Well-acquainted with this imperviousness which confirms the proverb: “no prophet is acceptable in his own country”, to the people in the synagogue Jesus addressed words that resonate like a provocation. He cited two miracles wrought by the great prophets Elijah and Elisha for men who were not Israelites in order to demonstrate that faith is sometimes stronger outside Israel. At this point there was a unanimous reaction. All the people got to their feet and drove him away; and they even tried to push him off a precipice. However, passing through the midst of the angry mob with supreme calmness he went away. At this point it comes naturally to wonder: why ever did Jesus want to stir up this antagonism? At the outset the people admired him and he might perhaps have been able to obtain a certain consensus.... But this is exactly the point: Jesus did not come to seek the agreement of men and women but rather — as he was to say to Pilate in the end — “to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37). The true prophet does not obey others as he does God, and puts himself at the service of the truth, ready to pay in person. It is true that Jesus was a prophet of love, but love has a truth of its own. Indeed, love and truth are two names of the same reality, two names of God.
In today’s liturgy these words of St Paul also ring out: “Love is not... boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right” (1 Corinthians 13:43-6). Believing in God means giving up our own prejudices and accepting the actual face in which he revealed himself: Jesus of Nazareth the man. And this process also leads to recognizing him and to serving him in others.
On this path Mary’s attitude is enlightening. Who could be more closely acquainted than her with the humanity of Jesus? Yet she was never shocked by him as were his fellow Nazarenes. She cherished this mystery in her heart and was always and ever better able to accept it on the journey of faith, even to the night of the Cross and the full brilliance of the Resurrection. May Mary also always help us to continue faithfully and joyfully on this journey.
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, “The World Day for Life” is celebrated in Italy on the first Sunday of February. I join the Italian bishops who in their message extend the invitation to invest in life and in the family, also as an effective response to the current crisis. I greet the Pro-Life Movement, and I wish every success to the initiative called “Uno di noi” [One of Us], so that Europe may always be a place where the dignity of every human being is protected. I greet the representatives of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Rome, and especially the teachers of Obstetrics and Gynecology, accompanied by the Cardinal Vicar, and I encourage them to train health-care workers in the culture of life.
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Angelus. In the Gospel of today’s liturgy, Jesus reminds us that being a prophet is no easy task, even among those nearest to us. Let us ask the Lord to give each of us a spirit of courage and wisdom, so that in our words and actions we may proclaim the saving truth of God’s love with boldness, humility and coherence. God bless each of you!
I wish you all a good Sunday. Thank you. Have a good Sunday!
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the words of Pope Benedict XVI, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
9 February 2013
11 February 2013
Extracted from the prophet Isaiah 6:1-2,3-8:
In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord of Hosts seated on a high throne; his train filled the sanctuary; above him stood seraphs, each one with six wings.
And they cried out to one another in this way,
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts.
His glory fills the whole earth.’
The foundations of the threshold shook with the voice of the one who cried out, and the Temple was filled with smoke. I said:
‘What a wretched state I am in! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips
and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of Hosts.’
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding in his hand a live coal which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. With this he touched my mouth and said:
‘See now, this has touched your lips, your sin is taken away, your iniquity is purged.’
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:
‘Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?’
I answered, ‘Here I am, send me.’
Extracted from Psalm 138:1-5,7-8:
Before the angels I will bless you, O Lord.
I thank you, Lord, with all my heart: you have heard the words of my mouth.
In the presence of the angels I will bless you. I will adore before your holy temple.
I thank you for your faithfulness and love, which excel all we ever knew of you.
On the day I called, you answered; you increased the strength of my soul.
All earth’s kings shall thank you when they hear the words of your mouth.
They shall sing of the Lord’s ways: ‘How great is the glory of the Lord!’
You stretch out your hand and save me, your hand will do all things for me.
Your love, O Lord, is eternal, discard not the work of your hands.
Extracted from the 1st letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11:
Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you – believing anything else will not lead to anything.
Well then, in the first place, I taught you what I had been taught myself, namely that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; and that he was raised to life on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures; that he appeared first to Cephas and secondly to the Twelve. Next he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died; then he appeared to James, and then to all the apostles; and last of all he appeared to me too; it was as though I was born when no one expected it.
I am the least of the apostles; in fact, since I persecuted the Church of God, I hardly deserve the name apostle; but by God’s grace that is what I am, and the grace that he gave me has not been fruitless. On the contrary, I, or rather the grace of God that is with me, have worked harder than any of the others; but what matters is that I preach what they preach, and this is what you all believed.