St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 1 July 2018
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The Gospel of this Sunday (cf. Mk 5,21-43) presents two prodigies worked by Jesus, describing them almost as a sort of triumphal march towards life.
First the Evangelist tells of a certain Giairo, one of the synagogue leaders, who comes to Jesus and begs him to go to his house because his twelve-year-old daughter is dying. Jesus accepts and goes with him; but, along the way, comes the news that the girl is dead. We can imagine that dad's reaction. But Jesus tells him: "Do not be afraid, only have faith!" (V. 36). Arrived at the house of Jairus, Jesus brings out the weeping people - there were also the women who were screaming loudly - and enters the room only with the parents and the three disciples, and addressing the deceased says: «Maiden, I say to you: get up ! "(V.41). And immediately the girl gets up, as if waking up from a deep sleep (see v. 42).
Inside the story of this miracle, Mark inserts another: the healing of a woman who suffered from bleeding and was healed as soon as she touched Jesus' mantle (see verse 27). Here strikes the fact that the faith of this woman attracts - I want to say "steal" - the divine saving power that exists in Christ, who, feeling that a force "had come out of him", tries to understand who has been. And when the woman, with so much shame, comes forward and confesses everything, He tells her: «Daughter, your faith has saved you» (v.34).
These are two interlocking stories, with a single center: faith; and show Jesus as the source of life, as the one who gives back life to those who trust him fully. The two protagonists, the father of the girl and the sick woman, are not disciples of Jesus and yet they are fulfilled for their faith. They have faith in that man. From this we understand that everyone is admitted on the path of the Lord: no one should feel like an intruder, an abusive person or someone who has no right. To have access to his heart, to the heart of Jesus, there is only one requirement: to feel in need of healing and to entrust himself to Him. I ask you: does each one of you feel in need of healing? Of something, some sin, some problem? And, if you hear this, do you have faith in Jesus? These are the two requisites to be healed, to have access to his heart: to feel in need of healing and to rely on Him. Jesus goes to discover these people in the crowd and removes them from anonymity, free them from the fear of living and daring. He does it with a look and with a word that puts them on the road after so much suffering and humiliation. We too are called to learn and to imitate these words that liberate and these looks that give back, to those without it, the desire to live.
In this Gospel page the themes of faith and of the new life that Jesus came to offer to all intertwine. Entering the house where the girl lies dead, He drives out those who are agitating and making lament (see verse 40) and says: "The child is not dead, she is asleep" (v. 39). Jesus is the Lord, and before Him physical death is like a sleep: there is no reason to despair. Another is death to be afraid of: that of the heart hardened by evil! Of that yes, we must be afraid! When we feel that our hearts are hardened, our hearts harden and, I allow myself the word, the mummified heart, we must be afraid of this. This is the death of the heart. But even sin, even the mummified heart, for Jesus is never the last word, because He has brought us the infinite mercy of the Father. And even if we fell down, his soft and strong voice reaches us: "I tell you: get up!" It is beautiful to hear that word of Jesus addressed to each one of us: "I tell you: stand up! Go. Get up, be brave, get up! " And Jesus restores life to the girl and gives life back to the healed woman: life and faith to both.
We ask the Virgin Mary to accompany our journey of faith and concrete love, especially towards those in need. And let us invoke her maternal intercession for our brothers who suffer in body and spirit.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
renewing my prayer for the beloved people of Nicaragua, I would like to join the efforts made by the Bishops of the country and many people of good will, in their role of mediation and witness for the ongoing process of national dialogue on the road to democracy .
The situation in Syria remains serious, especially in the province of Daraa, where military actions in recent days have also hit schools and hospitals, and have caused thousands of new refugees. I renew, together with the prayer, my appeal because the population, already hard tried for years, are spared further suffering.
In the midst of so many conflicts, it is right to point out an initiative that can be defined as historical - and it can also be said that it is good news: these days , after twenty years, the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea have returned to talk about peace together. May this meeting light a light of hope for these two countries of the Horn of Africa and for the entire African continent. I also assure my prayers for the young people who have been missing for over a week in an underground cave in Thailand. Next Saturday I will go to Bari, together with many Heads of Churches and Christian Communities of the Middle East. We will live a day of prayer and reflection on the ever dramatic situation of that region, where so many of our brothers and sisters in the faith continue to suffer, and we will implore one voice: "Peace be upon you" (Ps 122: 8). I ask everyone to accompany this pilgrimage of peace and unity with prayer. I address my greeting to all of you, Romans and pilgrims. I greet in particular the faithful who came from Portugal and the priests of the Sacerdos Institute of the Pontifical University Regina Apostolorum; as well as the Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity from Poland, and the faithful of Iraq. I greet the parish groups and associations; the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles, the youth group of the pastoral unit of Gallio, the diocese of Padua, the young democrats of the parish Maria Himmelfahrt in Schattdorf and the spiritual family of the Most Precious Blood of Christ, to whom it is especially dedicated the month of July. I wish everyone a good Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
Source: Vatican.va (Unofficial Translation from Italian)