Paul VI Hall
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles: 20. "Paul welcomed all those who came to him, announcing the kingdom of God ... with all frankness and without impediment" (Acts 28,30-31). Paul's imprisonment in Rome and the fruitfulness of the announcement.
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today we conclude the catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, with the last missionary stage of Saint Paul: that is, Rome (cf Acts 28.14).
Paul's journey, which was one with that of the Gospel, is the proof that the routes of men, if lived in faith, can become a transit space for the salvation of God, through the Word of faith which is ferment active in history, capable of transforming situations and opening ever new paths.
With Paul's arrival in the heart of the Empire, the story of the Acts of the Apostles ends, which does not end with Paul's martyrdom, but with the abundant sowing of the Word. The end of Luke's story, centered on the journey of the Gospel in the world, contains and summarizes all the dynamism of the Word of God, an unstoppable Word that wants to run to communicate salvation to all.
In Rome, Paul first of all meets his brothers in Christ, who welcome him and instill courage in him (cf. Ac 28:15) and whose warm hospitality suggests how much his arrival was expected and desired. Then he was allowed to live on his own under military custody, that is, with a soldier who was guarding him, he was under house arrest. In spite of his prisoner condition, Paul can meet the Jewish notables to explain why he was forced to appeal to Caesar and to talk to them about the kingdom of God. He tries to convince them about Jesus, starting from the Scriptures and showing the continuity between the newness of Christ and the "hope of Israel" (Acts 28.20). Paul recognizes himself deeply Jewish and sees in the Gospel that he preaches, that is, in the proclamation of the dead and risen Christ, the fulfillment of the promises made to the chosen people.
After this first informal meeting which finds the Jews well disposed, a more official one follows during which, for a whole day, Paul announces the kingdom of God and tries to open his interlocutors to faith in Jesus, starting from "the law of Moses and the Prophets "(Ac 28,23). Since not everyone is convinced, he denounces the hardening of the heart of the people of God, the cause of his condemnation (cf. Is 6,9-10), and celebrates with passion the salvation of the nations that show themselves sensitive to God and capable of listen to the Word of the Gospel of life (cf Acts 28,28).
At this point in the narrative, Luke concludes his work by showing us not the death of Paul but the dynamism of his sermon, of a Word that "is not chained" (2Tm 2,9) - Paul does not have the freedom to move but is free to speak because the Word is not chained - it is a Word ready to be sown with full hands by the Apostle. Paul does it "with all frankness and without impediment" (Ac 28,31), in a house where he welcomes those who want to receive the announcement of the kingdom of God and know Christ. This house open to all hearts in search is an image of the Church which, although persecuted, misunderstood and chained, never tires of welcoming every man and woman with a motherly heart to announce to them the love of the Father who made himself visible in Jesus .
Dear brothers and sisters, at the end of this journey, lived together following the race of the Gospel in the world, the Spirit revives in each of us the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers. Make us, like Paul, capable of impregnating our houses with the Gospel and making them cenacles of fraternity, where we can welcome the living Christ, who "comes to meet us in every man and at all times" (cf. II Preface of Advent).
Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les jeunes venus de Lyon. Avec Paul, nous sommes invités à imprégner nos maisons de l’Evangile et à les transformer en cénacles de fraternité. Que l’esprit Saint ravive en chacun de nous l’appel à être des évangélisateurs courageux et joyeux. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from Finland and the United States of America. Upon you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May God bless you!
Herzlich grüße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache. Die Reise des Wortes Gottes geht weiter – auch in unseren Tagen. Der Herr beruft uns als Zeugen trotz unserer Begrenztheit. Der Heilige Geist begleite euch.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española venidos de España y Latinoamérica —a los paraguayos, uruguayos, nicaragüenses, argentinos, españoles—. Pidamos al Espíritu Santo que estimule en todos nosotros la llamada a ser evangelizadores valientes y decididos para que, como san Pablo, vivamos la alegría del Evangelio y convirtamos nuestros hogares en cenáculos de fraternidad abiertos a todos los hermanos. Que Dios los bendiga.
De coração, saúdo os peregrinos brasileiros da paróquia de Nossa Senhora da Salete, os grupos de salesianos de São Paulo e de focolares e todos os presentes de língua portuguesa. Sede bem-vindos! Que nada vos impeça de viver e crescer na amizade do Senhor Jesus, e testemunhar a todos a sua grande bondade e misericórdia! Desça generosamente a sua Bênção sobre vós e vossas famílias.
[From the bottom of my heart, I greet the Brazilian pilgrims from the parish of Our Lady of La Salette, the groups of the Salesians of San Paolo and the Focolare, and all those present in Portuguese. Welcome! Nothing prevents you from living and growing in the friendship of the Lord Jesus, and to testify to all of his great goodness and mercy! Let his blessing descend generously on you and your families.]
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ منالشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، إنَّ فرح الإنجيل ينبعث من اللقاء بيسوع، لأننا عندما نلتقي بالرب يغمرنا ذلك الحب الذي وحده الله قادر على منحنا إياه، وهنا يكمن مصدر كل عمل البشارة. فلا يوقفنَّن إذًا الخوف بأن نخطئ أو أن نسير على دروب جديدة لأنّ ضعفنا ليس حاجزًا بل أداة ثمينة لأن نعمة الله تحب أن تظهر في ضعفنا. ليبارككُم الرب!
[I cordially welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, especially those from the Middle East! Dear brothers and sisters, the joy of the Gospel comes from the encounter with Jesus. It is when we meet the Lord that we are flooded with that love of which he alone is capable, and therein lies the source of evangelizing action. So let us not be afraid of making mistakes and fear of taking new paths, because our poverty is not an obstacle, but a precious tool, because the grace of God loves to manifest himself in weakness. The Lord bless you!]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy bracia i siostry, niech Duch ożywi w każdym z was powołanie do bycia odważnymi i radosnymi ewangelizatorami. Niech was uzdolni do nasycenia naszych domów Ewangelią i uczynienia ich wieczernikami braterstwa, abyście mogli przyjąć Chrystusa żywego, który przychodzi do nas w każdym człowieku i w każdym czasie. Z serca wam błogosławię!
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. Dear brothers and sisters, the Spirit revives in each of you the call to be courageous and joyful evangelizers. Make you capable of impregnating your homes with the Gospel and making them cenacles of fraternity, where you can welcome the living Christ, who comes to meet us in every man and in every age. I bless you from my heart!]
* * *
I cordially welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet the Franciscan Alcantarine Sisters - these nuns make noise! -, who celebrate their General Chapter, and I encourage them to put their charism ever more at the service of the Church. I also greet the Prayer Group Padre Pio of Pariana, San Carlo Terme and Antona; the participants in the meeting promoted by BMW Italy; the Italian Ophthalmological Society; and the Kim Association.
Lastly, I greet the young, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds. Open your heart to the needs of the Church, and, following the example of Jesus, stay close to the brothers, building a more just world.
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - UnOfficial Translation
Full Text + Image Source: Vatican.va - UnOfficial Translation