"Failures and difficulties should not discourage" announcing the Gospel with "courage, confidence and élan," said Benedict XVI. "We must throw the nets with faith; the Lord will do the rest," he said commenting, before the Angelus, what is described in today's Gospel, namely Simon's "miraculous catch of fish" who "based on the words" of Jesus threw his nets into Lake Kinneret.
In his address to the
20,000 people gathered in St Peter's Square for the Marian prayer, the pope mentioned
two dates, Chinese New Year and the World Day of the Sick.
"Today," he said, "various
peoples in the Far East celebrate the lunar New Year. Peace, harmony and giving
thanks to Heaven are universal values celebrated on this happy occasion. Everyone
wants them in order to build their own family, society and nation. I wish these
peoples that their aspiration for a happy and prosperous life be fulfilled. A special
greeting goes to the Catholics of these countries, that they may be guided by
Christ's wisdom in this Year of Faith."
"Tomorrow, the liturgical
memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, will also be the World Day of the
Sick," the pontiff said. "A solemn celebration will take place at the Marian
shrine of Altötting, Bavaria. With my prayer and affection, I am close to all
those who are ill and I spiritually join all those who will gather at this shrine,
which is particularly dear to me."
Earlier, as he spoke
about the evangelical episode of the "miraculous catch of fish", the pope noted
that it "embodies God's calling, which is not about the quality of the elect,
but of their faith, like that of Simon who said 'at your
command I will lower the nets,' an image that encapsulates the Church's
which was certainly unique, is also representative of each apostle's Gospel calling.
He could never be discouraged in announcing Christ to all men, until the ends
of the world. However, today's text is a reflection on the priestly vocation
and consecrated life. This is God's work. Man is not the author of his own
vocation, which is the response to a divine call. Human weakness should not be
afraid if God calls. We must have confidence in his strength, which acts on our
poverty. We must always rely more on the power of his mercy, which transforms