"Be a disciple of Jesus, the Lamb of God" : this is the task that Pope Francis entrusted to the whole Church and Christians speaking to tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square today for the Angelus prayer.
a cue from the liturgy of the day, on the testimony of John the Baptist, who
calls Jesus "the Lamb of God," Francis explained ( and he repeated it
twice ), what it means to be disciples of the Lamb "replacing malice with innocence
, force with love, pride with humility, prestige with service".
Following the Angelus, he
recalled International Migrants Day celebrated today, and asked those present
to recite a prayer for them, thanking "all those who work with migrants, becoming
migrants themselves", in particular the Scalabrinian fathers
Pope's reflection before the Angelus was rich in theological explanations . Quoting
the words of John the Baptist ( "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away
the sin of the world " Jn 1:29) , the Pope states that " The verb
that is translated as 'take away ' , literally means 'lift' ,
'take upon oneself.' Jesus came into the world with a specific mission: to free
us from the bondage of sin , taking upon himself the sins of mankind. How? Through
love . There is no other way to overcome evil and sin if
not with the love that prompts the giving of ones life for others".
Jesus, he continued, "is the
true paschal lamb, which is immersed in the river of our sin, to cleanse us . The
Baptist sees before him a man who stands in line with sinners to be baptized,
though he does not need to. A man
that God sent into the world as a sacrificial lamb".
image of the lamb - he added - might surprise; an animal not known for its
strength and robustness takes upon its shoulders an oppressive burden. The
enormous mass of evil is removed and taken away by a weak and
fragile creature that is a symbol of obedience, docility and helpless love, which
arrives at a self- sacrifice. The lamb is not a dominator, but docile; it is not
aggressive, but peaceful; it does not bear its claws or teeth in the face of attack
puts up with it and is submissive".
And he asked: "What does it mean for the
Church, for us, today, to be disciples of Jesus the Lamb of God?". "It
means - he replied - replacing malice with innocence,
force with love, pride with humility, prestige with service. Being disciples of
the Lamb means not living as if we were
a 'besieged citadel ' , but as a city set on a mountain, open, welcoming and
supportive. It means not assume an attitude of closure, but bringing the Gospel
to all , bearing witness with our lives that following Jesus makes us freer and
Angelus, Pope Francis recalled the International Migrants Day, which this year
has the theme " Migrants and refugees: Towards a better world", which the
pontiff developed into a Message
a few months ago.
"I extend a
special greeting - he added - to the representatives of various ethnic
communities gathered here , in particular the Catholic community in Rome. Dear
friends, you are close to the heart of the Church, because the Church is a
people on a journey towards the Kingdom of God that
Jesus Christ has brought into our midst. Do not lose hope for a better future !
I hope you live in peace in countries that welcome you , keeping the values
of your culture of origin. "
At this time - he concluded - we think of so many migrants, those without
documents , without work, we think of their suffering. And we think of those
who are committed to defending them from those who Blessed Scalabrini called 'the
merchants of human flesh .'"
want to thank - added - the Congregation of St. Charles he founded, the
Scalabrini men and women religious who become migrants themselves among migrants
he asked everyone for " a prayer for migrants and refugees living in the
most serious and difficult situations".