Pope Francis recites the Angelus at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City
Sunday, August 18, 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In today's Gospel passage (see Lk 12: 49-53), Jesus warns the disciples that the moment of decision has come. His coming into the world, in fact, coincides with the time of decisive choices: the option for the Gospel cannot be postponed. And to better understand his call, he uses the image of fire that he himself came to bring to earth. Thus he says: "I have come to set fire to the earth, and I wish it were already lit" (v. 49). These words have the purpose of helping the disciples to abandon every attitude of laziness, apathy, indifference and closure to welcome the fire of God's love; that love which, as Saint Paul reminds us, "has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Rom 5: 5). Because it is the Holy Spirit that makes us love God and makes us love our neighbor; it is the Holy Spirit that we all have inside.
Jesus reveals to his friends, and also to us, his most ardent desire: to bring to earth the fire of the Father's love, which lights up life and through which man is saved. Jesus calls us to spread this fire in the world, thanks to which we will be recognized as his true disciples. The fire of love, lit by Christ in the world through the Holy Spirit, is a fire without limits, it is a universal fire. This has been seen since the early days of Christianity: the testimony of the Gospel spread as a beneficial fire, overcoming every division between individuals, social categories, peoples and nations. The testimony of the Gospel burns, burns every form of particularism and maintains charity open to all, with a preference for the poorest and the excluded.
Adhering to the fire of the love that Jesus brought to earth envelops our entire existence and requires adoration of God and also a willingness to serve others. Adoration of God and willingness to serve others. The first, worshiping God, also means learning the prayer of adoration, which we usually forget. That is why I invite everyone to discover the beauty of the prayer of adoration and to exercise it often. And then the second, the willingness to serve others: I think with admiration of so many communities and groups of young people who, even during the summer, dedicate themselves to this service in favor of the sick, the poor, people with disabilities. To live according to the spirit of the Gospel it is necessary that, in the face of ever new needs that are looming in the world, there are disciples of Christ who know how to respond with new initiatives of charity. And so, with adoration of God and service to others - both together, worshiping God and serving others - the Gospel is truly manifested as the fire that saves, that changes the world starting from the change of the heart of each one.
In this perspective, we also understand the other affirmation of Jesus reported in today's passage, which at first glance can disconcert: "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but a division "(Lk 12,51). He came to "separate with fire". Separate that? Good from evil, right from wrong. In this sense he came to "divide", to put in "crisis" - but in a healthy way - the life of his disciples, breaking the easy illusions of those who believe they can combine Christian life and worldliness, Christian life and compromises of all kinds , religious practices and attitudes against others. Some combine to combine true religiosity with superstitious practices: how many self-styled Christians go from the fortune teller to the guess to have their hands read! And this is superstition, it is not of God. It is a question of not living in a hypocritical way, but of being willing to pay the price for coherent choices - this is the attitude that each of us should look for in life: consistency - paying the price to be consistent with the Gospel. Consistency with the Gospel. Because it is good to say that we are Christians, but above all we must be Christians in concrete situations, bearing witness to the Gospel which is essentially love for God and for our brothers.
May Mary Most Holy help us to let our hearts be purified by the fire brought by Jesus, to propagate it with our life, through decisive and courageous choices.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
I address a cordial greeting to all of you, Roman faithful and pilgrims who have come from Italy and from different countries.
In particular, I greet the "Divino Amore" group from Canada; the Scouts of Rio de Loba, Portugal; and the Polish faithful.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!