Pope urges the faithful not to shut themselves off from one other, but to reach out to those who have strayed away from the faith
At the Angelus, Francis urged the faithful to pray for his trip to Kazakhstan, where he will meet other religious leaders to engage in dialogue “inspired by the mutual desire for peace, the peace which our world thirsts for.” The pope also remembered Sister Maria De Coppi killed in Mozambique.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis spoke today to the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer.
In his address, he said that God “does not ‘rest easy’ if we stray away from Him”, but rather gets moving to look for us. For this reason, the pontiff also urged the faithful to do the same with those who have strayed away from the Christian life.
Francis explained that the three parables of mercy in today's liturgy (Lk 15:4-32) “summarise the heart of the Gospel: God is the Father who excludes no one and comes in search of us whenever we are lost.”
Ultimately, the main characters in all three stories “could rest easy: the shepherd is missing a sheep, but he has ninety-nine others; [. . .] the woman is missing a coin but has nine others; and even the Father also has another son, obedient, to devote himself to. [. . .]. Nonetheless, there is anxiety in their hearts [. . .] about what is missing”.
For the pontiff, this is how God is. “He is grieved, He trembles in his innermost being; and He sets out to come and look for us until He takes us back into his arms. The Lord does not count losses and risks; He has the heart of a father and mother, and suffers for the absence of his beloved children. [. . .] God always awaits us with open arms, whatever the situation in life in which we are lost”.
He also calls upon us to accept such restlessness when we look at those who have strayed away from the Christian life. “[D]o we truly miss those who are missing from our communities?” Francis asked. “Or are we comfortable among ourselves, calm and blissful in our groups, [. . .] without compassion for those who are far away?”
Hence, he calls upon us to reflect on our relationships. “[D]o I pray for those who do not believe, who have drifted away, who are bitter? Do we attract those who are distant through the style of God, which is closeness, compassion, and tenderness? The Father asks us to be attentive to the children he misses the most. Let us think of someone we know, who is close to us and has perhaps never heard anyone say, ‘You know, you are important to God.’”
At the end of the Angelus, Pope Francis called on the faithful to pray for the apostolic journey he will undertake in Kazakhstan in the coming days, from 13 to 15 September.
"I will take part in the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. It will be an opportunity to meet many religious representatives and to engage in dialogue as brothers and sisters, inspired by the mutual desire for peace, the peace our world thirsts for.”
In this regard, the pontiff mentioned the new mission by Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Charity, in Ukraine "to visit various communities and bear concrete witness to the closeness of the Pope and the Church.”
Finally, the pontiff remembered in his thoughts Sister Maria De Coppi, the Italian Comboni missionary killed in Chipene, Mozambique, where she lived her apostolate for almost sixty years. “May her witness give strength and courage to Christians and all the people of Mozambique.”