Monday, January 28, 2008

The Pope's Sunday Angelus

This is the translated text of Yesterdays Angelus by Pope Benedict. Thanks again to the Ratzinger Forum. I do enjoy this one. He touches on themes that were in his latest book. Especially as the word Gospel. In his book Pope Benedict made the point that there was some irony in this. many times the "Gospel" of the Emperors were not very good news at all

Dear brothers and sisters,

In today's liturgy, the evangelist Matthew, who will accompany us throughout this liturgical year, presents the start of Christ's public miistry. It consisted essentially of preaching the Kingdom of God and the healing of the sick, showing that this Kingdom was brought close, or rather, that it had come into our midst. Jesus started to preach in Galilee, the region where he grew up, a 'peripheral' territory with respect to the center of the Jewish nation, which was Judea, where Jerusalem is located.

But the prophet Isaiah had pre-anounced that Galilee, the land assigned to the tribe of Zebulon and Naphthali, would have a glorious future: the people immersed in shadows would see a great light (cfr Is 8,23-9,1), the light of Christ and his Gospel (cfr Mt 4,12-16). The term "Gospel", at the time of Jesus, was used by the Roman emperors for their proclamations. Independent of content, they were defined as "good news", that is, an announcement of salvation, brcause the emperor was considered the lord of the world, and every word of his, a harbinger of something good.

To apply this word to the preaching of Jesus therefore had a strongly critical sense, as if to say: God, not the emperor, is the Lord of the world, and the true Gospel is that of Jesus Christ. The 'good news' that Jesus proclaimed may be summarized in these words: "The kingdom of God - or the kingdopm of the heavens - is near" (Mt 4,17; Mk 1,15). What does this mean? It certainly does not indicate an earthly terrain delimited in space and time, but it announces that it is God who reigns, it is God who is the Lord, and his lordship is present, actual, is being realized.

The novelty of Christ's message therefore was that in him God came to us, he reigns in our midst, as shown by the miracles and healings he performed. God reigns in the world through his Son made man, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, who is 'the finger of God' (cfr Lk 11,20). Where Jesus is, the creator Spirit brings life, and men are healed of their ailments in the body and the spirit. God's lordship is manifested in the integral healing of man.

This way, Jesus wanted to reveal the true face of God, the God who is near, full of mercy for every human being; the God who gives us the gift of life in abundance, of his own life. The Kingdom of God is life which affirms itself over death, the light of truth that disperses the shadows of ignorance and lies. Let us pray to the Most Holy Mother so that she may obtain for the Church the same passion for the Kingdom of God that animated the mission of Jesus Christ: passion for God, for his lordship of love and life; passion for our fellowman, whom we encounter in truth with the desire of giving him the most precious treasure: the love of God, his Creator and Father.

After the Angelus prayers, he had these special messages:

I greet with great affection the children and youth of the Catholic Action of Rome who are here today, as they are every year, after the Mass for Peace, accompanied by the Cardinal Vicar, their parents and teachers. Two of them are here with me. They have presented me with a message, and shortly, they will help me to release two doves, symbols of peace. My dear young friends, I know that you are committed in behalf of other people your age who suffer because of war and poverty. Continue along the way that Jesus has shown us to cnstruct true peace.

Today is also the World Day for Lepers, an observance started 55 years ago by Raoul Follereau. To all who suffer from this illness, I extend my affectionate greeting, assuring you of special prayers, which I extend to those who, in various ways, are engaged alongside them, particularly to the volunteers of the Friends of Raoul Follereau Association. Last Monday, January 21, I addressed a letter to the Diocese and City of Rome on the urgent task of education. In that way, I wish to offer my particular contribution to the formation of new generations, a difficult and crucial task for the future of our city.

On Saturday, Febr. 23, I shall have a special audience at the Vatican for all those who, as educators or as children, adolescents and youths in formation, are the most direct participants in this great educative challenge, and I will symbolically present them with my letter.

To English-speaking pilgrims, he said:

I greet all the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Angelus.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, we hear how Jesus called his first apostles. At once they left everything and followed him. We too are called to be disciples of Jesus. Let us be ready to offer ourselves generously and whole-heartedly in his service. Upon all of you here today, and upon your families and loved ones at home, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.

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