At 12pm today, Pope Francis appeared at the window of the study in the Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Here below is an English translation of his words introducing the Marian prayer, and his address that followed:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This Sunday’s liturgy offers some evangelical parables, short stories that Jesus used to proclaim the Kingdom of heaven to the crowds. Among those in the Gospel reading of today, one that is rather complex, is Jesus’ explanation to his disciples of the good wheat and the tares, which addresses the problem of evil in the world and highlights the patience of God (cf. Mt 13,24-30.36-43). The scene takes place in a field where the master sows the wheat. But one night the enemy comes and sows tares, a term that in Hebrew derives from the same word as “Satan” and refers to the concept of division. The servants would straight away cut away the bad weeds, but the master stops them for this reason: “Lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the wheat with them. (Mt 13:29)”.
The teaching of the parable is twofold. First of all, he says that the evil in the world comes not from God but from the enemy, the Devil. This enemy is cunning: he sowed evil amidst the good, so that it is impossible for us to clearly separate them. But God, in the end, will do it.
And here we come to the second theme: the contrast between the impatience of servants and the patient waiting of the owner of the field, who represents God. We are sometimes in a hurry to judge, classify, place the good here and the bad beyond. But God knows to wait. He looks at the “field” of every person’s life with patience and mercy. He sees much better than us the dirt and the evil, but He also sees the seeds of good and looks forward with confidence for them to mature. God is patient, he knows to wait.
The attitude of the owner is that of hope, founded on the certainty that evil has neither the first nor the last word. It is thanks to this patient hope of God that the same weeds in the end, can become good wheat. But beware: evangelical patience is not indifference to evil. One cannot make confusion between good and evil! In the face of the weeds in the world, the disciple of the Lord is called to imitate the patience of God, nourishing hope with the support of an unshakable faith in the ultimate victory of the good, that is of God.
In the end, in fact, the evil will be removed and disposed of. At the time of the harvest, that is the judgment, the reapers will perform the order of the master, separating the tares to burn (cf. Mt 13:30). On that day of the final harvest, the judge will be Jesus, the One who sowed good seed in the world and who himself became a “grain of wheat”, died and rose again. At the end we will all be judged by the same standards by which we judged: the mercy we gave to others will also be used with us. Let us ask the Virgin Mary, our Mother, to help us to grow in patience, hope and mercy.
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I have learned with concern the news which reaches us from the Christian communities of Mosul (Iraq) and from other places in the Middle East, where since the beginning of Christianity, they have lived alongside their fellow citizens, making a significant contribution to the good of society. Today they are persecuted, they are driven away, they have to leave their homes without the possibility of taking anything with them. To these families, to these people, I want to express my closeness and assure them of my constant prayer. Beloved brothers and sisters who are so persecuted, I know how much you are suffering, I know that you have been stripped of everything. I am with you in the faith of Him who has conquered evil! And to those of you, here in the piazza and those who are following us by means of television, I address the invitation to remember these Christian communities in prayer. I exhort you, furthermore, to persevere in prayer for those situations of tension and conflict that continue in different parts of the world, especially in the Middle East and in the Ukraine. May the God of Peace stir up in everyone an authentic desire for dialog and reconciliation. Violence is not conquered by violence. Violence is conquered by peace!
The Holy Father then paused for a moment of silence with the crowd to pray for peace, before saying: “Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us.”
I extend a cordial greeting to all of you, pilgrims from Italy and other countries.
I greet the choir of the diocese of Killala (Ireland), the Benedictine Sisters of Divine Providence and the Sisters of Charity of St. Joan Antida, the faithful of Pescara and Villanova in Villanova, young people of Messina and the child guests of the Tivoli summer camp.
Please don’t forget to pray for me.
I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good lunch. Goodbye![Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]