Sunday, February 10, 2013

Failures and difficulties should not discourage from announcing the Gospel, pope says

"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 mission."

"Peter's experience, 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 and renews."

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