St. Peter's Square
Sunday, January 19, 2020
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
This second Sunday of Ordinary Time is in continuity with the Epiphany and with the feast of the Baptism of Jesus. The Gospel passage (cf. Jn 1: 29-34) still speaks to us of the manifestation of Jesus. In fact, after being baptized in the Jordan River, He was consecrated by the Holy Spirit who rested on Him and was proclaimed Son of God by the voice of the heavenly Father (cf Mt 3: 16-17 and par.). The Evangelist John, unlike the other three, does not describe the event, but offers us the testimony of John the Baptist. He was the first witness of Christ. God had called him and prepared him for it.
The Baptist cannot hold back the urgent desire to testify to Jesus and declares: "I have seen and testified" (v. 34). John saw something shocking, that is, the beloved Son of God in solidarity with sinners; and the Holy Spirit made him understand the unheard of novelty, a true reversal. In fact, while in all religions it is the man who offers and sacrifices something to God, in the event Jesus is God who offers his Son for the salvation of humanity. John manifests his amazement and his consent to this novelty brought by Jesus, through a pregnant expression that we repeat every time in the Mass: "Here is the lamb of God, the one who takes away the sin of the world!" (V. 29 ).
John the Baptist's testimony invites us to start afresh on our journey of faith: to start afresh from Jesus Christ, the Lamb full of mercy that the Father has given for us. Let us be surprised again by God's choice to be on our side, to be in solidarity with us sinners, and to save the world from evil by taking charge of it totally.
Let us learn from John the Baptist not to presume that we already know Jesus, that we already know everything about him (cf. v. 31). It is not so. Let's stop on the Gospel, perhaps even contemplating an icon of Christ, a "holy face". We contemplate with the eyes and even more with the heart; and let ourselves be instructed by the Holy Spirit, who tells us inside: It is He! He is the Son of God made lamb, immolated for love. He, He alone brought, He alone suffered, atoned for the sin of each of us, the sin of the world, and also my sins. All. He carried them all on himself and took them away from us, so that we could finally be free, no longer slaves to evil. Yes, we are still poor sinners, but not slaves, no, not slaves: children, children of God!
May the Virgin Mary obtain the strength to testify to her Son Jesus; to announce it with joy with a life freed from evil and a word full of amazed and grateful faith.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Today a conference is held in Berlin to discuss the crisis in Libya. I sincerely hope that this summit, so important, will be the start of a path towards the cessation of violence and a negotiated solution that will lead to peace and the much desired stability of the country.
I greet all of you, dear pilgrims and Roman faithful. In particular, the members of some Confraternities of Sevilla, Spain; the faithful of Bielsko-Biała and Poznań, Poland; the students of the "Loras College" of Dubuque, United States, and those of Vila Pouca de Aguiar, in Portugal.
I greet the parish groups of Scandicci and Quarto d’Altino, those of San Giuseppe al Trionfale and San Melchiade in Rome, as well as the ministers of Corva, diocese of Concordia-Pordenone, with their family members.
I am pleased to remember that 2020 has been designated internationally as the "Year of the Nurse and Midwife". Nurses are the most numerous health workers and closest to the sick, and midwives are perhaps the noblest of the professions. Let us pray for all of them, so that they can do their precious work at best.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!