Sunday, October 7th 2018
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The Gospel of this Sunday (cf. Mk 10,2-16) offers us the word of Jesus on marriage. The story opens with the provocation of the Pharisees who ask Jesus if it is lawful for a husband to divorce his wife, as provided for by the law of Moses (see verses 2-4). Jesus above all, with the wisdom and authority that come to him from the Father, downsizes the Mosaic prescription by saying: "For the hardness of your heart he - that is, the ancient legislator - wrote this rule for you" (v. 5). This is a concession that serves to buffer the flaws produced by our egoism, but does not correspond to the original intention of the Creator.
And here Jesus takes up the Book of Genesis: "From the beginning of creation (God) made them male and female; for this reason the man will leave his father and his mother and will join his wife and the two will become one flesh "(verses 6-7). And he concludes: "Therefore man does not divide what God has joined" (verse 9). In the original project of the Creator, there is no man who marries a woman and, if things do not go, he repudiates her. No. Instead, there is the man and the woman called to recognize each other, to complete each other, to help each other in marriage.
This teaching of Jesus is very clear and defends the dignity of marriage, as a union of love that implies fidelity. What allows married couples to remain united in marriage is a love of mutual self-giving sustained by the grace of Christ. If, on the other hand, individual interest and satisfaction prevail in the spouses, then their union can not resist.
And it is the same Gospel page that reminds us, with great realism, that man and woman, called to live the experience of relationship and love, can painfully make gestures that put them in crisis. Jesus does not admit all that can lead to the sinking of the relationship. He does this to confirm the plan of God, in which the strength and beauty of human relationships stand out. On the one hand, the Church does not tire of confirming the beauty of the family as given to us by Scripture and Tradition; at the same time, he strives to make his maternal closeness felt concretely to those who live the experience of broken relationships or carry on in a painful and tiring way.
God's way of acting with his unfaithful people - that is, with us - teaches us that wounded love can be healed by God through mercy and forgiveness. Therefore, in these situations, the Church is not immediately requested and only condemnation. On the contrary, faced with so many painful marital failures, she feels called to live her presence of love, of charity and of mercy, to bring back to God the wounded and lost hearts.
We invoke the Virgin Mary to help the spouses to live and renew their union always starting from the original gift of God.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters!
Today, feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, I address a special greeting to the faithful gathered at the Shrine of Pompeii for the traditional supplication, presided on this occasion by Cardinal Mario Zenari, Apostolic Nuncio in Syria. I renew the invitation to all to pray the Rosary every day of the month of October, ending it with the antiphon "Under your protection" and the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, to repel the attacks of the devil who wants to divide the Church.
Next Saturday, the 1st Day of the Catacombs will take place in Rome. Many sites will be open to the public, with educational workshops and cultural events. I thank the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology for this initiative and wish for it the best result.
I greet with affection all of you, Romans and pilgrims, especially families and parish groups from Italy and from various parts of the world. I greet the Greek Catholic Catholics of Slovakia, the faithful of Poznan and Fortaleza (Brazil); the grandparents of Malta and the students of Neuilly (France); and the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres from Australia.
I greet the pilgrimage promoted by the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the "Calliope" choir of Gussago (Brescia), the boys of "Student Youth" of Lazio and the faithful of Abbiategrasso.
I wish everyone a good Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!