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,
Today’s Gospel presents us with the story of Jesus who walks on the water of the Lake (cfr. Mt. 14, 22-33). After the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, He invites the disciples to go on the boat and precede him to the other side, while He dismisses the crowd, and then retires all alone to pray on the mountain until late at night. Meanwhile, a strong storm rises on the lake, and it is in the midst of this story that Jesus reaches the disciples’ boat, walking on the water of the lake. When they see him, the disciples are frightened, they think it is a ghost, but He reassures them: “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid!” (v.27). Peter, with his typical zeal, asks him almost as a test: “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”; and Jesus says to him, “Come!” (vv.28-29). Peter steps off the boat and starts to walk on the water; but the strong winds strike him and he begins to sink. Then he cries: “Lord, save me!” (v.30), and Jesus stretches out his hand and lifts him up.
This story is a beautiful icon of the faith of the apostle Peter. In the voice of Jesus telling him: “Come!”, he recognizes the echo of the first meeting on the shore of this same lake, and immediately, yet again, leaves the boat and goes towards the Master. And he walks on water! The faithful and immediate response to the call of the Lord always does extraordinary things. Jesus himself would say that we are capable of doing miracles with our faith, faith in Him, faith in His word, faith in His voice! Instead, Peter begins to sink in the moment in which he looks away from Jesus and is swept by the adversities that surround him. But the Lord is always there, and when Peter calls on Him, Jesus saves him from danger. In the person of Peter, with his impulses and his weaknesses, our faith is described: always fragile and poor, restless and yet victorious, Christian faith walks to meet the risen Lord, in the midst of storms and the dangers of the world. The final scene is very important. “After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God!'” (vv.32-33). All the disciples are on the boat, united by the experience of weakness, of doubt, of fear, of “little faith”. But when Jesus goes back on the boat, the weather changes immediately: all feel united in the faith in Him. All little and frightened, become great in the moment in which they throw themselves on their knees and recognize in their master the Son of God. How many times, even to us, the same thing happens? Without Jesus, far from Jesus, we feel afraid, inadequate to the point of thinking that we cannot do it anymore. Faith is lacking! But Jesus is always with us: perhaps hidden but present and ready to support us.
This is an effective image of the Church: a boat that must confront the storms and that sometimes seems on the verge of being overwhelmed. What saves it is not the quality and courage of its men, but the faith, that allows to walk in the darkness, in the midst of difficulties.
Faith gives us the security of Jesus presence, who is always near us, of his hand that grasps us to escape the dangers. We are all on this boat, and here we feel secure despite out limits and our weaknesses. We are safe above all when we know when to kneel and adore Jesus. Adore Jesus, who is the only Lord of our life. For this we always call upon our Mother, Our Lady. To Her, we turn our confidence towards.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
The news coming from Iraq leaves us in disbelief and dismay: thousands of people, including many Christians, brutally driven from their homes; children dead from thirst and hunger during the escape; women who are abducted; people slaughtered; violence of every kind; destruction everywhere, destruction of homes, destruction of religious, historical and cultural patrimonies. All this greatly offends God and greatly offends humanity. You cannot bring hatred in the name of God. You cannot make war in the name of God!
All of us thinking on this situation, on these people, let us make a moment of silence and pray.
I thank those that, with courage, are bringing relief to these brothers and sisters, and I hope that an effective political solution on an international and local level can stop these crimes and restore the law. To better assure my closeness to these dear people, I have nominated Cardinal Fernando Filoni as my personal envoy in Iraq, who will leave tomorrow from Rome. Even in Gaza, after a ceasefire, war has started again, that kills innocent victims, children, and does nothing other than to worsen the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Let us pray to the God of peace, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary: Give peace, Lord, to our days and make us builders of justice and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.
Let us pray as well for the victims of the “Ebola” virus and for those who are fighting to stop it.
I greet all the pilgrims and Romans, in particular the youth from Verona, Cazzago San Martino, Sarmeola and Mestrino, and the girl scouts of Treviso. From next Wednesday until Monday the 18th I will be making an apostolic journey to Korea: please accompany me with prayers. I need them! Thank you.
To all I wish you a good Sunday and a good lunch. Goodbye.[Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves]