St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 6 October 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today's Gospel page (see Lk 17: 10-10) presents the theme of faith, introduced by the disciples' request: "Increase faith in us" (v. 6). A beautiful prayer, that we should pray so much during the day: "Lord, increase faith in me!" Jesus responds with two images: the mustard seed and the available servant. "If you had faith as much as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree:" Uprooted and go to plant yourself in the sea ", and it would obey you" (v. 6). Mulberry is a robust tree, well rooted in the earth and resistant to winds. Jesus, therefore, wants to make it clear that faith, even if small, can have the strength to uproot even a mulberry. And then to transplant it into the sea, which is something even more unlikely: but nothing is impossible for those who have faith, because they do not rely on their own strength, but on God, who can do everything.
Faith comparable to the mustard seed is a faith that is not superb and self-confident; does not pretend to be that of a great believer doing sometimes fool! It is a faith that in its humility feels a great need for God and in littleness abandons itself with complete trust to Him. It is faith that gives us the ability to look with hope at the alternating vicissitudes of life, which helps us to accept defeats as well , the sufferings, in the awareness that evil never has, will never have, the last word.
How can we understand if we really have faith, that is, if our faith, though tiny, is genuine, pure, genuine? Jesus explains it to us by indicating what the measure of faith is: service. And it does so with a parable that at first glance is a little disconcerting, because it presents the figure of a bossy and indifferent master. But precisely this way of doing of the master brings out what is the true center of the parable, that is the attitude of availability of the servant. Jesus wants to say that this is how the man of faith with God is: he puts himself completely back to his will, without calculations or claims.
This attitude towards God is also reflected in the way of behaving in community: it is reflected in the joy of being at the service of one another, finding in this its own reward and not in the recognitions and the gains that can derive from it. This is what Jesus teaches at the end of this story: "When you have done all that you have been ordered to do, say:" We are useless servants. We have done what we had to do "" (v. 10).
Servants useless, that is, without pretending to be thanked, without claims. "We are useless servants" is an expression of humility, availability that is so good for the Church and recalls the right attitude to work in it: the humble service of which Jesus gave us the example, washing the feet of the disciples ( see Jn 13: 3-17).
May the Virgin Mary, a woman of faith, help us to go down this path. We turn to her on the eve of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, in communion with the faithful gathered in Pompeii for the traditional Supplica.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters!
The Eucharistic celebration with which we began the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region has just ended in St. Peter's Basilica. For three weeks the Synod Fathers, gathered around the Successor of Peter, will reflect on the mission of the Church in Amazonia, on evangelization and on the promotion of an integral ecology. I ask you to accompany this ecclesial event with prayer, so that it may be lived in fraternal communion and docility to the Holy Spirit, who always shows the ways for witnessing to the Gospel.
I thank all of you pilgrims who have come in large numbers from Italy and from many parts of the world. I greet the faithful of Heidelberg, Germany, and of Rozlazino, Poland; the students of Dillingen, in Germany as well, and those of the Istituto Sant’Alfonso of Bella Vista, Argentina.
I greet the group of Fara Vicentino and Zugliano, the families of the Alta Val Tidone, the pilgrims of the Castelli Romani who have marched for peace and those of Camisano Vicentino along the Via Francigena for an initiative of solidarity.
I wish you all a good Sunday. And please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - Unofficial Transation