"All the areas of human life are the soil on which to cast the Gospel seeds, so they may bear the fruit of salvation" concluded Pope Francis reflection on the Sunday Gospel today (3rd for year A, Matthew 4; 12-23) together with the pilgrims gathered in St Peter's square to pray the Angelus.
After the Marian prayer, the pontiff also wished a happy New
Year to "millions of men and women" in the Far East who "are preparing
to celebrate the Lunar New Year on January 28".
Commenting on the Gospel, Francis focused on the place where Jesus'
preaching mission began: the "Galilee of the Gentiles”. "Jerusalem, its
capital, - he said – saw that land as geographically peripheral and
religiously impure, for mixing with those who did not belong to Israel.
Certainly, great things for the history of salvation were not expected
to come from Galilee. And yet it was from there that “the light on which
we have reflected over the past few Sundays spread: the light of
He then pointed out the difference between the method of the Baptist
and that of Jesus: "What differentiates from Jesus John the Baptist is
the style and method. Jesus chooses to be a traveling prophet. He does
not wait for the people, but he goes out to meet them. "
Recalling the call of the first disciples (the brothers, Peter and
Andrew, James and John) and their prompt response, he concluded: "We,
Christians of today, we have the joy of proclaiming and witnessing to
our faith because of that first proclamation, because of those humble
and courageous men who responded generously to the call of Jesus. On the
banks of the lake, in an unthinkable land, the first community of
disciples of Christ was born. May awareness of these beginnings will
inspire in us a desire to bring the word, love and tenderness of Jesus
to all contexts, even the most impervious and resistant. All areas of
human life are the soil on which to cast the seeds of the Gospel, so
they may bear the fruit of salvation".
After the Angelus, Francis began by noting that as per tradition, on
January 25 he will travel of the basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls
for the celebration of vespers together with representatives of other
Christian confessions to end the Week of Christian Unity. This year’s
theme is "an expression, taken from St. Paul, who shows us the path to
follow: 'The love of Christ impels us to reconciliation' (cf. 2 Cor
5:14). Next Wednesday will conclude the Week of Prayer with the
celebration of Vespers in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls,
with the participation of the brothers and sisters of other Churches and
Christian communities present in Rome. I invite you to persevere in
prayer, so as to fulfill the desire of Jesus: "That all may be one" (Jn
He then expressed his closeness to the people of Abruzzo, Marche and
Lazio hit in recent days by new tremors and heavy snowfalls that have
killed more people and hampered rescues. "I am close - said the Pope –
in prayer and affection to families with loved ones who are victims. I
encourage all those engaged generously in the relief and assistance
efforts; as well as the local Churches, who are working to alleviate the
suffering and difficulties. Thank you so much for your closeness, for
your work and concrete help. And I invite you to pray to the Virgin for
the victims and for those who are working in any kind of distress: Hail
A few days before the start of the Year of the Rooster (according to
the lunar calendar used by China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, etc
...), Francis expressed his best wishes, saying: "In the Far East and in
various parts of world, millions of men and women are preparing to
celebrate the lunar New Year on January 28. My cordial greeting to all
their families, with the hope that they increasingly become a school
where of respect for each other, to communicate and to care for each
other unselfishly. May the joy of love spread within families and
radiate throughout society".