At the Angelus, Pope Francis recalls the victims of Tropical Storm Tembin, in the Philippines, which has caused hundreds of deaths and launches a new appeal for the release of all kidnapped persons. The "contrast" between the promises of the angel, "which opens unheard-of perspectives" and the response of Mary "short" and "humble". Find a few moments to stop in silence before the nativity scene "to worship in our hearts the mystery of true Christmas, that of Jesus".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A brief reflection on the Gospel of the Annunciation, a prayer for peace in the world and a thought for the flood victims in Mindanao (Philippines) today marked the appointment of Pope Francis with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the recitation of the Angelus.
The Pope reflected on the Gospel passage of the Annunciation, which is proclaimed in today's Mass (Sunday IV of Advent, B, Luke 1: 26-38). He noted the "contrast between the promises of the angel and Mary's response" . The angel speaks to Mary with a long revelation, which opens unheard-of perspectives. The child who will be born of this humble girl of Nazareth will be called the Son of the Most High: a dignity higher than this is inconceivable. And after Mary's question, with which she asks for explanations, the revelation of the angel becomes even more detailed and surprising."
"Mary's response is a short sentence, which does not speak of glory or privilege, but only of openness and service".
"Mary is truly humble and does not try to show off. She recognizes that she is small before God, and is happy to be like that. At the same time, she is aware that the realization of God's plan depends on her response, and that therefore she is called to adhere to it with her whole self ".
"Mary presents herself with an attitude that corresponds perfectly to that of the Son of God when he comes into the world: He wants to become the Servant of the Lord, to place himself at the service of humanity to fulfill the Father's plan. Mary says: "Behold the servant of the Lord"; and the Son of God, entering into the world, says: "Behold, I come [...] to do, O God, your will" (Hebrews 10,7.9). Mary's attitude fully reflects this declaration of the Son of God, who also becomes a son of Mary ".
"As we admire our Mother for her response to God's call and mission, we ask her to help each of us to welcome God's plan in our lives, with sincere humility and courageous generosity".
After the Angelus prayer, Francis invited everyone to pray for "the gift of peace for the whole world, especially for the populations that suffer the most from the ongoing conflicts".
He also renewed his appeal that for “Christmas, the kidnapped persons - priests, religious men and women religious and lay faithful - are released and can return to their homes".
The Pope continued: "I would like to assure my prayer to the population of the island of Mindanao, in the Philippines, hit by a storm that has caused numerous victims and destruction. May God the merciful welcome the souls of the dead and comfort those who suffer from this calamity ". The two appeals were followed by some moments of silent prayer.
"In these hours that separate us from Christmas - he concluded - find some time to stop in silence and prayer before the nativity scene, to worship in our hearts the mystery of true Christmas, that of Jesus, who comes to us with love, humility and tenderness ".