Here is a ZENIT working translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Before the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today’s Gospel (Lk 12: 13-21) opens with the scene of someone who rises in the crowd and asks Jesus to settle a juridical question about a family inheritance. But Jesus does not address the question, in His answer, and urges us to stay away from greed, that is, from the greed of possession. To distract His listeners from this frantic search for wealth, Jesus tells the parable of a rich fool who feels secure due to having had an exceptional year and having accumulated assets. It would be a good idea for you to read it today; it is in the Twelfth Chapter of St. Luke, Verse 13. It is a beautiful parable that teaches us a great deal. The story comes to life when the contrast between what the rich person plans for himself and what God promises him, emerges. The rich man places three considerations before his soul, before himself: the many goods accumulated, the many years that these goods seem to assure him, tranquility and well-being. Yet, the word God addressed to him, erases his projects. Instead of the many years, God indicates the immediacy of “tonight; you will die tonight”; in the place of the “enjoyment of life,” he is presented with “rendering of life; you will render your life to God”, with the consequent judgment. The rich man begins to discover for himself the sarcasm that can be found in the phrase of verse 20. We consider the questions raised by the sarcasm: “And what did they inherit; many family struggles. And so many people, we all know some stories, which at the hour of death, begin: the grandchildren, the grandchildren come to see: “But what is my portion?”, and take everything away. It is in this juxtaposition, that the appeal of “fool,” is justified because he thinks of things that he considers to be concrete, but are a fantasy. God therefore addresses him as such, as he has in a sense denied God, not coming to terms with Him yet.
The conclusion of the parable, formulated by the Evangelist, is of singular efficacy: “Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” (v.21). It is a warning that reveals the horizon towards which we are all called to look. Material goods are necessary – they are goods! “, but I am to live honestly, and in sharing with others, Jesus today, who is the one who accumulates treasures for the heavens. Saint Paul also reminds us of this in the Second Reading. He says: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth..”(Col 3:1-2). This seeking what is above, he understands does not mean to alienate oneself from reality, but to look for things that have their true value: justice, solidarity, welcome, fraternity, peace, all those things that constitute human dignity. It is about living not according to world values, but evangelical ones: to love God with our whole being, and love your neighbor as Jesus loved him, that is, in service and in the gift of self. The greed for goods, the desire to have goods, does not satisfy the heart, rather it provokes more hunger! Greed is like those good candies, as it causes you to say: “Ah! How good”, and then take another one, and then another one. Greed is like candies. It never satisfies you. Be careful. Love, true and lived, is the source of real happiness, whereas the unbalanced search for wealth and possessions is often a source of disturbance, prevarication, of wars. Many wars begin because of greed.
May the Virgin Mary help us not to be fascinated by the ‘securities’ that pass, but to be every day, credible witnesses of the eternal values of the Gospel.
[Working translation by ZENIT’s Deborah Castellano Lubov]
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, I am spiritually close to the victims of the episodes of violence that in these regions have bloodied Texas, California and Ohio, in the United States, striking defenseless people. Offering my prayers for those who have lost their lives, for the wounded and their families…
Hail Mary ...
One hundred and sixty years ago, like today, Saintly Curé d’Ars died, a model of goodness and charity for all priests. I ask the world to encourage them in fidelity to the mission to which the Lord has called them. On this significant anniversary,May the witness of this humble parish priest, totally dedicated to his people, help to rediscover the beauty and importance of the ministerial priesthood in contemporary society.
I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from various countries: families, associations, individual faithful. Today, there are several groups of children and young people. I greet you with great affection! There are American universities in New Mexico and Nebraska; a youth pastoral group of Verona; young people of Ponte di Brenta, Entratico, Cerese; the Seminarians of the Minor Seminary of Bergamo.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!
[Working translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]
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