(Vatican Radio) On the eve of his departure to Brazil for the World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis from the window of the apostolic palace asked those present in St Peter’s Square to accompany him spiritually in prayer for this his first pastoral visit. He also entrusted what he called “this new stage of the great pilgrimage of young people across the world”, to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who he added, is so loved and venerated in Brazil.
The Holy Father was speaking following the recitation of the Angelus underlining that at this time, young people should listen to the voice of Jesus. The week of World Youth Day said the Pope could also be called “World Youth Week as it is a week devoted to youth.
Peering down at the huge crowds in St Peter’s Square Pope Francis noticed a banner held up by a group of pilgrims, which read “Buon Viaggio” or “have a good trip”. He smiled and thanked them for their good wishes.
The Pope on Sunday also focused his attention on the Gospel reading from Luke which recounts the story of Martha and Mary and their brother Lazarus. Pope Francis described how both sisters offered hospitality to Jesus on his visit to their house, but in different ways. Mary places herself at the feet of Jesus while Martha is busy preparing things.
The Holy Father explained that both of these disciplines, service and prayer are needed to serve the Lord, “they are not two opposing attitudes but, on the contrary both are two aspects essential to our Christian life aspects that should never be separated, but lived in profound unity and harmony.”
Even in our Christian lives, continued the Pope, prayer and action are always deeply united. A prayer that does not lead to concrete action towards a poor brother, who is sick, and in need of help, is a prayer that is sterile and incomplete. But, equally, Pope Francis said, when in ecclesial service you are careful only to give more attention to objects, functions, and structures, and forget the centrality of Christ, you are likely to serve these earthy things and not God.
At the end of the Angelus Pope Francis as has become traditional wished all present a good Sunday and a good lunch.