In the light of these two texts, I would like to stress the crucial role of the spiritual director in the journey of faith and, in particular, in the response to the vocation of special consecration for the service of God and of his People. The Christian faith already in itself implies proclamation and witness. Indeed, it consists in adherence to the Good News that Jesus of Nazareth has died and risen, that he is God. And so it is that the call to follow Jesus more closely, giving up the formation of a family of one’s own so as to dedicate oneself to the great family of the Church, normally passes through the witness and introduction of an “elder brother”, who is usually a priest. This is so but we should not forget the fundamental role of parents who, with their genuine and joyful faith and their conjugal love, show their children that it is beautiful and possible to build the whole of life on God’s love.
Dear friends, let us pray to the Virgin Mary for all educators, especially priests and parents, that they may be fully aware of the importance of their spiritual role in order to encourage the young not only in their human growth but also to respond to God’s call, to say: “Speak Lord, for your servant hears”.
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today we are celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Millions of people are caught up in the phenomenon of migration, but they are not statistics! They are men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.
In my Message for this Day of Migrants and Refugees, I called attention to the theme: “Migration and the New Evangelization”, stressing that migrants are not only those for whom the proclamation of the Gospel is intended; they are also protagonists of the Gospel in today’s world. In this context I am glad to address a cordial greeting to the representatives of the migrant communities of Rome who are present today in St Peter’s Square. Welcome!
I then wish to remind you that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be taking place from 18 to 25 of this month of January. I invite everyone, personally and as a community, to join it in spirit and, where possible, also in practice, in order to invoke from God the gift of full unity among Christ’s disciples.
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus prayer. This Sunday we hear in the Gospel of John how the first Apostles responded to Jesus’ invitation to follow him. This response is a total giving of oneself which is demonstrated through the change of Simon’s name to Peter. May we strive to remain open to the Lord’s will for our lives. I wish all of you a good Sunday. May God bless you!
Have a good Sunday!
APOSTOLIC JOURNEY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Rizal Park, Manila
“A child is born to us, a son is given us” (Isaiah 9:5). It is a special joy for me to celebrate Santo Niño Sunday with you. The image of the Holy Child Jesus accompanied the spread of the Gospel in this country from the beginning. Dressed in the robes of a king, crowned and holding the sceptre, the globe and the cross, he continues to remind us of the link between God’s Kingdom and the mystery of spiritual childhood. He tells us this in today’s Gospel: “Whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it” (Mark 10:15). The Santo Niño continues to proclaim to us that the light of God’s grace has shone upon a world dwelling in darkness. It brings the Good News of our freedom from slavery, and guides us in the paths of peace, right and justice. The Santo Niño also reminds us of our call to spread the reign of Christ throughout the world.
In these days, throughout my visit, I have listened to you sing the song: “We are all God’s children”. That is what the Santo Niño tells us. He reminds us of our deepest identity. All of us are God’s children, members of God’s family. Today Saint Paul has told us that in Christ we have become God’s adopted children, brothers and sisters in Christ. This is who we are. This is our identity. We saw a beautiful expression of this when Filipinos rallied around our brothers and sisters affected by the typhoon.
The Apostle tells us that because God chose us, we have been richly blessed! God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Ephesians 1:3). These words have a special resonance in the Philippines, for it is the foremost Catholic country in Asia; this is itself a special gift of God, a special blessing. But it is also a vocation. Filipinos are called to be outstanding missionaries of the faith in Asia.
God chose and blessed us for a purpose: to be holy and blameless in his sight (Ephesians 1:4). He chose us, each of us to be witnesses of his truth and his justice in this world. He created the world as a beautiful garden and asked us to care for it. But through sin, man has disfigured that natural beauty; through sin, man has also destroyed the unity and beauty of our human family, creating social structures which perpetuate poverty, ignorance and corruption.
Sometimes, when we see the troubles, difficulties and wrongs all around us, we are tempted to give up. It seems that the promises of the Gospel do not apply; they are unreal. But the Bible tells us that the great threat to God’s plan for us is, and always has been, the lie. The devil is the father of lies. Often he hides his snares behind the appearance of sophistication, the allure of being “modern”, “like everyone else”. He distracts us with the view of ephemeral pleasures, superficial pastimes. And so we squander our God-given gifts by tinkering with gadgets; we squander our money on gambling and drink; we turn in on ourselves. We forget to remain focused on the things that really matter. We forget to remain, at heart, children of God. That is sin: forget, at heart, that we are children of God. For children, as the Lord tells us, have their own wisdom, which is not the wisdom of the world. That is why the message of the Santo Niño is so important. He speaks powerfully to all of us. He reminds us of our deepest identity, of what we are called to be as God’s family.
The Santo Niño also reminds us that this identity must be protected. The Christ Child is the protector of this great country. When he came into the world, his very life was threatened by a corrupt king. Jesus himself needed to be protected. He had an earthly protector: Saint Joseph. He had an earthly family, the Holy Family of Nazareth. So he reminds us of the importance of protecting our families, and those larger families which are the Church, God’s family, and the world, our human family. Sadly, in our day, the family all too often needs to be protected against insidious attacks and programs contrary to all that we hold true and sacred, all that is most beautiful and noble in our culture.
In the Gospel, Jesus welcomes children, he embraces them and blesses them (Mark 10:16). We too need to protect, guide and encourage our young people, helping them to build a society worthy of their great spiritual and cultural heritage. Specifically, we need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished and protected. And we need to care for our young people, not allowing them to be robbed of hope and condemned to life on the streets.
It was a frail child, in need of protection, who brought God’s goodness, mercy and justice into the world. He resisted the dishonesty and corruption which are the legacy of sin, and he triumphed over them by the power of his cross. Now, at the end of my visit to the Philippines, I commend you to him, to Jesus who came among us as a child. May he enable all the beloved people of this country to work together, protecting one another, beginning with your families and communities, in building a world of justice, integrity and peace. May the Santo Niño continue to bless the Philippines and to sustain the Christians of this great nation in their vocation to be witnesses and missionaries of the joy of the Gospel, in Asia and in the whole world.
Please don’t forget to pray for me! God bless.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Saint Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I, so that they could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Second Reading:
Extracted from the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Brothers: our time is growing short.
Those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for; those who are enjoying life should live as though there were nothing to laugh about; those whose life is buying things should live as though they had nothing of their own; and those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it.
I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.
The kingdom of God is close at hand:
repent, and believe the Good News.
1 March 2015
The Reluctant Prophet Jonah > Encouragements-41.
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, First Reading:
Extracted from the Prophet Jonah 3:1-5,10
The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah: ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’
Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’
And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least.
God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour. And God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Responsorial: Psalm 25:4-6, 7-9
Response: Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, make me know your ways. Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me: for you are God my saviour.
Remember your mercy, Lord, and the love you have shown from of old.
In your love remember me. because of your goodness, O Lord.
The Lord is good and upright. He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path, He teaches his way to the poor.