The Evangelist Luke presents to us Jesus, walking to Jerusalem, who meets some men on the road probably young men who promise they will follow him wherever he goes. Jesus proves very demanding with them and warns them that "the Son of Man", namely, the Messiah, "has nowhere to lay his head" that is to say, he has no permanent dwelling place of his own and that those who choose to work with him in God's field cannot turn back (cf. Luke 9:57-58; 61-62). On the other hand Christ says to someone else: "Follow me", asking him to sever completely his ties with his family (cf. Luke 9:59-60). These requirements may seem too harsh but in fact they express the newness and absolute priority of the Kingdom of God that is made present in the very Person of Jesus Christ. All things considered, it is a question of that radicalism that is due to the Love of God, whom Jesus himself was the first to obey. Those who give up everything, even themselves, to follow Jesus, enter into a new dimension of freedom that St Paul defines as "walk[ing] by the Spirit" (cf. Galatians 5:16). "For freedom Christ has set us free", the Apostle writes, and he explains that this new form of freedom acquired from Christ consists in being "servants of one another" (Galatians 5:1, 13). Freedom and love coincide! On the contrary, complying with one's own egoism leads to rivalry and conflict.
Dear friends, the month of June, characterized by the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ, is now coming to an end. On the Feast of the Sacred Heart we renewed our commitment to sanctification together with the priests of the whole world. Today, I would like to invite everyone to contemplate the mystery of the divine and human Heart of the Lord Jesus, to draw from the very source of God's Love. Those who fix their gaze on that pierced Heart that is ever open for our love sense the truth of this invocation: "You are my inheritance O Lord" (Responsorial Psalm), and are prepared to leave everything to follow the Lord. O Mary, who answered the divine call without reserve, pray for us!
After the Angelus the Pope said:
Blessed Estéphan Nehmé, in the world Joseph, was beatified this morning in Lebanon. He was a religious of the Lebanese Maronite Order who lived in Lebanon between the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th. I warmly rejoice with our Lebanese brothers and sisters and entrust them with great affection to the new Blessed's protection.
This Sunday that precedes the Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul, in Italy and in other Countries, is the World Day of the Pope's Charity. I express my deep gratitude to all those who, with their prayers and donations, support the apostolic and charitable action of the Successor of Peter in favour of the universal Church and so many brothers and sisters, near and far.
I extend cordial greetings to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for today's Angelus. On Tuesday this week we will be celebrating Rome's feast-day, that is to say, the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul two great Apostles who proclaimed the Gospel in this city and bore witness to Christ, even to the shedding of their blood. Through their prayers, may all who come on pilgrimage to Rome be renewed and strengthened in faith, hope and love. May God's abundant Blessings come down upon all of you and upon your loved ones at home!
I wish you all a good Sunday!
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Pope Benedict XVI, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
Extracted from the letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians 6:14-18:
The only thing I can boast about is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.
It does not matter if a person is circumcised or not; what matters is for him to become an altogether new creature. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, who form the Israel of God.
I want no more trouble from anybody after this; the marks on my body are those of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, my brothers. Amen.
Extracted and summarised from Approved Church Commentary:
Paul’s boast and pride is in the redemption wrought by the passion and death of Jesus. United to this event and embracing its significance, Paul has rejected a way of life measured by external observances of the law and has been created afresh. That’s what really counts. Those who accept this kind of life-style as a meaningful way of life are the really chosen people of God, the Israel of God - the authentic Christian community. To them Paul sends wishes of peace (total well-being) and mercy (God’s kindness).
His final lines are as terse as the salutation of this letter. His body already shows the physical effects of his labours and sufferings in the ministry (2 Corinthians 11:23-25). He pleads with the Galatians not to add any more by troubling him. The concluding blessings are unusually brief and formal, though warned ever so slightly with his affectionate address, “Brothers”. Even in closing Paul makes one final attempt to reactivate their emotional anchorage to the gospel he preached.
14 July 2013
Extracted from the prophet Isaiah 66:10-14:
Rejoice, Jerusalem, be glad for her, all you who love her!
Rejoice, rejoice for her, all you who mourned her!
That you may be suckled, filled, from her consoling breast,
that you may savour with delight her glorious breasts.
For thus says the Lord:
Now towards her I send flowing peace, like a river,
and like a stream in spate the glory of the nations.
At her breast will her nurslings be carried and fondled in her lap.
Like a son comforted by his mother will I comfort you.
And by Jerusalem you will be comforted.
At the sight your heart will rejoice, and your bones flourish like the grass.
To his servants the Lord will reveal his hand.
Extracted from Psalm 66:1-7,16,20:
Cry out with joy to God, all the earth.
Cry out with joy to God all the earth, O sing to the glory of his name.
O render him glorious praise. Say to God: ‘How tremendous your deeds!
‘Before you all the earth shall bow; shall sing to you, sing to your name!’
Come and see the works of God, tremendous his deeds among men.
He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the river dry-shod.
Let our joy then be in him; he rules for ever by his might.
Come and hear, all who fear God. I will tell what he did for my soul:
Blessed be God who did not reject my prayer nor withhold his love from me.