During the Angelus, Pope Francis called on the international community to revive talks between the parties in Yemen, where a humanitarian catastrophe is underway due to war. He also focused attention on World Refugee Day, which falls on 20 June. He explained the parables of the "mysterious growth of the seed" and the "mustard seed". He called for prayers for the people of Venezuela on the occasion of the beatification of Maria Carmen Rendiles Martinez in Caracas.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis today mentioned a number of issues after the Angelus prayer together with the pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square. In his address, he called for peace in Yemen, where a "humanitarian catastrophe" is underway; he reiterated the value of World Refugee Day, which is celebrated on 20 June; and called for prayers for Venezuela on the occasion of the beatification of María Carmen Rendíles Martínez in Caracas, which took place yesterday.
The Marian prayer was preceded by the explanation of today's Gospel (11th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B, Mark 4:26-34), which tells the story of the two parables of the seed that grows in a mysterious way and of the mustard seed.
For Francis, these parables should make us remain confident in God’s meek but powerful action God in "personal and social events that sometimes seem to mark the shipwreck of hope."
In Yemen, for days Saudi forces have been trying to conquer the port of Hudaydah and take it away from their Houthi enemies. The port is the only place where humanitarian aid can be brought in to help the civilian population, exhausted by more than three years of war. The lives of at least 250,000 are at risk. So far, there have been 10,000 victims.
"I follow with concern the tragic fate of the people of Yemen already exhausted by years of conflict,” said Francis. “I appeal to the international community to spare no effort to urgently bring the parties involved to the negotiating table and avoid worsening an already tragic humanitarian situation. Let us pray to Our Lady for Yemen." The pontiff then recited a Hail Mary together with the pilgrims.
The pope then mentioned that 20 June is "World Refugee Day, promoted by the United Nations to draw attention to what our brothers and sisters forced to flee their lands have to endure, often with great anxiety and suffering, because of conflicts and persecution."
“Such a day this year comes at a time of consultations between governments on the adoption of a global pact on refugees to be adopted within the year like the one on a safe, orderly and regular migration,” the pontiff added.
Francis said he hopes that "the states involved in this process will reach an agreement to ensure with responsibility and humanity the assistance and protection of those forced to leave their own country".
"But,” he went on to say, “each of us is called to be close to the refugees, to find moments to meet them, to value their contribution, so that they too can better integrate into the communities that welcomed them. In such a meeting and in mutual respect and support there is the solution to many problems."
Previously, speaking about today's gospel, he explained the meaning of the first parable about the "mysterious growth of the seed. [. . .] Through preaching and Jesus’s action, the Kingdom of God was announced, rushed into the world and, like the seed, grew and developed from itself, from its own strength and according to humanly non-decipherable criteria. In its growth and sprouting in history, it did not depend so much on the work of man but was above all the expression of the power and goodness of God."
"For this reason, at times of darkness and difficulty we must not lose heart but remain anchored on God’s fidelity, on his presence that always saves."
"In the second parable (see verses 30-32), Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed. It is a very small seed, yet it developed so much that it became the largest of all the plants in the garden: an unpredictable, surprising growth. It is not easy for us to enter into the logic of God's unpredictability and accept it in our lives."
"The authenticity of the Church's mission is not given by the success or gratification of the results, but by going forward with the courage of trust and the humility of abandonment in God. It is the awareness of being small and weak instruments, which in the hands of God and with his grace can perform great works, advancing his Kingdom which is ‘righteousness, peace, and joy in the holy Spirit’ (Rom 14:17). May the Virgin Mary help us be simple and attentive, to collaborate with our faith and our work in the development of the Kingdom of God in hearts and in history."
Following the Marian prayer, Pope Francis mentioned that yesterday, Maria Carmen Rendiles Martinez, founder of the Siervas de Jesús de Venezuela Sisters, was beatified in Caracas. Her mission was expressed in parishes, schools and among the needy.
"We praise the Lord for his faithful disciple,” said the pontiff, “and entrust our prayers for the Venezuelan people to her intercession. We salute the new blessed and the Venezuelan people with an applause!”