Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis spoke to the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus. In his comments on today’s Gospel (19th Sunday of the Liturgical Year A, Mt 14:22-23), he said that on the Church’s boat, “we are safe despite our miseries and weaknesses", and that “faith in Christ and his words is a warranty against shipwreck," better than "horoscopes and fortune-tellers" or "bewitching but unsafe boats of ideologies, fashion and slogans”.
The Gospel says Jesus walked on the waters and calmed the storm, allowed Peter to walk on the waters, and saved him when he was drowning because of his little faith.
"This story,” Francis explained, “is rich in symbolism and makes us reflect on our faith, both as individuals and as an ecclesial community. The boat is the life of each of us, but it is also the life of the Church; the headwind represents difficulties and trials. Peter's invocation: ‘Lord, [. . .], command me to come to you on the water’, and his cry, ‘Lord, save me!’ are so much like our desire to feel the closeness of the Lord, but also the fear and anguish that accompany the hardest moments in our lives and our communities, marked by inner fragility and outer difficulties."
"At that moment, for Peter, Jesus’s reassuring words, which were like a stretched rope to cling on to face the hostile and turbulent waters, were not enough. This can happen to us as well. When we do not cling on to the Lord’s words, and consult [instead] horoscopes and fortune-tellers, we begin to sink.
“Today’s Gospel reminds us that faith in the Lord and his words does not open us a path where everything is easy and quiet; it does not spare us from the storms of life. Faith gives us the reassurance of a Presence that pushes us to overcome the storms of life, [it is] the certainty of a hand that grabs us to help us cope with difficulties, pointing us towards the way even when it is dark. Faith, in short, is not a loophole out of the problems of life, but is a support on the journey and gives it meaning."
"This episode is a splendid picture of the Church's reality at all times: a boat that, during the crossing, must also clash against headwinds and storms that threaten to overwhelm her. What saves her is not the courage and the qualities of her crew; the warranty against shipwreck is faith in Christ and his words.
“We are safe on this boat despite our miseries and weaknesses, especially when we kneel and worship the Lord, like the disciples who, in the end, prostrated themselves before him, saying, ‘Truly, you are the Son of God’ (Mt 14:33).” Then, the pope asked the faithful to repeat several times: "Truly, you are the Son of God."
The pontiff his address before the Marian prayer, saying, "May the Virgin Mary helps us remain firm in faith to withstand the storms of life, and stay on the boat of the Church, shunning the temptation to climb on the bewitching but unsafe boats of ideologies, fashion and slogans."