a ZENIT working translation of the address Pope Francis.
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Before the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
This Sunday’s Gospel (Matthew 16:13-20) leads us back to a key passage in Jesus’ journey with His disciples: the moment in which He wants to verify the point their faith in Him has reached. First he wants to know what people think of Him; and people think Jesus is a prophet, something that is true, but it doesn’t grasp the essence of His Person, it doesn’t grasp the essence of His mission. Then He asks His disciples the question He has most at heart, that is, He asks them directly: “But who do you say that I am?” (v. 15). With that “but” Jesus separates decidedly the Apostles from the mass, as if to say: but you, who are with Me every day and know me up close, what more have you read?
The Master expects, from His own, a lofty and different answer from that of public opinion. And, in fact, such an answer issues precisely from the heart of Simon, called Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (v. 16). Simon Peter has on his lips words that are greater than him, words that don’t come from his natural capacity. Perhaps he didn’t go to elementary school, and he is able to say these words, which are stronger than him! However, they were inspired by the heavenly Father (Cf. v. 17), who revealed to the first of the Twelve Jesus’ true identity: He is the Messiah, the Son sent by God to save humanity. From this answer, Jesus understands that, thanks to the faith given by the Father, there is a solid foundation on which He can build His community, His Church. Hence, He says to Simon: “You, Simon, are Peter – namely stone, rock – and on this rock I will build my Church” (v. 18).
Also with us today, Jesus wishes to continue to build His Church, this house with solid foundation but where cracks aren’t lacking, and which has continuous need of being repaired, always. The Church is always in need of being reformed, repaired. We certainly don’t feel like rocks, but only like small stones. However, no small stone is useless, rather, in Jesus’ hands it becomes precious, because He gathers it, looks at it with great tenderness, works on it with His Spirit, and puts it in the right place, which He has always thought of and where it can be more useful to the entire edifice. Each one of us is a small stone, but in Jesus’ hands we participate in the building of the Church. And all of us, in as much as small, have been made “living stones, ” because when Jesus takes the stone in His hand, He makes it His, He makes it alive, full of life, full of life by the Holy Spirit, full of life from His love, and thus we have a place and a mission in the Church: she is a community of life, made up of very many stones, all different, which form one edifice in the sign of fraternity and communion.
Moreover, today’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus also wanted for His Church a visible center of communion in Peter – even he isn’t a large stone, he is a small stone, but taken by Jesus he becomes center of communion — in Peter and in those that would succeed him in the same primatial responsibility, which from the beginning were identified in the Bishops of Rome, the city where Peter and Paul gave the witness of blood.
We entrust ourselves to Mary, Queen of the Apostles, Mother of the Church. She was in the Cenacle, next to Peter, when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and pushed them to go out to proclaim to all that Jesus is the Lord. May our Mother support and accompany us today with her intercession, so that we realize fully that unity and that communion for which Christ and the Apostles prayed and gave their life.
After the Angelus
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In past days, great floods have struck Bangladesh, Nepal and India. I express my closeness to the populations and I pray for the victims and for all those suffering due to this disaster.
Sad news has arrived on the persecution of the religious minority, our Rohingya brothers. I would like to express all my closeness to them; and we all ask the Lord to save them, and to inspire men and women of good will to help them, that they may be given full rights. We pray also for our Rohingya brothers.
I greet all of you, faithful of Rome and pilgrims from Italy and from various countries: the families, parish groups, Associations.
In particular, I greet the members of the Carmelite Third Order; the youngsters of Tombelle, diocese of Padua . . . — but you are noisy! — who recently received Confirmation; and the group of Lodivecchio, they are good because they came on foot, by way of pilgrimage, in the last part of Via Francigena. Be equally good in your life!
I wish you all a good Sunday. I recommend, don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!
[Original text: Italian]
© Translation by ZENIT, Virginia M. Forrester – copyright 2017