Pope Francis explains "...when we are in bad times, in moments of sin, in moments of sadness...Jesus who tells us: "Look at me: I am here!" Full Text

Pope Francis at 

Paul VI Hall
Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles: 5. "In the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, stand up and walk" (Acts 3: 6). The invocation of the Name that frees a living and working presence.

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In the Acts of the Apostles the preaching of the Gospel does not rely only on words, but also on concrete actions that bear witness to the truth of the announcement. These are "prodigies and signs" (Acts 2:43) that occur by the work of the Apostles, confirming their word and demonstrating that they act in the name of Christ. It so happens that the Apostles intercede and Christ works, acting "together with them" and confirming the Word with the signs that accompany it (Mk 16:20). So many signs, so many miracles that the Apostles did were just a manifestation of the divinity of Jesus.

Today we find ourselves before the first healing story, before a miracle, which is the first healing story in the Book of Acts. It has a clear missionary purpose, which aims to arouse faith. Peter and John go to pray at the Temple, the center of Israel's experience of faith, to which the first Christians are still strongly linked. The first Christians prayed in the Temple in Jerusalem. Luke records the time: it is the ninth hour, that is, three in the afternoon, when the sacrifice was offered in holocaust as a sign of the communion of the people with his God; and also the hour in which Christ died offering himself "once for all" (Heb 9:12; 10:10). And at the door of the Temple called "Bella" - the Bella door - they see a beggar, a paralyzed man from birth. Why was he at the door, that man? Because the Mosaic Law (see Lv 21:18) prevented offering sacrifices to those who had physical disabilities, considered a consequence of some fault. We remember that when faced with a blind person from birth, the people had asked Jesus: "Who sinned, he or his parents, why he was born blind?" (Jn 9: 2). According to that mentality, there is always a fault at the origin of a malformation. And later they were even denied access to the Temple. The cripple, paradigm of the many excluded and discarded of society, is there to ask for alms as every day. He couldn't go in, but he was at the door. When something unexpected happens: Peter and John arrive and a game of looks is triggered. The cripple looks at the two to ask for alms, but the apostles stare at him, inviting him to look towards them in a different way, to receive another gift. The cripple looks at them and Peter tells him: "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene, rise up and walk!" (Acts 3.6). The apostles have established a relationship, because this is the way in which God loves to manifest himself, in the relationship, always in dialogue, always in apparitions, always with the inspiration of the heart: they are relationships of God with us; through a real encounter between people that can only happen in love.
The Temple, in addition to being the religious center, was also a place of economic and financial exchanges: against this reduction the prophets and even Jesus himself (cf. Lk 19: 45-46) had been hurled several times. But how many times do I think of this when I see some parishes where it is thought that money is more important than the sacraments! Please! Poor Church: let us ask the Lord for this. That beggar, meeting the Apostles, finds no money but finds the Name that saves man: Jesus Christ the Nazarene. Peter invokes the name of Jesus, orders the paralytic to stand up, in the position of the living: standing up, and touches this patient, that is, he takes him by the hand and raises him, a gesture in which St. John Chrysostom sees "an image of the resurrection »(Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, 8). And here appears the portrait of the Church, which sees those in difficulty, does not close their eyes, knows how to look at humanity in the face to create meaningful relationships, bridges of friendship and solidarity instead of barriers. The face of "a Church without borders that feels the mother of all" appears (Evangelii gaudium, 210), who knows how to take by the hand and accompany to lift - not to condemn. Jesus always holds out his hand, always trying to lift, to make people heal, to be happy, to meet God. It is the "art of accompaniment" that is characterized by the delicacy with which we approach the "Sacred land of the other", giving to the journey "the healthy rhythm of closeness, with a respectful and full of compassion but at the same time healthy, free and encourage to mature in the Christian life" (ibid., 169). And this is what these two apostles do with the cripple: they look at him, they say "look at us", they stretch out their hands, they raise him and they heal him. This is what Jesus does with all of us. We think this when we are in bad times, in moments of sin, in moments of sadness. There is Jesus who tells us: "Look at me: I am here!" Let's take Jesus' hand and let us get up.

Peter and John teach us not to trust in the means, which are also useful, but in the true wealth that is the relationship with the Risen One. We are indeed - as St. Paul would say - «poor, but capable of enriching many; as people who have nothing and instead possess everything "(2 Cor 6:10). Ours all is the Gospel, which manifests the power of the name of Jesus who performs wonders.

