St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 28 January 2018
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
This Sunday's Gospel (cf. Mk 1: 21-28) is part of the broader narrative referred to as the "day of Capernaum". At the center of today's story is the event of exorcism, through which Jesus is presented as a powerful prophet in words and deeds.
He enters the synagogue of Capernaum on the Sabbath and begins to teach; people are amazed at his words, because they are not ordinary words, they do not resemble what they usually listen to. The scribes, in fact, teach but without having their own authority. And Jesus teaches with authority. Jesus, on the other hand, teaches as one who has authority, revealing himself as the Messenger of God, and not as a simple man who must base his teaching only on previous traditions. Jesus has full authority. His doctrine is new and the Gospel says that people commented: "A new teaching, given with authority" (v. 27).
At the same time, Jesus is also powerful in his works. In the synagogue of Capernaum there is a man possessed by an unclean spirit, who manifests himself by shouting these words: "What do you want from us, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to ruin us? I know who you are: the saint of God! »(V.24). The devil tells the truth: Jesus came to ruin the devil, to ruin the devil, to overcome him. This unclean spirit knows the power of Jesus and also proclaims his holiness. Jesus scolds him, saying to him: "Be quiet! Come out of him "(v. 25). These few words of Jesus are enough to get the victory over Satan, who comes out of that man "tearing him and crying out loud", says the Gospel (v.26).
This fact greatly impresses those present; everyone is taken by fear and they ask themselves: «But, who is this? [...] He commands even the unclean spirits and obey him! »(V. 27). The power of Jesus confirms the authoritativeness of his teaching. He does not pronounce only words, but acts. Thus he manifests God's plan with words and with the power of works. In fact, in the Gospel we see that Jesus, in his earthly mission, reveals the love of God both through preaching and with countless acts of attention and assistance to the sick, the needy, children and sinners.
Jesus is our Teacher, powerful in words and deeds. Jesus communicates to us all the light that illuminates the streets, sometimes dark, of our existence; it also communicates to us the strength necessary to overcome difficulties, trials, temptations. Think of what great grace it is for us to have known this God so powerful and so good! A teacher and a friend, who shows us the way and takes care of us, especially when we are in need.
May the Virgin Mary, woman of listening, help us to make silence around and within us, to hear, in the din of the messages of the world, the most authoritative word there is: that of her Son Jesus, who announces the sense of our existence and frees us from all slavery, even from that of the Evil One.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Yesterday from Afghanistan came the painful news of the terrible terrorist massacre carried out in the capital Kabul, with more than a hundred dead and numerous wounded. A few days ago another serious attack, always in Kabul, had sowed terror and death in a large hotel. How long will the Afghan people have to endure this inhumane violence? We pray in silence for all the victims and their families; and we pray for those in that country who continue to work to build peace.
Today is the world day for leprosy patients. Unfortunately, this disease still affects the most disadvantaged and poorest people. To these brothers and sisters we assure our closeness and solidarity; and we also pray for those who assist them and work for their reintegration into society.
I greet families, parishes, associations and everyone who came from Italy and from many parts of the world. In particular the students of Badajoz (Spain), the faithful of Ljubljana (Slovenia) and those of Venice and Veglie.
With great affection I greet the boys and girls of the Catholic Action of the Diocese of Rome! I hope that even making noise, know how to do good things, right? Dear young people, also this year, accompanied by the Archbishop Vicar, by your parents and educators and by assistant priests, you have come numerous at the end of the "Caravan of Peace". Thank you for this initiative. Thank you, thank you so much! Do not get tired of being instruments of peace and joy among your peers! Now let's listen to all the messages that your friends, here next to me, will read.
[reading the message]
[Addressing the two children who read the message]: "Thank you, thank you. Stay here. Greet, say hello, say hello, without fear! "
And now, together with our prayers for peace, each of us in his heart prays for peace. With