Angelus Address: On the Question: ‘Who is Jesus?’

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    VATICAN CITY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2018 (Zenit.org).- Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

    * * *

    Before the Angelus:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

    In today’s evangelical passage (cf. Mark 8:27-35), the question returns that is found throughout Mark’s Gospel: who is Jesus? However, this time it’s Jesus himself who asks it of His disciple, helping them gradually to address the basic question of His identity. Before questioning the Twelve directly, Jesus wants to hear from them what the people think of Him — and He knows well that the disciples are very sensitive to the Master’s popularity! Therefore, He asks: ”Who do men say that I am?” (v. 27). It emerges that the people consider Jesus a great prophet. But, in reality, He isn’t interested in people’s opinion polls and gossip. He isn’t interested either in His disciples responding to His questions with ready-made formulas, quoting famous personalities of Sacred Scriptures, because a faith that is reduced to formulas is a myopic faith.

    The Lord wants His disciples of yesterday and of today to establish a personal relationship with Him, and thus receive Him at the center of their life. Therefore He spurs them to put themselves in all truth before themselves, and asks: ”But who do you say that I am?” (v. 29). Today, Jesus asks this direct and confidential question to each one of us: “Who do you say that I am?” Who do you all say that I am? Who am I for you? Each one is called to answer, in his heart, allowing himself to be illumined by the light that the Father gives us to know His Son, Jesus. And it can also happen to us, as with Peter, to affirm enthusiastically: “You are the Christ.” However, when Jesus says clearly to us what He said to the disciples, namely, that His mission is carried out not on the wide path of success, but on the arduous pathway of the suffering Servant, humiliated, rejected and crucified, then it can happen to us also, as to Peter, to protest and rebel because this is opposed to our expectations. In those moments, we also deserve Jesus’ salutary rebuke: “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men” (v. 33).

    Brothers and sisters, the profession of faith in Jesus Christ can’t stop at words, but calls to be authenticated by concrete choices and gestures, by a life marked by love of God, of a great life, of a life with much love for one’s neighbor. Jesus says to us that to follow Him, to be His disciples, it’s necessary to deny oneself (cf. v. 34), that is, the claims of our egoistic pride, and take up our own cross. Then He gives all a fundamental rule. And what is this rule? “Whoever would save his life will lose it.” Often in life, for many reasons, we mistake the way, seeking happiness only in things, or in persons that we treat as things. However, we only find happiness when true love encounters us, surprises us and changes us. Love changes everything! And love can also change us, each one of us. The testimonies of the Saints demonstrate it.

    May the Virgin Mary, who lived her faith following faithfully her Son Jesus, help us also to walk on her path, spending our life generously for Him and for brothers.

    © Libreria Editrice Vatican

    [Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]


    After the Angelus:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    Yesterday I went on an Apostolic Visit to Piazza Armerina and to Palermo, in Sicily, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the death of Blessed Pino Puglisi [they applaud]. Applause for Don Pino! My heartfelt thanks go to the Civil and Ecclesiastical Authorities, and to all the persons that contributed to make this trip possible. I thank the good pilots of the plane and of the helicopter. I thank in particular the dear Bishops Rosario Gisana and Corrado Lorefice for their excellent pastoral service. I thank the young people, the families and all the wonderful people, of this very beautiful land of Sicily, for their warm reception. May Don Puglisi’s example and witness continue to illumine all of us and give us confirmation that good is stronger than evil, love is stronger than hatred. May the Lord bless you Sicilians and your land! Applaud the Sicilians!

    Dear brothers and sisters, I greet you all affectionately, Romans and pilgrims from different countries: families, parish groups <and> Associations.

    I greet the participants in the “Missio Giovani” assembly of the Pontifical Missionary Works and I encourage them to be witnesses of Jesus’ merciful love.

    I greet the teachers and students of Latin of the “Corderius College” of Amersfoort: Valete dilectissimi!

    I greet the Confirmation candidates of Marsan (Vicenza) and the Swiss musicians of Oron-la-Ville. I also see a good group from Nicaragua. I greet you very much!

    Today, two days after the Feast of the Holy Cross, I thought of giving you, who are in the Square, a crucifix. Here it is [he shows it]. The crucifix is the sign of the love of God who, in Jesus, gave His life for us. I invite you to receive this gift and to take it to your homes, to your children’s bedroom, or that of grandparents . . . to any place, but that it be seen in the home. Looking at Jesus crucified, we are looking at our salvation. There is nothing to pay. If someone says you must pay he is cunning! No, <pay> nothing! This is a gift of the Pope. I thank the Sisters, the poor and refugees who will now distribute this small but precious gift! As ever, faith comes from the little ones, from the humble.

    I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me.

    Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!

    © Libreria Editrice Vatican

    [Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]


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