03/06/2016, 14.00
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Pope: May Mother Teresa accompany her "martyrs of charity", victims of indifference, in Heaven

Before the Angelus prayer, Francis comments on the parable of the prodigal son: "Like the father in the Gospel, God also still thinks of His children when we are lost, and comes to us with tenderness when we return to Him. The errors we commit although great, do not even graze the fidelity of His love". The Pope also praises the memory for the four Missionaries of Charity killed in Yemen and makes an appeal to keep humanitarian corridors open for refugees. Today the spiritual exercises of the Pope and the Roman Curia begin.

 

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – May Mother Teresa "in Heaven accompany her daughters, martyrs of charity, and intercede for peace and the sacred respect for human life".  They  "do not make headlines, they are not in the newspapers, but they give blood for the Church. They are victims not only of those who killed them, but also indifference”, said Pope Francis immediately after the Angelus prayer today, expressing solidarity with the Missionaries of Charity congregation for the killing of four sisters in Aden - Yemen - two days ago. The Pope’s words were greeted by loud applause from the faithful gathered in St Peter's Square.

Before the prayer, Francis commented on the parable of the Prodigal Son 'or rather the merciful Father ". It is the last of the "triptych" of the parables of the Gospel of Luke on mercy: "Today it would be nice if each of us took the Gospel in this fifteenth chapter of Luke, and read the three parables."

The story, says Francis, "helps us to understand some of this father’s characteristics: He is a man who is always ready to forgive and hope against hope. We are struck by his tolerance at his younger son's decision to leave home: he could oppose it, knowing that he still immature, a young boy, or find some lawyer so as not to give him his inheritance while still alive. Instead he allows him to leave, while providing for possible risks. This is how God works with us: He leaves us free, even to be wrong, because in creating us He gave us the great gift of freedom. It is for us to put it to good use. This gift of freedom which God gives us always amazes me".

But the separation from his son, said the Pope, "is just physical; His father always carries him in his heart; confidently he awaits his return; he looks out onto the road in the hope of seeing him. And one day he sees him appear in the distance (cf. v. 20). But this means that every day this father climbed on the roof to see if he would come back! Then he runs towards him, embraces him, kisses him. How much tenderness! This son had made a great mistake ... ".

The same attitude, "the father also reserves the eldest son, who has remained at home, and is now indignant and protests because he does not understand and does not share all that goodness towards his brother because he was wrong. The father comes out also to meet this child and reminds him that they were always together, they share everything (v. 31), but you have to welcome the brother who has finally returned home with joy. And this makes me think of one thing: when one feels sinful, you feel really small, some people have said to me ‘Father, I'm a dirty ...'. However when one feels right, 'I have always done things right', there too the Father is looking for you, because that attitude is wrong, it comes from the devil, it is pride. The Father awaits sinners but goes in search of those who feel themselves to be right. "

In this parable, "you can also see a third child, hiding! The one who “did not consider it a privilege to be like [the Father], but emptied himself, taking on the conditions of a slave" (Phil 2,6-7). This Son-Servant is Jesus, he is the extension of the arms and heart of the Father: He welcomed the prodigal son and washed his dirty feet; He prepared the banquet for the feast of forgiveness. He, Jesus, teaches us to be 'merciful as the Father'. The figure of the father in the parable reveals the heart of God. He is the Merciful Father who in Jesus loves us beyond all measure, always awaits our conversion every time we do wrong. He awaits our return when we turn away from him thinking he can do without Him. He is always willing to open up his arms whatever happens. Like the Father of the Gospel, God also continues to look for His children when we are lost, and comes to us with tenderness when we return to Him. He speaks to us with so much goodness, when we believe to be just. The errors we commit, even if great, do not even graze the fidelity of His love. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we can always start out afresh: He welcomes us, gives us the dignity of His children. He tells us go forward, you are at peace, get up! Go ahead!".

After the Marian prayer, the Pope said: "Dear brothers and sisters, I express my closeness to the Missionaries of Charity for the great loss they suffered two days ago with the killing of four sisters in Aden, Yemen, where they cared for elderly citizens. I pray for them and for the other people killed in the attack, and for their family members. These are the martyrs of today. They are not the cover story of newspapers, they are not in the news. They have given their blood for the Church. They are victims of the attack, of those who killed them and even of indifference, of this globalization of indifference, according to which “nothing matters”... May Mother Teresa in heaven accompany her martyred daughters of charity, and intercede for peace and sacred respect for human life".

As a concrete sign of commitment to peace and life, Francis concluded, "I would like to mention and express admiration for the initiative of humanitarian corridors for refugees, launched recently in Italy. This pilot project, which combines solidarity and security, allows us to help people fleeing war and violence, like the hundreds of refugees who have already fled to Italy, including sick children, disabled people, war widows with children and seniors. I also welcome this initiative because it is ecumenical, being supported by the Community of Sant'Egidio, Federation of Italian Evangelical Churches, Waldensian and Methodist Churches. " After the customary greetings, the Pope asked "please remember in prayer my staff and I, as from tonight until Friday, we will be on retreat. I wish you all a good Sunday. Have a good lunch and goodbye!".

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