St Peter's Square
Sunday, 7 July 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
First of all I would like to share with you the joy
of having met, yesterday and today, a special pilgrimage
Year of Faith of seminarians and novices. I ask
you to pray for them, that love of Christ may always
grow in their lives and that they may become true
missionaries of the Kingdom of God.
The Gospel this Sunday (Lk 10:1-12, 17-20) speaks to
us about this: the fact that Jesus is not a lone
missionary, he does not want to fulfil his mission
alone, but involves his disciples. And today we see that
in addition to the twelve Apostles he calls another 72,
and sends them to the villages, two by two, to proclaim
that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. This is very
beautiful! Jesus does not want to act alone, he came to
bring the love of God into the world and he wants to
spread it in the style of communion, in the style of
brotherhood. That is why he immediately forms a
community of disciples, which is a missionary community.
He trains them straight away for the mission, to go
But pay attention: their purpose is not to socialize,
to spend time together, no, their purpose is to proclaim
the Kingdom of God, and this is urgent! And it is still
urgent today! There is no time to be lost in gossip,
there is no need to wait for everyone's consensus, what
is necessary is to go out and proclaim. To all people
you bring the peace of Christ, and if they do not
welcome it, you go ahead just the same. To the sick you
bring healing, because God wants to heal man of every
evil. How many missionaries do this, they sow life,
health, comfort to the outskirts of the world. How
beautiful it is! Do not live for yourselves, do not live
for yourselves, but live to go forth and do good! There
are many young people today in the Square: think of this,
ask yourselves this: is Jesus calling me to go forth, to
come out of myself to do good? To you, young people, to
you boys and girls I ask: you, are you brave enough for
this, do you have the courage to hear the voice of Jesus?
It is beautiful to be missionaries!... Ah, you are good!
I like this!
These 72 disciples, whom Jesus sent out ahead of him,
who were they? Who do they represent? If the Twelve were
the Apostles, and also thus represent the Bishops, their
successors, these 72 could represent the other ordained
ministries, priests and deacons; but more broadly we can
think of the other ministries in the Church, of
catechists, of the lay faithful who engage in parish
missions, of those who work with the sick, with
different kinds of disadvantaged and marginalized
people; but always as missionaries of the Gospel, with
the urgency of the Kingdom that is close at hand.
Everyone must be a missionary, everyone can hear that
call of Jesus and go forth and proclaim the Kingdom!
The Gospel says that those 72 came back from their
mission full of joy, because they had experienced the
power of Christ's Name over evil. Jesus says it: to
these disciples He gives the power to defeat the evil
one. But he adds: “Do not rejoice in this, that the
spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names
are written in heaven” (Lk 10:20). We should not boast
as if we were the protagonists: there is only one
protagonist, it is the Lord! The Lord's grace is the
protagonist! He is the one hero! And our joy is just
this: to be his disciples, his friends. May Our Lady
help us to be good agents of the Gospel.
Dear friends, be glad! Do not be afraid of being
joyful! Don't be afraid of joy! That joy which the Lord
gives us when we allow him to enter our life. Let us
allow him to enter our lives and invite us to go out to
the margins of life and proclaim the Gospel. Don't be
afraid of joy. Have joy and courage!
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
As you know two days ago the Encyclical Letter on the
theme of faith, entitled
Lumen Fidei, “the light
of faith”, was promulgated. For the Year of Faith, Pope
Benedict XVI began this Encyclical, to follow up those
on love and hope. I took up this great work and I
brought it to conclusion. I offer it with joy to all the
People of God: in fact, especially today, we all need to
go to the essence of the Christian Faith, to deepen it
and to confront it with our current problems. But I
think that this Encyclical, at least in several places,
can also be helpful to those in search of God and of the
meaning of life. I place it in the hands of Mary, the
perfect icon of faith, that she may bring forth the
fruit desired by the Lord.
I send my warm greeting to all of you, dear faithful
of Rome and pilgrims. I greet in particular the young
people of the Diocese of Rome who are preparing to leave
for Rio de Janeiro for
World Youth Day. Dear young
people, I too am preparing! Let us walk together towards
that great celebration of faith; may Our Lady accompany
us, and we will see each other there!
I greet the Rosminian Sisters and the Angeline
Franciscans, who are in the middle of their General
Chapters; and the heads of the Sant’Egidio Community who
have come from different countries for a formation
course. To all of you I wish a good Sunday! Have a good
lunch! See you soon.