reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
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.
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Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
The second reading of today’s liturgy proposes to us the exhortation that the Apostle Paul addresses to his faithful collaborator Timothy: “Preach the Word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). The tone is heartfelt: Timothy must feel himself responsible to preach the Word, assuming an all-out commitment, which doesn’t exclude any existential ambit. These sentiments of Saint Paul should be those of all Jesus’ disciples, called to be witnesses of the Gospel in this, our time, in this humanity at times contradictory but loved infinitely by God.
The World Mission Day, which is observed today, is a propitious occasion for every baptized person to have a deeper awareness of the need to cooperate in the proclamation of the Kingdom of God through a renewed commitment. To give new impetus to the missionary responsibility of the whole Church, Pope Benedict XV, a hundred years ago, promulgated the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud. He perceived the need to upgrade evangelically the mission in the world so that it would be purified from all colonial incrustation and free from the conditionings of the expansionist policies of the European Nations.
In today’s changing context, Benedict XV’s message is again timely and stimulates us to overcome the temptation to every self-referential closure and every form of pastoral pessimism, to open ourselves to the joyful novelty of the Gospel. In this time of ours, marked by a globalization that should be solidary and respectful of the particularity of peoples, and instead suffers again from the homologation and from old conflicts of power, which fuel wars and ruin the planet, believers are called to take everywhere, with new impetus, the Good News that in Jesus mercy overcomes sin, hope overcomes fear, fraternity overcomes hostility. Christ is our peace and in Him, every division is surmounted; in Him alone is the salvation of every man and every people.
There is an indispensable condition to live the mission in fullness: prayer, a fervent and incessant prayer, in keeping with Jesus’ teaching proclaimed also in today’s Gospel, in which He tells a parable “on the need to pray always and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Prayer is the first support of the People of God for the missionaries, rich in affection and gratitude for their difficult task to proclaim and give the light and the grace of the Gospel to those that have yet to receive it. It is also a good occasion today to ask ourselves: do I pray for the missionaries? Do I pray for those that go far away to take the Word of God with their witness? Let us think about it.
May Mary, Mother of all peoples, accompany and protect every day the missionaries of the Gospel.
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Crema was the martyr Father Alfredo Cremonesi, missionary priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. Killed in Burma in 1953, he was an indefatigable apostle of peace and zealous witness of the Gospel, to the shedding of his blood. May his example drive us to be workers of fraternity and courageous missionaries in every environment; may his intercession support all those that toil today to sow the Gospel in the world. Let us applaud Blessed Alfredo!
And now a warm welcome goes to all of you, pilgrims from Italy and from various countries. In particular, I greet and bless affectionately the Peruvian community of Rome, gathered here with the venerated image of the Senor de los Milagros [Lord of the Miracles] — keep always the faith and traditions of your people! –; the Sisters Nurses of the Addolorata who held their General Chapter; the participants in the march “We Remain Human,” who in the last months have gone through cities and territories of Italy, to promote a constructive confrontation on the subjects of inclusion and hospitality. Thank you for this beautiful initiative!
A special thought goes to the youngsters of Catholic Action, who have come with their educators from all the Italian dioceses, on the occasion of the 50 years of ACR. Dear boys and girls, you are protagonists in evangelization, especially among your contemporaries. The Church has confidence in you; go forward with joy and generosity!
I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye.