Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 9 July 2023
Dear brothers and sisters, buongiorno!
Today the Gospel contains a very beautiful prayer of Jesus, who addresses the Father, saying, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes” (Mt 11:25). But what things is Jesus talking about? And then, who are these “babes” to whom such things are revealed? Let us reflect on this: on the things for which Jesus praises his Father and on the “babes” who know how to welcome them.
The things for which Jesus praises the Father. Just before this, the Lord had recalled some of his works — “the blind receive their sight […], lepers are cleansed […], the poor have good news preached to them” (Mt 11:5) — and revealed their meaning, saying that these are the signs that God is at work in the world. The message, then, is clear: God reveals himself by liberating and healing the human person. Let us not forget this: God reveals himself by liberating and healing the human person, and he does this with a gratuitous love, a love that saves. This is why Jesus praises his father, because his greatness consists in love and he never works outside of love. But this greatness in love is not understood by those who presume to be great and who fabricate a god in their own image — powerful, inflexible, vindictive. In other words, those who are presumptuous are not able to accept God as Father; those who are full of themselves, proud, concerned only about their own interests — these are the presumptuous ones — convinced they do not need anyone. In this regard, Jesus names the inhabitants of three rich cities of his time: Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, where he had accomplished many healings, but whose inhabitants remained indifferent to his preaching. For them, his miracles were only spectacular events, useful for making news and feeding gossip. Once passing interest in them was over, they archived them, maybe in order to occupy themselves with other novelties of the moment. They did not know how to welcome the great things of God.
The little children, instead, know how to welcome them, and Jesus praises the Father for them: “I bless you,” he says, because you have revealed the Kingdom of Heaven to the little ones. Jesus praises him for the simple people whose hearts are free from presumption and self-love. The little ones are those who, like children, feel their need and are not self-sufficient. They are open to God and allow themselves to be amazed at his works. They know how to read his signs, to marvel at the miracles of his love! I ask all of you, and even myself, do we know how to marvel at the things of God or do we take them for passing things?
Brothers and sisters, if we think about it, our lives are filled with miracles. They are filled with deeds of love, signs of God’s goodness. Before these, however, even our hearts can remain indifferent and become habitual, curious but not capable of being amazed, of allowing themselves to be “impressed”. A closed heart, an armoured heart, is incapable of being amazed. To impress is a beautiful verb that brings to mind photographic film. This is the correct behaviour to have before God’s works: to take a photograph of his works in our minds so that they may be impressed in our hearts, and then developed in our lives through many good deeds, so that this “photograph” of God, who is love, becomes ever brighter in us and through us.
And now, let us all ask ourselves: In the deluge of news that overwhelms us, do I, as Jesus shows us today, know how to stop before the great things of God, those that God accomplishes? Do I allow myself to marvel like a child at the good that silently changes the world? Or have I lost the ability to be amazed? And do I bless the Father each day for his works? May Mary, who exulted in the Lord, make us capable of being amazed by his love and of praising him with simplicity.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters, with sorrow I learned that blood has again been poured out in the Holy Land. I hope that the Israeli and Palestinian authorities can resume direct dialogue to bring an end to the spiral of violence and to open paths of reconciliation and peace.
Today is Sea Sunday, dedicated to those who work aboard ships, in ports and in the maritime industry. I thank the seafarers who protect the oceans from various forms of pollution — in addition to their work — and remove from the sea the garbage that we throw into it, the plastic. The fishermen from San Benedetto del Tronto told me once about the tons of plastic they removed from the sea, as we saw recently on the programme A Sua Immagine. I thank the chaplains and volunteers of the Apostolate of the Sea and I entrust them all to the protection of Mary, Stella Maris [Star of the Sea]. I would also like to remember with gratitude all those who work for Mediterranea Saving Humans, for saving migrants at sea. Thank you very much, brothers and sisters!
And now I greet you, people of Rome and pilgrims, who, despite the July heat, are here in the square! A round of applause to all of you! I am happy to offer a special greeting to the girl scouts and university students from Lviv, in Ukraine: I offer my blessing to all of you and I extend it to your loved ones and to your people, so severely tried. Let us pray for these people who are suffering so much. I greet the faithful from Poland and I remember the great pilgrimage taking place today at the Shrine of Jasna Góra, in Częstochowa.
I greet the young people from the Regnum Christi movement, the scouts from Modica, the parish choir from Saint Stephen Quisquina — Agrigento, the youth from the Diocese of Pistoia and the faithful from Sacile.
Now I would like to announce that next 30 September I will hold a Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals. Where they come from expresses the universality of the Church, that continues to proclaim the merciful love of God to all the people on earth. Moreover, the inclusion of the new Cardinals into the Diocese of Rome manifests the inseparable bond between the See of Peter and the local Churches spread throughout the world. Here are the names of the new Cardinals:
Archbishop Robert Francis PREVOST, O.S.A., Prefect of the Dicastery for Bishops
Archbishop Claudio GUGEROTTI, Prefect of the Dicastery for Eastern Churches
Archbishop Víctor Manuel FERNÁNDEZ, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith
Archbishop Emil Paul TSCHERRIG, Apostolic Nunzio
Archbishop Christophe Louis Yves Georges PIERRE, Apostolic Nunzio
Archbishop Pierbattista PIZZABALLA, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
Archbishop Stephen BRISLIN, Archbishop of the Capetown (Kaapstad)
Archbishop Ángel Sixto ROSSI, S.J., Archbishop of Córdoba
Archbishop Luis José RUEDA APARICIO, Archbishop of Bogotá
Archbishop Grzegorz RYŚ, Archbishop of Łódź
Archbishop Stephen Ameyu Martin MULLA, Archbishop of Juba
Archbishop José COBO CANO, Archbishop of Madrid
Archbishop Protase RUGAMBWA, Coadjutor Archbishop of Tabora
Bishop Sebastian FRANCIS, Bishop of Penang
Bishop Stephen CHOW SAU-YAN, S.J., Bishop of Hong Kong
Bishop François-Xavier BUSTILLO, O.F.M. Conv., Bishop of Ajaccio
Bishop Américo Manuel ALVES AGUIAR, Auxiliary Bishop of Lisbon
Reverend Ángel FERNÁNDEZ ARTIME, S.D.B., Rector Major of the Salesians
Together with them, I will also add to the members of the College of Cardinals, two archbishops and one religious who have distinguished themselves for their service to the Church:
Archbishop Agostino MARCHETTO, Apostolic Nuncio.
Archbishop Diego Rafael PADRÓN SÁNCHEZ, Archbishop Emeritus of Cumaná
Father Luis Pascual DRI, OFM Cap., Confessor of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompei, Buenos Aires
Let us pray for the new Cardinals, so that, confirming their adhesion to Christ, the merciful and faithful High Priest (cf. Heb 2:17), they may help me in my ministry as Bishop of Rome for the good of the entire faithful Holy People of God.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!
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