At 12 o'clock today, the Holy Father Francis appeared at the window of the study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Angelus with the faithful and the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
These are the words of the Pope in introducing the Marian prayer:
Before the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today's Gospel (cf. Lk 6: 17-20-26) presents the Beatitudes in the version of St. Luke. The text is articulated in four Beatitudes and four warnings formulated with the expression "trouble to you". With these words, strong and incisive, Jesus opens our eyes, shows us with his gaze, beyond appearances, beyond the surface, and teaches us to discern situations with faith.
Jesus declares blessed the poor, the hungry, the afflicted, the persecuted; and admonishes those who are rich, satiated, laughing and acclaimed by the people. The reason for this paradoxical bliss lies in the fact that God is close to those who suffer and intervenes to free them from their slavery; Jesus sees this, he already sees bliss beyond the negative reality. And equally the "trouble to you", addressed to those who today are doing well, is used to "wake them" from the dangerous deception of selfishness and open them to the logic of love, as long as they are in time to do so.
The page of today's Gospel therefore invites us to reflect on the profound meaning of having faith, which consists in trusting totally the Lord. It is a matter of breaking down worldly idols to open the heart to the living and true God; He alone can give to our existence that fullness so desired and yet difficult to achieve. Brothers and sisters, there are many, in fact, even in our day, those who propose themselves as dispensers of happiness: they come and promise success in a short time, great profits at hand, magical solutions to every problem, and so on. And here it is easy to slip without realizing in sin against the first commandment: that is, idolatry, replacing God with an idol. Idolatry and idols look like things of other times, but in reality they are of all time! Even today. They describe some contemporary attitudes better than many sociological analyzes.
This is why Jesus opens our eyes to reality. We are called to happiness, to be blessed, and we become so from the moment we place ourselves on the side of God, of his Kingdom, on the side of that which is not ephemeral but lasts for eternal life. We are happy if we recognize ourselves in need of God - and this is very important: "Lord I need you" - and if, like him and with him, we are close to the poor, the afflicted and the hungry. We too are before God: we are poor, afflicted, we are hungry before God. We become capable of joy every time that, possessing the goods of this world, we do not make of idols to which to empty our soul, but we are able to share them with our brothers. On this today the liturgy invites us once again to question ourselves and to make truth in our hearts.
The Beatitudes of Jesus are a decisive message, which encourages us not to place our trust in material and transient things, not to seek happiness by following the sellers of smoke - who are often sellers of death - the professionals of illusion. We must not follow them, because they are incapable of giving us hope. The Lord helps us to open our eyes, to acquire a more penetrating look at reality, to heal from chronic myopia that the worldly spirit infects us. With his paradoxical Word he shakes us and makes us recognize what really enriches us, satisfies us, gives us joy and dignity. In short, what really gives meaning and fullness to our lives. May the Virgin Mary help us to listen to this Gospel with an open mind and heart, so that it bears fruit in our lives and we become witnesses of the happiness that does not disappoint, that of God that never disappoints.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
from Thursday to Sunday a meeting of the Presidents of all the Episcopal Conferences on the theme of the protection of minors in the Church will take place in the Vatican. I invite you to pray for this event, which I wanted as an act of strong pastoral responsibility before an urgent challenge of our time.
I greet families, parishes, associations and those who came from Rome, Italy and many parts of the world; in particular, pilgrims from Croatia, from Toulon, Marseille and London; the students of Paris and Badajoz. I greet the faithful of Sassari, Fermo, Castiglione del Lago, Concorezzo; the families of Trentino Alto Adige and the pilgrims from the diocese of Vicenza.
I wish everyone a happy Sunday. And please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!