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Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 26 February 2017


Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today’s Gospel passage (cf. Mt 6:24-34) is a firm reminder to entrust yourself to God — do not forget: entrust yourself to God — who takes care of the living beings in Creation. He provides food for all the animals, looks after the lilies and grass of the field (cf. vv. 26-28); his beneficent and attentive gaze daily watches over our life. Our life passes quickly, tormented by many worries, which risk eliminating peace and balance; but this anguish is often pointless, because it cannot change the course of events. Jesus persistently exhorts us not to worry about tomorrow (cf. vv. 25, 28, 31), recalling that above everything, there is a loving Father who never forgets his children: entrusting oneself to Him does not magically resolve problems, but allows one to face them with the right attitude, courageously: I am courageous because I entrust myself to my Father who takes care of everything and who loves me very much.

God is not a distant and anonymous being: he is our refuge, the wellspring of our peace and tranquility. He is the rock of our salvation, to which we can cling with the certainty of not falling; one who clings to God never falls! He is our defence against the evil which is ever lurking. God is a great friend, ally, father to us, but we do not always realize it. We do not realize that we have a friend, an ally, a father who loves us, and we prefer to rely on immediate goods that we can touch, on contingent goods, forgetting and at times rejecting the supreme good, which is the paternal love of God. Feeling that he is our Father, in this epoch of orphanhood, is so important! In this orphaned world, feeling that he is Father. We distance ourselves from God’s love when we search incessantly for earthly goods and riches, thus showing an exaggerated liking for these realities.

Jesus tells us that this phrenetic search is illusory and a cause of unhappiness. He gives his disciples a fundamental rule of life: “seek first and foremost the Kingdom of God” (cf. v. 33). It is a matter of fulfilling the plan that Jesus proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount, entrusting oneself to God who does not disappoint; — many friends, or many people whom we believed were friends, have disappointed us; God never disappoints! — dedicating oneself as faithful stewards of the goods that he has given us, even the earthly goods, but without “overdoing things” as if everything, even our salvation, depended only on us. This evangelical attitude requires a clear choice, which today’s reading indicates precisely: “You cannot serve God and mammon” (v. 24). Either the Lord, or fascinating but illusory idols. This choice that we are called to make then has an impact on many of our actions, plans and commitments. It means choosing to act very clearly and to continually renew, because the temptation to reduce everything to money, pleasure and power is relentless. There are so many such temptations.

While honouring these idols leads to tangible albeit fleeting results, choosing God and his Kingdom does not always immediately bear fruit. It is a decision one takes in hope and which leaves the complete fulfillment to God. Christian hope is extended to the future fulfillment of God’s promise and does not stop in the face of difficulty, because it is founded on God’s faithfulness, which never fails. He is steadfast; he is a faithful father; he is a faithful friend; he is a faithful ally.

May the Virgin Mary help us to entrust ourselves to the love and the goodness of our heavenly Father, to live in him and with him. This is the prerequisite to overcome life’s vicissitudes and adversities, and also persecution, as the witness of so many of our brothers and sisters shows us.

After the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters, I offer a cordial greeting to all of you pilgrims from Rome, from Italy and from different countries.

Among others, I greet the group that has come for the occasion of “Rare Disease Day” — thank you, thank you for all you do — which takes place the day after tomorrow, and I hope that patients and their families may be appropriately supported in the difficult treatment, both at the medical and legislative levels.

I wish everyone a happy Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!


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