Source: Vatican News
During his Angelus reflection on the readings from Sunday's Mass, Pope Francis told pilgrims in St Peter's Square the Gospel account of Jesus walking on the water "is a call to abandon ourselves trustingly to God in every moment of our life, especially in moments of trial and fear."
The Gospel tells how Jesus, walking on the water in the midst of a storm, calls Peter to come to him on the water. Peter takes a few steps, but becomes frightened and begins to sink. He calls to Jesus, "Lord, save me!" and "Jesus grasps him by the hand and says to him, 'O man of little faith, why did you doubt'."
Pope Francis said, "When we have strong feelings of doubt and fear and we seem to be sinking, we must not be ashamed to cry out, like Peter: 'Lord, save me'."
Pope Francis said that this prayer is like knocking on God's heart and Jesus's heart. "We can repeat it many times," he said.
The Pope then invited us to contemplate Jesus's action: "Jesus is the Father's hand, who never abandons us, the strong and faithful hand of the Father, who always and only wants what is good for us."
God, the Pope said, recalling the Old Testament reading, is not in "the hurricane, the fire, the earthquake," but rather comes to us in "the light breeze, that never imposes itself, but asks to be heard."
The Pope reminded us that God knows how weak our faith is, and how difficult our journey is. "But He is the Risen One, the Lord who went through death in order to lead us back to safety. Even before we begin to seek Him, He is present beside us."
"Maybe in the dark, we cry out: 'Lord, Lord!' thinking He is far away. And He says, 'I am here.' Ah, He was with me! That is the Lord."
In the Gospel story, the Pope said, "the boat at the mercy of the storm is the image of the Church, which in every age encounters headwinds, very harsh trials at times." He noted in particular "certain long and persistent persecutions" in the twentieth century, and added "and even today in certain places."
In such times, he continued, the Church "may be tempted to think God has abandoned her." However, he said, "it is precisely in those moments that the witness of faith, the witness of love, the witness of hope shines the most."
The "presence of the Risen Christ in His Church gives the grace of witness unto martyrdom, from which buds new Christians and fruit of reconciliation and peace for the entire world."
Introducing the Angelus, the Holy Father invoked the Blessed Virgin, praying, "May the intercession of Mary Most Holy help us to persevere in faith and fraternal love when the darkness and storms of life place our trust in God in crisis."
After the Angelus, Pope Francis called on the Church in Lebanon to continue to be close to their people, and appeals for "generous aid" from the international community.
"In these days my thoughts often turn to Lebanon," he said. In the wake of the devastating explosion that rocked Beirut last week, the Holy Father said, "Last Tuesday's catastrophe calls everyone, beginning with the Lebanese people, to work together for the common good of this beloved country."
The Pope noted Lebanon's "particular identity", which "has emerged over the course of time as a model of living together."
Acknowledging the fragility of coexistence in the country at this time, Pope Francis said he was nonetheless praying "that, with God's help, and everyone's genuine participation, Lebanon may be reborn free and strong."
In particular, the Holy Father invited the Church in Lebanon, "to be close to the people on their Calvary, as she has been doing in these days, with solidarity and compassion, with heart and hands open to sharing." He made an emotional appeal to the "bishops, priests and religious of Lebanon to be close to the people and to live a style of life marked by evangelical poverty, without luxury, because your people are suffering, suffering a lot."
He also renewed his appeals to the international community to contribute "generous aid" to Lebanon in this time of national tragedy.
Noting that it was the 75th anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Japan, Pope Francis then once again called "for prayer and commitment to a world completely free of nuclear weapons."
The Holy Father has repeatedly called for nuclear disarmament and the elimination of stockpiles of nuclear weapons, notably during his visit in 2019 to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which he recalled on Sunday "with deep emotion and gratitude."
Last year at Hiroshima, paying homage to victims and acknowledging the strength and dignity of survivors, Pope Francis said: "We continue even today to hear the cries of those who are no longer. They came from different places, had different names, and some spoke different languages. Yet all were united in the same fate, in a terrifying hour that left its mark forever not only on the history of this country, but on the face of humanity."
At the time, the Pope repeated, "the use of atomic energy for purposes of war is today, more than ever, a crime not only against the dignity of human beings but against any possible future for our common home. The use of atomic energy for purposes of war is immoral, just as the possession of atomic weapons is immoral."
"We will be judged on this," he added.
On that same day, Pope Francis visited Nagasaki, where he reiterated his call for a world without nuclear weapons. "Convinced as I am that a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary," he said, "I ask political leaders not to forget that these weapons cannot protect us from current threats to national and international security. We need to ponder the catastrophic impact of their deployment, especially from a humanitarian and environmental standpoint, and reject heightening a climate of fear, mistrust, and hostility fomented by nuclear doctrines."
Watch the Angelus on Vatican News Youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJKeX3mwqvo
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