After the days I spent in the mountains in the Aosta Valley, I am glad to be with you today, dear people of Castel Gandolfo, who are always so hospitable to the Pope. I greet you all with affection, starting with the Bishop of Albano, the Parish Priests and the other Priests of Castel Gandolfo. I greet the Mayor, the Municipal Board and the other Authorities present, and extend my affectionate thoughts to the Director and Staff of the Pontifical Villas, as well as to the entire population of this delightful and peaceful little town.
I offer an especially warm greeting to the pilgrims from so many places who have come to pay me a visit. It is my first summer stay here in Castel Gandolfo: I thank you for your festive welcome last Thursday, which you are repeating today.
The 20th World Youth Day is approaching, and we are already on our way. This Day, as we know, will be held in Cologne, and, please God, I shall be taking part in it - even if I am not young, but my heart is young - from Thursday to Sunday, 18 to 21 August. In the upcoming days, groups of young men and women will be setting out for Germany from every corner of Europe and of the world, following the example of the Holy Magi, as the theme suggests: "We have come to worship him" (Matthew 2: 2).
I would like to invite young believers from all over the world, also those who will be unable to take part in this extraordinary ecclesial event, to join forces in a common spiritual pilgrimage to the wellsprings of our faith. In accordance with a felicitous intuition of our beloved Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day is a privileged encounter with Christ, in the firm awareness that he alone offers human beings fullness of life, joy and love.
Every Christian is called to enter into profound communion with the Crucified and Risen Lord, to adore him in prayer, meditation and above all, in devout participation in the Eucharist, at least on Sunday, the little "weekly Easter". In this way one truly becomes his disciple, ready to proclaim and to witness at every moment to the Gospel's beauty and power of renewal.
May the Virgin Mother of the Redeemer, whose Assumption into Heaven we commemorate in the month of August, watch over all who are preparing to take part in World Youth Day. May she who always goes before us on the pilgrimage of faith, guide young people in a special way in their search for true good and authentic joy.
As you know, in these past days the Irish Republic Army (IRA) of Northern Ireland has announced that it has formally ordered the end of armed conflict in favour of the exclusive use of peaceful negotiations. This is wonderful news, which contrasts with the sorrowful events in many parts of the world that we are witnessing daily, and has rightly given rise to pleasure and hope in that Island and the entire International Community.
For my part, I am particularly glad to join in these sentiments. In addition, I encourage everyone, without exception, to continue to walk courageously on the path marked out and to take further steps that will make it possible to strengthen mutual trust, promote reconciliation and consolidate the negotiations for a just and lasting peace.
I do so as vigorously as my venerable Predecessor, John Paul II when, in Drogheda in September 1979, he implored people to desert the paths of violence and return to the ways of peace. Let us entrust our common prayer for this intention to the intercession of Mary Most Holy, to St Patrick and all the Saints of Ireland.
After the Angelus, the Pope said:
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors who have joined us for this Angelus prayer. I ask the Lord to grant you and your families a serene summer, and upon all of you I cordially invoke his Blessings.
A happy Sunday to you all, and a good week. Thank you for your warmth and friendship.
Piazza Duomo, Bressanone
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
A cordial welcome to you all! I would first like to say a word of profound thanks to you, dear Bishop Egger: you have made possible here this celebration of faith. You have ensured that once again I could, as it were, return to my past and at the same time advance into my future; and once again spend my vacation in beautiful Bressanone, this land where art and culture and the goodness of the people are interconnected: a heartfelt "thank you" for all of this! And of course, I thank all who, together with you, have contributed to ensuring that I could spend peaceful and serene days here: my thanks to all those who shared in the organization of this celebration! I cordially thank all the Authorities of the City, of the Region and of the State, for all they have done by way of organization, the volunteers who are offering their help, the doctors, so many people who have been necessary, especially the Police Force; I am grateful for everyone's collaboration... I am sure I have left out many people! May the Lord reward you all for it: you are all in my prayers. This is the only way in which I can thank you. And, naturally, above all let us thank the good Lord who has given us this earth and has also given us this Sunday bathed in sunshine. Thus we arrive at the Liturgy of the day. The first Reading reminds us that the greatest things in this life of ours can neither be purchased nor paid for because the most important and elementary things in our life can only be given: the sun and its light, the air that we breathe, water, the earth's beauty, love, friendship, life itself. We cannot buy any of these essential and central goods but they are given to us. The Second Reading then adds that this means they are also things that no one can take from us, of which no dictatorship, no destructive force can rob us. Being loved by God who knows and loves each one of us in Christ; no one can take this away and, while we have this, we are not poor but rich. The Gospel adds a third consideration. If we receive such great gifts from God, we in turn must give them: in a spiritual context giving kindness, friendship and love, but also in a material context - the Gospel speaks of the multiplication of the loaves. These two things must penetrate our souls today: we must be people who give, because we are people who receive; we must pass on to others the gifts of goodness and love and friendship, but at the same time we must also give material gifts to all who have need of us, whom we can help, and thus seek to make the earth more human, that is, closer to God.