And we - each of us -, what do we own? What is our wealth, what is our treasure? What can we make others rich with? We ask the Father for the gift of a grateful memory in remembering the benefits of his love in our lives, to give everyone the witness of praise and gratitude. Let us not forget: the outstretched hand always to help the other to stand up; it is the hand of Jesus that through our hand helps others to stand up.

Greetings in Various Languages:
Je suis heureux de saluer les pèlerins venus de France et d’autres pays francophones, en particulier les jeunes de Toulouse, ainsi que des fidèles de la paroisse de Russ. Demandons au Père le don d’une mémoire reconnaissante pour les bienfaits de son amour dans notre vie. Et que l’Esprit Saint nous aide à en témoigner dans la louange et dans le service des autres. Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from Malta, China, Japan and the United States of America. Upon you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of the Lord. May God bless you!
Herzlich heiße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache willkommen. Liebe Brüder und Schwestern, danken wir dem Herrn für die Wohltaten seiner Liebe in unserem Leben. Seid stets Zeugen und Apostel der Nähe Gottes zu uns Menschen, die wir seines Heils bedürfen. Einen schönen Aufenthalt in Rom und eine gute Urlaubszeit!
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española provenientes de España y Latinoamérica. En particular saludo a la Hermandad Nuestro Padre Jesús Hospitalario, de Ciempozuelos, acompañados de su obispo Mons. Ginés García Beltrán. Pidamos al Señor que nunca olvidemos que la verdadera riqueza de nuestra vida está en su amor infinito, y que nos esforcemos en compartirlo también con los demás. Que Dios los bendiga.
Com grande afeto, saúdo os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em particular o grupo de escuteiros de Paranhos e os fiéis da paróquia de Rio Tinto, com votos de que possais, vós todos, dar-vos sempre conta do dom maravilhoso que é a vida. Vele sobre o vosso caminho a Virgem Maria e vos ajude a ser sinal de confiança e esperança no meio dos vossos irmãos. Sobre vós e vossas famílias desça a Bênção de Deus.
أرحب بالحاضرين الناطقين باللغة العربية، وخاصة بالقادمين من الإمارات العربية المتحدة، والعراق ومصر والشرق الأوسط. كم من مرة نتوجه لله طالبين منه الخيرات المادية، لكنه يعلمنا أن نطلب أولا ملكوته، والباقي سيعطى لنا في وقته. إن الله بذلك يفتح قلبنا على الثروة الحقيقية ويشفينا من أمراضنا المادية والروحية. ليبارككم الرب جميعا ويحرسكم دائما من الشرير!
[I warmly welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from the Arab Emirates, Iraq, Egypt and the Middle East. How many times we turn to God asking him to have material goods, but He teaches us to first ask for His Kingdom, and all the rest will be given to us in due time. He thus opens our hearts to true wealth and heals us from our material and spiritual infirmities. May the Lord bless you and always protect you from the evil one!]
Serdecznie pozdrawiam polskich pielgrzymów. Bracia i siostry, życzę wam dobrych wakacji. Niech będą dla was nie tylko możliwością odpoczynku, ale również okazją do ożywienia więzi miłości z Bogiem i z ludźmi. Nie zaniedbujcie codziennej modlitwy, uczestnictwa w niedzielnej Eucharystii i dzielenia czasu z innymi. Kontemplujcie piękno stworzenia, wielbiąc wszechmoc, mądrość i miłość Stwórcy. Niech Jego błogosławieństwo stale wam towarzyszy! Niech będzie pochwalony Jezus Chrystus!
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. Brothers and sisters, I wish you happy holidays. May you not only be able to rest, but also the opportunity to rekindle the bonds of love with God and with men. Do not neglect daily prayer, participation in the Sunday Eucharist and sharing time with others. Contemplate the beauty of creation, glorifying the omnipotence, wisdom and love of the Creator. May his blessing always accompany you. Praised be Jesus Christ!]
I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims.

I am pleased to welcome the participants in the General Chapter of the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and the Daughters of the Passion of Jesus Christ and the sorrows of Mary.

I greet the parishes, in particular that of San Martino in Chieti; groups of faithful and participants in the "Latium World Folkloric Festival" of Cori. And with affection I greet the refugee children who are guests of the "Auxilium" Cooperative.

I am particularly interested in young people, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds.

The day after tomorrow we will celebrate the feast of Saint Teresa Benedetta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr, Co-patron of Europe. I invite everyone to look at his courageous choices, expressed in an authentic conversion to Christ, as well as in the gift of his life against all forms of intolerance and ideological perversion.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation