In his Angelus reflections this week Pope Benedict XVI spoke of Sunday’s Gospel where we hear how the unclean spirit recognizes Jesus as the “Holy One of God”. He also marked World Leprosy Day, joined his prayers to the International Day of intercession for peace in the Holy Land and together with the young people of Catholic Action Italy, released two white doves as a sign of peace above the city of Rome.
Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s Sunday Angelus reflections:
Dear brothers and sisters!
This Sunday’s Gospel (Mk 1.21 to 28) presents us with Jesus, on the Sabbath day, as he preached at the synagogue at Capernaum, the small town where Peter and his brother Andrew lived on the lake of Galilee. In his teaching, which arouses the wonder of the people, following the liberation of “a man with an unclean spirit” (v. 23), who recognizes in Jesus as the “saint of God,” that is, the Messiah. In a short time, his fame spread throughout the region, which he travels announcing the Kingdom of God and healing the sick of all kinds: word and deed. St. John Chrysostom observes how the Lord “alternates the speech for the benefit of those who listen, moving on from wonders to words and again passing from the teaching of his doctrine to miracles” (Hom. on Matthew 25, 1: PG 57, 328).
The word that Jesus speaks to men immediately opens access to the will of the Father and the truth about themselves. It was not so, however, for the scribes, who struggled to interpret the Holy Scriptures with countless reflections. Furthermore, to the efficacy of the word, Jesus united the signs of deliverance from evil. St. Athanasius observes that “commanding and driving out demons is not human but divine work ‘, in fact, the Lord “distanced men from all diseases and infirmities. Who, seeing his power … still doubted that he was the Son, the Wisdom and Power of God? ” (Oratio de Incarnatione Verbi 18:19: PG 25, 128 BC.129 B). Divine authority is not a force of nature. It is the power of the love of God who created the Universe and, in becoming incarnate in His only begotten Son, in coming down to our humanity, heals the world corrupted by sin. Romano Guardini writes: “The whole life of Jesus is a translation of power in humility … Here is the sovereignty that lowers itself to the form of a servant” (Power, Brescia 1999, 141,142).
For man, authority often means possession, power, control success. For God, however, authority means service, humility, love; it means entering into the logic of Jesus who stoops to wash the disciples’ feet (cf. Jn 13.5), who seeks the true good of man, who heals wounds, who is capable of a love so great as to give up his life, because he is Love. In one of her Letters, Saint Catherine of Siena writes: “We must see and know, in truth, with the light of faith, that God is the supreme and eternal Love, and desires nothing else but our good “(Ep. 13 in: The Letters, vol. 3, Bologna 1999, 206).
Dear friends, on Thursday, February 2, we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, the World Day for Consecrated Life. With confidence we invoke Mary Most Holy that she may guide our hearts to always draw from divine mercy, which frees and heals our humanity, filling it with every grace and benevolence, through the power of love.
I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at this Angelus prayer. In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear how the unclean spirit recognizes Jesus as the “Holy One of God”. Let us pray that, despite the distractions of life and the apparent progress of evil, we may continue to put our faith in the Lord Jesus who is “the way, the truth and the life”. I wish all of you a good Sunday. May God bless you!
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today, in Vienna, the beatification takes place of Hildegard Burjan, a lay woman and mother, who lived in the nineteenth and twentieth century and is founder of the Society of the Sisters of Caritas Socialis. We praise the Lord for this beautiful testimony of the Gospel!
This Sunday marks the World Day of Leprosy. In greeting the Italian Association of Friends of Raoul Follereau, I would like to extend my encouragement to all those affected by this disease, as well as their caregivers who, in many ways, are committed to eradicating poverty and marginalization, the real causes of the persistence of the infection.
I remember also the International Day of intercession for peace in the Holy Land. In profound communion with the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem and the Custos of the Holy Land, we invoke the gift of peace for this land blessed by God
I greet with affection the Italian-speaking pilgrims, especially the faithful who came from Taranto, Bari and Civitavecchia, and the numerous children of Catholic Action of Rome, accompanied by the Cardinal Vicar Agostino Vallini, with their teachers and family. Dear children, this year you gave birth to the “Caravan of Peace”. Thank you and I encourage you to take everywhere the peace of Jesus.
And now we release the doves, which the young people have brought as a sign of peace for the city of Rome and the whole world.
A blessed Sunday to all!