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.
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning.
The text of the Gospel for this Sunday (Luke 9:18-24) calls us once again to place ourselves, so to speak, face to face with Jesus.
In one of the rare moments of tranquility when He found Himself with his disciples, Jesus asks them: “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they respond, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”
Thus, [we see] people esteemed Jesus and considered Him a great prophet, but still didn’t have an awareness of His true identity, that He was the Messiah, the Son of God sent by the Father for the salvation of all.
Jesus then addresses the apostles directly — because this is what most interested Him — and He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Immediately, in the name of everyone, Peter responds, “The Christ of God.” Which is to say, You are the Messiah, the consecrated of God, sent by Him to save His people according to the Covenant and His promise. Thus Jesus realizes that the Twelve, and particularly Peter, have received from the Father the gift of faith, and because of this He begins to speak to them openly about what awaited Him in Jerusalem. “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”
These same questions are asked anew to each one of us. “Who is Jesus for the people of our times? Who is Jesus for each one of us?”
We are called to make Peter’s answer our own answer, joyfully professing that Jesus is the Son of God, the eternal Word of the Father become man to redeem humanity, pouring out over mankind the abundance of divine mercy.
The world needs Christ more than ever, needs His salvation, His merciful love. Many people note an emptiness around them and within them; others live in restlessness and insecurity because of precariousness and conflicts. All of us need adequate responses to our existential questions. In Christ, and only in Him, is it possible to find true peace and the fulfillment of every human aspiration. Jesus knows the heart of man as no one else does. That’s why He can heal it, giving it life and consolation.
After having concluded His dialogue with the apostles, Jesus addresses everyone, saying: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
This does not refer to a decorative or ideological cross, but the cross of one’s duty, of sacrificing oneself for others with love, of willingness to be in solidarity with the poor, of exerting oneself for justice and peace.
In taking up these attitudes, we must never forget that “whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
Therefore, let us abandon ourselves with confidence in Him, Jesus our brother, friend and savior. Through the Holy Spirit, He will give us the strength to go forward on the path of faith and witness. And on this path, Our Lady is always close: Let us allow Her to take us by the hand when we go through moments of darkness and difficulty.[Angelus] [In the continuation of his address after the Angelus, Pope Francis recalled that Monday is World Refugee Day, sponsored by the United Nations, with the theme “#With Refugees.”
He emphasized that refugees “are people just like us, but war has taken from them their houses, work, relatives and friends.”
“Their stories and their faces call us to renew our efforts to build peace and justice,” Francis said, adding: “We want to be with them, encounter them, receive them, so as to become again artisans of peace, according to the will of God.”
Pope Francis also mentioned that on Saturday in Foggia, Italy, was the beatification of Sister Maria Celeste Crostarosa, founder of the Order of the Holy Redeemer. He expressed his wish that “the new Blessed, with her example and her intercession, helps us to conform the whole of our lives to that of Jesus, our Savior.”
As well, the Pope noted that today is Pentecost in the Julian calendar, which the Orthodox Churches follow, and that with the Divine Liturgy of today, the pan-Orthodox council began in Crete.
“Let us unite ourselves in prayer with our Orthodox brothers, invoking the Holy Spirit, so that he assists with His gifts the patriarchs, archbishops and bishops who are gathered in Council.”[Translation by ZENIT]