Saint Peter's Square
Sunday, 14 January 2018
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
As in the Feast of the Epiphany and in that of the Baptism of Jesus, so too today’s Gospel passage (cf. Jn 1:35-42) proposes the theme of the manifestation of the Lord. This time it is John the Baptist who points Him out to his disciples as “the Lamb of God” (v. 36), thus inviting them to follow Him. And thus it is for us: the One whom we have contemplated in the Mystery of Christmas, we are now called to follow in daily life. Therefore, today’s Gospel passage introduces us perfectly into Ordinary Liturgical Time, a time that helps to invigorate and affirm our journey of faith in ordinary life, in a dynamic that moves between epiphany and sequela, between manifestation and vocation.
The Gospel narrative indicates the essential characteristics of the journey of faith. There is a journey of faith, and this is the journey of the disciples of all times, ours too, beginning with the question that Jesus asks the two who, urged by the Baptist, set out to follow Him: “What do you seek?” (v. 38). It is the same question that the Risen One asks Mary Magdalene on Easter morning: “Woman, whom do you seek?” (cf. Jn 20:15). Each of us, as a human being, is seeking: seeking happiness, seeking love, a good and full life. God the Father has given us all this in his Son Jesus.
In this search, the role of a true witness — of a person who first made the journey and encountered the Lord — is fundamental. In the Gospel, John the Baptist is this witness. For this reason he is able to direct the disciples toward Jesus, who engages them in a new experience, saying: “Come and see” (Jn 1:39). And those two [disciples] will never forget the beauty of that encounter, to the extent that the Evangelist even notes the time of it: “It was about the tenth hour” (ibid.). Only a personal encounter with Jesus engenders a journey of faith and of discipleship. We will be able to experience many things, to accomplish many things, to establish relationships with many people, but only the appointment with Jesus, at that hour that God knows, can give full meaning to our life and render our plans and our initiatives fruitful.
It is not enough to build an image of God based on the words that are heard; one must go in search of the divine Master and go to where he lives. The two disciples ask Jesus, “where are you staying?” (v. 38). This question has a powerful spiritual meaning: it expresses the wish to know where the Lord lives, so as to abide with him. The life of faith consists in the wish to abide in the Lord, and thus in a continuing search for the place where he lives. This means that we are called to surpass a methodical and predictable religiosity, rekindling the encounter with Jesus in prayer, in meditating on the Word of God and in practicing the Sacraments, in order to abide with him and bear fruit thanks to him, to his help, to his grace.
Seeking Jesus, encountering Jesus, following Jesus: this is the journey. Seeking Jesus, encountering Jesus, following Jesus.
May the Virgin Mary support us in this prospect of following Jesus, of going to abide where he lives, in order to listen to his Word of life, to adhere to him who takes away the sin of the world, to recover in him hope and spiritual impulse.
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, today is the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. This morning I celebrated Mass with a large group of migrants and refugees residing in the Diocese of Rome. In my Message for this Day I emphasized that migrations today are a sign of the times. “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ, who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age (Matthew 25:35-43)”.... In this regard, I wish to reaffirm that “our shared response may be articulated by four verbs” which are founded on the principles of the Doctrine of the Church: “to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate”. From now on, for pastoral reasons, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be celebrated on the second Sunday of September. The next, namely, the 105th, will be on Sunday, 8 September 2019.
Tomorrow I will set out for Chile and Peru. I ask you to accompany me with your prayers on this Apostolic Journey.
I greet all of you, people of Rome and pilgrims: families, parish groups and associations.
I address a special greeting to the Latin American community of Santa Lucia in Rome, which is celebrating 25 years since its founding. En este felíz aniversario, le pido al Señor que les colme de bendiciones para que puedan seguir dando testimonio de su fe en medio de las dificultades, alegrías, sacrificios y esperanzas de su experiencia migratoria. Gracias.
And I wish a happy Sunday to all. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!
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