Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 27 October 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The Mass celebrated this morning in Saint Peter’s concluded the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region. The first reading, from the Book of Sirach, reminded us of the starting point of this journey: the invocation of the poor, who go “past the clouds”, because “God listens” to the prayer of the oppressed (Sir 35: 21, 16). The cry of the poor, together with that of the earth, came to us from the Amazon. After these three weeks we cannot pretend that we have not heard it. The voices of the poor, along with those of many others inside and outside the Synod Assembly – pastors, young people, scientists – urge us not to remain indifferent. We have often heard the phrase “later is too late”: this phrase cannot remain a slogan.
What was the Synod? It was, as the word says, a journey undertaken together, comforted by the courage and consolations that come from the Lord. We walked, looking each other in the eye and listening to each other, sincerely, without concealing difficulties, experiencing the beauty of moving forward together in order to serve. The Apostle Paul stimulates us in this, in today’s second reading: in a dramatic moment for him, while he knows that he is “already being poured out as a drink offering” – that is, executed – “and the time of my departure has come” (cf. 2 Tim 4: 6), he writes, at that moment: “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it” (v. 17). This is Paul’s final wish: not something for himself or for one of his own, but for the Gospel, that it may be proclaimed to all nations. This comes first of all and counts more than anything. Each of us must have asked ourselves many times what good might be done in one’s own life. Today is the time; let us ask ourselves: “Me, what can I do that is good for the Gospel?”
In the Synod we asked ourselves this question, wishing to open up new paths for the proclamation of the Gospel. Only what is lived is proclaimed. And to live by Jesus, to live by the Gospel, one must come out of oneself. We felt spurred on to go out to sea, to leave the comfortable shores of our safe harbours to enter deep waters: not into the marshy waters of ideologies, but the open sea in which the Spirit invites us to cast our nets.
For the way ahead, let us invoke the Virgin Mary, venerated and loved as Queen of the Amazon. She became one not by conquering, but by “inculturating” herself: with a mother’s humble courage she became the protector of her children, the defence of the oppressed. Always going out to the culture of the peoples. There is not a standard culture, there is not a pure culture that purifies the others; there is the Gospel, pure, which is inculturated. To she who cared for Jesus in the poor house of Nazareth, we entrust the poorest children and our common home.
After the Angelus, the Pope continued:
Dear brothers and sisters,
I address a special thought to the dear Lebanese people, in particular to the young, who in recent days have made their cry heard in the face of the challenges and social, moral and economic problems of the country. I urge everyone to seek the right solutions in the way of dialogue, and I pray to the Virgin Mary, Queen of Lebanon, so that, with the support of the international community, the country may continue to be a place of peaceful coexistence and respect for the dignity and freedom of every person, for the benefit of the entire Middle Eastern Region, which suffers so much.
I greet you all with affection: pilgrims from Italy and various countries, especially those from São Paulo, Brazil and Poland, and the group of the “Céntro Académico Romano Fundación” from Spain.
I greet the Apostles of the Sacred Heart, who celebrate the centenary of their foundation; the Syro-Malabar community of the diocese of Patti; and the seminarians of the diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla, who served Mass in the Basilica this morning. And I also see that there are the confirmands from Galzignano: I greet you!
This is the last Sunday of October, the missionary month, which this year has had an extraordinary character, and it is also the month of the Rosary. I renew my invitation to pray the Rosary for the mission of the Church today, especially for missionaries who encounter the greatest difficulties. At the same time let us continue to pray the Rosary for peace. The Gospel and peace go hand in hand.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and arrivederci!
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