JOHN PAUL II
Sunday, 2 September 2001
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
1. With the beginning of September, we resume the ordinary rhythm of our daily life. After our summer break, we begin again our various activities and a new school year, which starts very soon.
In this context a biblical expression found in the Book of Sirach, which we heard in the liturgy today, is particularly noteworthy: "My son, perform your tasks in meekness; then you will be loved by those whom God accepts. The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself so you will find favour in the sight of the Lord" (Sir 3,17-18).
This is a concept that plainly goes against the tide. In fact,
the mentality of the world incites one to stand out, to get ahead, with cunning
and a lack of scruples, asserting oneself and one's own interests. In the
Kingdom of God, however, it is the humble and the modest who are rewarded. On
the contrary, in earthly affairs, often social climbing and arrogance win out;
all can see the consequences: rivalries, abuse of power and frustration.
Jesus lived the exhortation of the ancient wise man: "Son,
perform your tasks in meekness.... The greater you are, the more you must humble
yourself" (Sir 3,17-18). In this way he has wished to say to everyone of
every time that superficiality and social climbing, even if they obtain an
immediate success, do not contribute to the real good of the human being and
society. Indeed, the Kingdom of God is prepared effectively by people who do
their work seriously and honestly, not aspiring to things that are too high, but
turning to those that are lowly in daily faithfulness (cf.
After the Angelus, the Holy Father greeted the pilgrims and visitors in French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. To the English speaking, he offered this wish.
I am pleased to greet the new students from the Rome Campus of the University of Dallas. May the Holy Spirit grant you wisdom and spiritual insight as you explore the religious and artistic heritage of the Eternal City. Upon all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors I invoke Mary's maternal care and intercession. God bless you all.
To French speaking pilgrims, he extended the greeting.
I address a cordial welcome to all the Francophone pilgrims. May Christ our Saviour draw you to follow him on the path of humility so you can place yourselves at the service of the poorest with whom the Lord himself wished to be identified. To all I grant the Apostolic Blessing.
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