Pope Francis has Hail Mary recited at the Angelus “to support the victims of trafficking and convert the hearts of traffickers.” The world seems to be getting used to this "aberrant plague", which is “ugly, cruel, criminal!" The pontiff mentioned the parables of the treasure and precious pearl. The quest "is the essential condition for finding". The discovery of the treasure and the pearl entails "sacrifice, detachment and renunciation”. The joy of the farmer and merchant in the parable "is the joy of each of us when we discover the closeness and consoling presence of Jesus in our lives."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis issued a strong appeal against human trafficking, a form of "modern slavery". At the end of Angelus's prayer with pilgrims in St Peter's Square, the pontiff said that today is “World Day against Trafficking in Persons promoted by the United Nations".
"Every year, thousands of men, women and children are innocent victims of labour and sexual exploitation and organ trafficking,” he said. “It seems that we are so accustomed to it that we consider it a normal thing. This is ugly, cruel, criminal! I would like to call on everyone to counter this aberrant plague, a form of modern slavery. Let us pray together to the Virgin Mary to support the victims of trafficking and convert the hearts of traffickers. Let us pray together to Our Lady: Hail Mary . . .".
Earlier, Francis spoke about today’s gospel (17th Sunday, Year A, Matthew 13:44-52), in particular the two parables about the treasure hidden in the field and the precious pearl, for which the farmer "decides to put at risk all of his possessions in order not to miss a very exceptional opportunity," and the merchant who "decides to bet everything on that pearl, to the point of selling everything" else he has.
"These similarities point to two characteristics concerning the possession of the Kingdom of God: quest and sacrifice. The Kingdom of God is offered to everyone, but it is not made available on a silver plate; it requires dynamism: it is about seeking, walking, doing. The attitude of quest is the essential condition for finding. It is necessary that the heart burn from the desire to attain the precious good, that is, the Kingdom of God that is present in the person of Jesus. He is the hidden treasure, he is the pearl of great value. He is the fundamental discovery, which can become a turning point in our lives, filling it with meaning."
"Estimating the irreplaceable value of the treasure leads to decisions that also involves sacrifice, detachment and renunciation,” Francis explained. “When the treasure and the pearl are discovered, when we find the Lord, we must not let this discovery become sterile; we instead must sacrifice everything else to it. It is not a question of despising the rest, but of subordinating it to Jesus, placing Him in first place, placing grace in first place. Christ’s disciple is not the one who deprived himself of something essential; it is the one who has found much more: he found the full joy that only the Lord can give. It is the evangelical joy of the healed patient, the forgiven sinner, the thief to whom the door of paradise has been opened."
"The joy of the Gospel fills the heart and the whole life of those who encounter Jesus. Those who let themselves be saved by Him are freed from sin, sadness, inner void, and isolation. With Jesus Christ, joy is always born and reborn (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, No. 1). Today we are exhorted to contemplate the joy of the farmer and merchant in the parable. It is the joy of each of us when we discover the proximity and consoling presence of Jesus in our lives. This presence transforms the heart and opens us to the needs and the acceptance of our fellow human brings, especially the weaker ones. Let us pray, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so that each of us may know, with daily words and deeds, the joy of finding the treasure of the Kingdom of God, that is, the love that the Father has given us through Jesus.”