“I wonder how many of you hear the invitation – how many of you, young people, who now are present in the square today, hear and heed the Lord’s call to follow him?”
Pope Francis said this during his Angelus address today at noon to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, while reflecting on today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke.
As Francis discussed how faithful are meant to contribute to the Church’s mission, he encouraged, “Be not afraid! Be brave and bring to others this torch of apostolic zeal that has been left by so many exemplary disciples.”
Recalling Jesus’ words about the Kingdom of God in today’s Gospel, the Jesuit Pope noted how the Kingdom is built up day-by-day and already offers on earth, its fruits of conversion, purification, love and consolation among men.
“What is the spirit with which the disciple of Jesus will carry out this mission?” he asked. “First of all: the Christian must be aware of the difficult and sometimes hostile reality that awaits him; Jesus minces no words on that; in fact, Jesus says, ‘I am sending you like lambs among wolves (v. 3).’
While the Pope acknowledged there will always be anti-Christian hostility and challenges, we, faithful, are to rely solely on the power of the Cross of Christ. “This means giving up all personal reason to boast, of careerism or hunger for power, and means being humble instruments of salvation worked by Jesus’ own sacrifice,” he said.
Francis emphasized that Christian mission is one of service, without exception, noting, “There is so much need for Christians who testify with joy the Gospel in everyday life.”
“When we do this, our heart fills with joy,” he departed from his script to say, just like the hearts of Jesus’ disciples.
Francis noted how this makes him think about how much the Church rejoices of the many men and women who daily proclaim the Gospel, including priests, especially “those good pastors that we all know,” nuns, consecrated persons, missionary men and women. Francis then told young people present that they should not be afraid to welcome the Lord’s invitation to follow him.
Before reciting the midday prayer, Francis prayed that, through Mary’s intercession, the Church may never lack generous hearts which bring the Heavenly Father’s love and tenderness to the world.
Post Angelus Appeals
The Holy Father also offered his closeness to the families of all the people killed and wounded in the attack that took place in the night between Friday and Saturday in Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka, and that which took place Saturday in Baghdad, Iraq.
In the diplomatic district of Dhaka, shooters stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery, a trendy restaurant, killing 20 hostages and two police officers. CNN reports that the victims were 11 males and nine females. Their nationalities included one U.S. citizen of Bangladeshi origin, nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian, and two Bangladeshis.
In Baghdad’s commercial Karrada district, there was a first terrorist attack claiming more than 83 lives, along with another on a predominantly Shia neighborhood of the city, killing another five people.
Recalling these tragedies, Pope Francis said, “Let us pray together for them – for all the dead – and let us ask the Lord to convert the hearts of all those blinded by hatred.” He then invited all gathered to join him in saying a Hail Mary.
After giving his usual greetings to all the pilgrims and various groups present, he reminded those gathered of an upcoming, special event.
“In the Holy Year of Mercy, I am happy to recall that on Wednesday we will celebrate the memory of St. Maria Goretti, the martyr girl who, before dying, forgave her murderer. This brave girl deserves applause of the entire square!”
As usual, Pope Francis concluded, wishing all present a good Sunday, good lunch, and telling them not to forget to pray for him.”
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Angelus Address: https://zenit.org/articles/pope-at-angelus-welcome-the-lords-invitation-to-follow-him/