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Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 17 June 2018



Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

In today’s Gospel passage (cf. Mk 4:26-34), Jesus speaks to the crowd about the Kingdom of God and the dynamics of its growth, and he does so by recounting two brief parables. In the first parable (cf. vv. 26-29), the Kingdom of God is compared to the mysterious growth of the seed, which is cast upon the ground and then sprouts, grows and produces ears [of grain], independent of the care of the farmer who, when it is fully grown, sees to its harvest. This is the message that this parable conveys to us: through Jesus’ teaching and action, the Kingdom of God is proclaimed, has burst into the field of the world and, like the seed, grows and develops by itself, through its own strength and according to humanly incomprehensible criteria. In its growth and development in history, it does not depend much on man’s doing, but is above all an expression of the power and goodness of God, of the strength of the Holy Spirit who brings forth Christian life in the People of God.

At times history, with its events and its protagonists, seems to go in the opposite direction of the design of the heavenly Father, who wants justice, fraternity and peace for all his children. But we are called to live out these periods as seasons of trial, of hope and of vigilant expectation of the harvest. Indeed, yesterday like today, the Kingdom of God grows in the world in a mysterious way, in a surprising way, revealing the hidden power of the little seed, its victorious vitality. Within the folds of personal and social events which at times seem to signal the failure of hope, it is important to remain confident in God’s subdued but powerful way of acting. For this reason, in moments of darkness and of difficulty we must not lose heart, but remain anchored in faithfulness to God, to his ever-saving presence. Remember this: God always saves. He is the Saviour.

In the second parable (cf. vv. 30-32), Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed. It is a very small seed, yet it grows to become the greatest of all the plants in the garden: an unforeseeable, surprising growth. It is not easy for us to enter this logic of the unforeseeable nature of God and to accept it in our life. But today the Lord exhorts us to an attitude of faith which exceeds all our plans, our calculations, our predictions. God is always the God of surprises. The Lord always surprises us. It is an invitation to open ourselves more generously to God’s plans, both on the personal level and on that of the community. In our communities it is important to pay attention to the little and big occasions of goodness that the Lord offers us, allowing ourselves to engage in his dynamics of love, of welcoming and of mercy toward others.

The authenticity of the Church’s mission does not come through success nor through the gratification of the results, but by going forth with the courage of trust and the humility of abandonment to God. Going forth professing Jesus and with the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the awareness of being small and weak instruments which, in God’s hands and with his grace, can accomplish great deeds, advancing his Kingdom which is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom 14:17). May the Virgin Mary help us to be simple, to be attentive, to cooperate with our faith and with our work to develop the Kingdom of God in hearts and in history.

After the Angelus the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters, yesterday in Caracas, Maria Carmen Rendiles Martínez, Foundress of the Siervas de Jesús de Venezuela sisters, was proclaimed Blessed. Mother Carmen, was born and died in Caracas in the last century. Together with the Sisters, she served with love in parishes, in schools and alongside the needy. Let us praise the Lord for this faithful disciple of his and let us entrust our prayers for the people of Venezuela to her intercession. Let us greet the new Blessed and the people of Venezuela with a round of applause!

I am following with concern the fate of the populations of Yemen, already exhausted by years of conflict. I appeal to the international community to spare no effort to immediately bring the parties involved to the negotiating table and to avoid a worsening of the already tragic humanitarian situation. Let us pray to Our Lady for Yemen: “Hail Mary...”.

Next Wednesday, World Refugee Day will be observed. It is promoted by the United Nations to call attention to what is experienced, often with great anxiety and suffering, by our brothers and sisters forced to flee their land due to conflicts and persecution. A Day which, this year, falls as consultations are underway among governments for the adoption of a Global Compact on Refugees, which is hoped to be adopted within the year, as well as that for safe, orderly and legal migration. I hope that the states involved in these processes may reach an agreement to ensure, with responsibility and humanity, assistance and protection to those who are forced to leave their own country. But each one of us is also called to be close to refugees, to find moments of encounter with them, to appreciate their contribution, so that they too may be better integrated into the communities that receive them. In this encounter and in this mutual respect and support there is a solution to many problems.

I greet all of you, dear people of Rome and pilgrims, in particular those coming from Spain, from Malta, from Brazil — these Brazilians are boisterous! — from the United States of America; the students from the London Oratory School and those from the Colegio Oratorio Festivo of Novelda, Spain.

I heard that there is a group of Argentineans among you. Remember that today in our country it is Father’s Day, for Dads. Remember your fathers in your prayers.

I greet the faithful from Teramo, Francavilla a Mare and the Catholic Action group from Trento; the young people from Campobasso who have received Confirmation; the Italian Ecclesiastical Librarians’ Association and the ‘One encounter, one hope’ group from Olbia.

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

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