02/07/2021, 13.49
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Pope: bearing witness to God's healing tenderness, and a silent prayer for Myanmar

“[F]rom the very beginning, Jesus shows his predilection for people suffering,” said Francis. For the Church, “Taking care of the sick [. . .] is an integral part of her mission”. Underage migrants should have access to privileged channels. The pontiff also expressed concern for Italy’s demographic winter, and mentioned the International Day against Human Trafficking.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis ended his reflection before today’s Angelus with a prayer. In it he said: “let ourselves be healed by Jesus [. . .] so that we might in our turn be witnesses to God’s healing tenderness.” Right after, he expressed “solidarity with the people of Myanmar”, urging everyone to pray in silence.

Pope Francis spoke from the window of the study in the Apostolic Palace. About a hundred people stood in St Peter’s Square. For a long time, due to the pandemic, the pope recited the Angelus in the library of the Apostolic Palace.

Today's Marian prayer took place a few days before the World Day of the Sick, established by Saint John Paul II in 1992, which is celebrated on 11 February, the memorial of the Virgin of Lourdes.

Following today's Gospel (Mark 1:29-39), about the first healings of Jesus (Peter's mother-in-law and many sick people in Capernaum), the pontiff stressed: “Thus, from the very beginning, Jesus shows his predilection for people suffering in body and in spirit: it is the Father’s predilection, which he incarnates and manifests with works and words. His disciples were eyewitnesses to this. But Jesus did not want just spectators to his mission: he involved them; he sent them; he also gave them the power to heal the sick and cast out demons”.

“Taking care of the sick of every kind is not an ‘optional activity’ for the Church, something extra, no. It is an integral part of her mission, as it was of Jesus’: to bring God’s tenderness to a suffering humanity.”

Then referring to the pandemic situation today and the first reading of the Mass, from the Book of Job (7:1-4.6-7), he said that “Job [. . .] is once again the interpreter our human condition, so lofty in dignity and at the same time so fragile. In the face of this reality, the question ‘why?’ always arises in the heart.”

The answer is “Jesus, the Word Incarnate, answers this question not with an explanation, but with a presence of love which bends down, which takes by the hand and lifts up, as he did with Peter’s mother-in-law (cf. Mk 1:31). The Son of God manifests his Lordship not ‘from top to bottom’, not from a distance, but in closeness, in tenderness, in compassion.”

Such “compassion is deeply rooted in the intimate relationship with the Father: before daybreak and after sundown, Jesus withdrew and remained alone to pray (v. 35).”

After the Marian prayer, Francis expressed his “deep concern” for the situation in Myanmar where a military coup took place recently. The Pope said that he holds that country, which he visited in 2017, “in his heart with a lot of affection”.

After expressing “spiritual closeness”, prayer and “solidarity with the people of Myanmar”, he asked “those with responsibilities” to put themselves “at the service of the common good and national harmony”. Right afterwards he invited those present to recite a silent prayer.

After making an appeal on behalf of underage migrant, so that these “fragile and defenseless people may not lack the help of preferential channels”, the pontiff noted that today is the Day of Life in Italy, whose theme this year is “Freedom and Life”.

The pontiff expressed his support for Italian bishops, and touched another issue that concerns him. “In Italy,” he said, “births have dropped and the future is in danger. Let's seize this concern and try to end this demographic winter. May a new spring for boys and girls blossom.”

Lastly, Francis mentioned that tomorrow, the memorial of Saint Josephina Bakhita, is also the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.

For this occasion, the pontiff expressed hope that the economy “does not even indirectly favour that terrible trafficking”, and reiterated that human beings, people, must be considered “as an end, not as a means, a commodity”.

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