Now, dear friends, I ask you to join me in a devout and filial commemoration of the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI, the 30th anniversary of whose death we shall be celebrating in a few days. Indeed, he gave up his spirit to God on the evening of 6 August 1978, the evening of the Feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus, a mystery of divine light that always exercised a remarkable fascination upon his soul. As Supreme Pastor of the Church, Paul VI guided the People of God to contemplation of the Face of Christ, the Redeemer of man and Lord of history. And it was precisely this loving orientation of his mind and heart toward Christ that served as a cornerstone of the Second Vatican Council, a fundamental attitude that my venerable Predecessor John Paul II inherited and relaunched during the great Jubilee of the Year 2000. At the centre of everything, always and only Christ: at the centre of the Sacred Scriptures and of Tradition, in the heart of the Church, of the world and of the entire universe. Divine Providence summoned Giovanni Battista Montini from the See of Milan to that of Rome during the most sensitive moment of the Council - when there was a risk that Blessed John XXIII's intuition might not materialize. How can we fail to thank the Lord for his fruitful and courageous pastoral action? As our gaze on the past grows gradually broader and more aware, Paul VI's merit in presiding over the Council Sessions, in bringing it successfully to conclusion and in governing the eventful post-conciliar period appears ever greater, I should say almost superhuman. We can truly say, with the Apostle Paul, that the grace of God in him "was not in vain" (cf. 1 Corinthians 15: 10): it made the most of his outstanding gifts of intelligence and passionate love for the Church and for humankind. As we thank God for the gift of this great Pope, let us commit ourselves to treasure his teachings.
In the last period of the Council, Paul VI wanted to pay a special tribute to the Mother of God and solemnly proclaimed her "Mother of the Church". Let us now address the prayer of the Angelus to her, the Mother of Christ, the Mother of the Church, our Mother.
After the Angelus:
Next Friday, 8 August, the 29th Olympic Games will begin in Beijing. I am pleased to address to the host Country, to the organizers and to the participants, and first of all to the athletes, my cordial greeting and the hope that each one may give of his or her best in the genuine Olympic spirit. I am following with deep interest this great sports event - the most important and anticipated in the world - and I warmly hope that it will offer the international community an effective example of coexistence among people of the most different provenances, with respect for their common dignity. May sports once again be a pledge of brotherhood and peace among peoples!
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors united with us here in Bressanone for this Angelus prayer. Wednesday, the feast of the Lord’s Transfiguration, marks the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Pope Paul VI. As we recall this great Pontiff who concluded the Second Vatican Council and guided the first phase of the post-conciliar renewal, let us give thanks for his wise teaching, his passionate love of the Church, and his desire to draw all people to the contemplation of Christ’s glory. Dear friends, during these summer holidays, may you grow closer to the Lord in prayer, and may he shed the light of his face upon you and your families!
I wish you all a good Sunday, a good week and good holidays - please God! My thanks again to you all!
Courtyard of the Papal Summer Residence, Castel Gandolfo
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This Sunday’s Gospel describes the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves that Jesus worked for a great throng of people who had followed him to listen to him and to be healed of various illnesses (cf. Matthew 14:14).
As evening fell the disciples suggested to Jesus that he send the crowds away so that they might take some refreshment. But the Lord had something else in mind: “You give them something to eat” (Matthew 14:16). However they had “only five loaves... and two fish”. Jesus’ subsequent action evokes the sacrament of the Eucharist: “He looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds” (Matthew 14:19).
The miracle consists in the brotherly sharing of a few loaves which, entrusted to the power of God, not only sufficed for everyone but enough was left over to fill 12 baskets. The Lord asked this of the disciples so that it would be they who distributed the bread to the multitude; in this way he taught and prepared them for their future apostolic mission: in fact, they were to bring to all the nourishment of the Word of life and of the sacraments.
In this miraculous sign the incarnation of God and the work of redemption are interwoven. Jesus, in fact, “went ashore” from the boat to meet the men and women (cf. Matthew 14:14). St Maximus the Confessor said that the Word of God made himself present for our sake, by taking flesh, derived from us and conformed to us in all things save sin, in order to expose us to his teaching with words and examples suitable for us” (Ambigua 33: PG 91, 1285 C).
Here the Lord offers us an eloquent example of his compassion for people. We are reminded of all our brothers and sisters in the Horn of Africa who in these days are suffering the dramatic consequences of famine, exacerbated by war and by the lack of solid institutions. Christ is attentive to material needs but he wished to give more, because man always “hungers for more, he needs more” (Jesus of Nazareth, Doubleday, New York 2007, p. 267 (English translation). God’s love is present in the bread of Christ; in the encounter with him “we feed on the living God himself, so to speak, we truly eat the ‘bread from Heaven’” (ibid. p. 268).
Dear friends. “in the Eucharist Jesus also makes us witnesses of God’s compassion towards all our brothers and sisters. The Eucharistic mystery thus gives rise to a service of charity towards neighbour” (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 88). St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus whom the Church is commemorating today, also bore witness to this. Indeed Ignatius chose to live “finding God in all things, loving him in all creatures” (cf. Constitutions of the Society of Jesus, III, 1, 26).
Let us entrust our prayers to the Virgin Mary, so that she may open our hearts to compassion for our neighbour and to fraternal sharing.
17 August 2014