(Vatican Radio) This morning, Pope Francis celebrated mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. About 40 apostolic nuncios, who remained in the Vatican after the Pope’s meeting with them on Friday, were present. Commenting on the Sunday Gospel from Luke, in which Jesus asks the Apostles, “But who do you say that I am?”, the Pope underlined that we need to respond to Jesus from the heart, inspired by our veneration for him and from the rock of his love.
In Luke, Jesus asks: “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter responds: “The Christ of God”. The question that Jesus asks in the Gospel of Luke is relevant to us 2,000 years later and cuts straight to the heart, said Pope Francis in his homily, to which we must respond with the humility of a sinner, beyond all ready-made answers.
“We, even we, who are apostles and servants of the Lord need to respond because the Lord asks us: ‘What do you think of me?’ He does it, eh? He does it many times! ‘What do you think of me?’ says the Lord. And we cannot do that which cannot be well understood. ‘But, you are the anointed one! Yes, I read it’. With Jesus, we cannot speak of him as an historic figure, a figure of history. Jesus is living in front of us. This question is asked by a living person. And we have to respond from the heart.”
We are called again today by Jesus to carry out the radical choice made by the Apostles, a total choice, in the logic of “all or nothing”, a journey for which we must be enlightened by a “special grace” to carry out, living always on the solid base of veneration and love for Jesus.
“Veneration and love for his Holy Name. Certainty that he set us on a rock – the rock of his love. And from this love, we give you the answer, we give the answer. And when Jesus asks these questions – ‘Who am I for you?’ – we need to think of this: I was set on the rock of his love. He leads me. I must respond firmly on that rock and under his leadership.”
“Who am I for you?” Jesus asks us. Sometimes we are ashamed to respond to his question, underlined the Pope, because we know that something in us is not right, we are sinners. But it is exactly in this moment that we should trust in his love and respond with that sense of truth, as Peter did on Lake Tabor: “Lord, you know everything”. It is exactly in the moment that we feel like sinners, the Lord loves us a lot, said the Pope. And just as he put Peter, the fisherman, at the head of his Church, so, too, will the Lord do something good with us.
“He is the greatest, he is the greatest! And when we say, from veneration and from love, secure, secure on the rock of his love and guidance: ‘You are the anointed one’, this will do us much good and it will make us move forward with certainty and pick up the cross daily, which is heavy at times. Let us go forward like this, with joy, and asking for this grace: grant to your people, Father, to always live in veneration and love for your Holy Name! And with the certainty that you never deprive of your guidance those whom you have set on the rock of your love!”
(Vatican Radio) On a hot sunny day in Rome, Pope Francis greeted thousands of pilgrims and tourists from the window of the Papal apartments above St Peter’s Square who had come to hear the recitation of the Sunday Angelus.
Reflecting on Sunday’s Gospel the Pope recalled some of the most incisive words that Jesus spoke, “”Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it”
The Holy Father said that this phrase is really a summary of Christ’s message which almost makes us hear his voice.
Explaining the meaning of Jesus’ words Pope Francis said that the martyrs offer the best example of losing one’s life for Christ. Both in the past and today, he continued, in many parts of the world, there are martyrs both men and women who are imprisoned, or killed for the sole reason of being Christian.
But the Pope also noted that there is also the daily martyrdom, which do not result in death but is also as he put it, a “loss of life” for Christ, people doing their duty with love, according to the logic of Jesus.
These people the Holy Father said are the fathers and mothers who every day put into practice their faith by devoting their lives for the good of the family.
Pope Francis also recalled the “many priests, monks, nuns who give generously their service to the kingdom of God”. And the young people who give up their interests to devote their time to children, the disabled, and the elderly.
The Pope then spoke of the Christians and non-Christians who “lose their life” for the truth, adding “those who serve the truth serve Christ.”
Before reciting the Marian prayer the Holy Father focused his attention on one great man who gave his life for the truth, John the Baptist whose feast day is celebrated on June 24th.
He said John was chosen by God to prepare the way before Jesus. John devoted himself entirely to God and his messenger. But it was Jesus who eventually died for the cause of truth.
During the Angelus the Pope also stressed ,especially to the young people present, the importance of having the courage to go against the tide of current values that do not conform to the path of Jesus.