St Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Liturgy on this Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time presents us with the subject of the divine call. In a majestic vision Isaiah finds himself in the presence of the thrice-blessed Lord and is overcome by great awe and a profound feeling of his unworthiness. But a seraph purifies his lips with a burning coal and wipes away his sin. Feeling ready to respond to God's call, he exclaims: "Here I am, Lord. Command me!" (cf. Isaiah 6:1-2; 3-8). The same succession of sentiments is presented in the episode of the miraculous catch of which today's Gospel passage speaks. Asked by Jesus to cast their nets although they had caught nothing during the night, trusting in his word, Simon Peter and the other disciples obtain a superabundant catch. In the face of this miracle Simon Peter does not throw his arms around Jesus to express his joy at the unexpected catch. Rather, as the Evangelist Luke recounts, he falls to his knees saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man O Lord". Jesus, therefore, reassures him: "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men" (cf. Luke 5:10); and leaving everything, he followed him.
In this Year for Priests, let us pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send labourers into his harvest. Let us also pray that all who hear the Lord's invitation to follow him may be able after due discernment to respond to him generously, not trusting in their own strength but opening themselves to the action of his grace. I ask all priests in particular to revive their generous availability to respond every day to the Lord's call with the same humility and faith as Isaiah, Peter and Paul.
Let us entrust all vocations to the Blessed Virgin, especially vocations to the religious and priestly life. May Mary inspire in each one the desire to pronounce his or her own "yes" to the Lord with joy and total dedication.
After the Angelus the Pope said:
Today the Church in Italy is observing the Day for Life on the theme: "The Power of Life, a Challenge in Poverty". In the present period of financial difficulty the mechanisms that harm and offend life, targeting in particular the weakest and the most defenseless people by producing poverty and creating strong social inequalities, are becoming even more dramatic.
This situation thus engages us to encourage integral human development to surmount poverty and neediness and, especially, reminds us that the human goal is not wellbeing but God himself, and that human life must be defended at every stage.
Indeed, no one is master of his own life. Rather we are all called to treasure life and to respect it from the moment of conception to its natural end.
As I express my appreciation of those who work more directly at the service of children, the sick and the elderly, I greet affectionately the many faithful of Rome who are gathered here, led by the Cardinal Vicar and by several Auxiliary Bishops.
The Diocese of Rome pays special attention to the Day for Life and extends it in the Week for Life and for the Family. I wish this initiative success and encourage the activities of the consultants, associations and movements, as well as of the university professors who are committed to supporting life and the family.
In this context, I would like to remind you that in the morning of 11 February, the Memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes and the World Day of the Sick, I shall celebrate Mass with the sick at St Peter's Basilica.
I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Angelus. In the Liturgy of today, the Gospel invites us, like the Apostles, to "put out into the deep", that is, to be brave and zealous in our following Jesus by being obedient to his will. Like St Peter on the Lake of Gennesaret, we will discover that fidelity to the Lord leads to a deeper relationship with God and opens us to his gifts.
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.
11 February 2013
1 [For the choirmaster Of David When the prophet Nathan had come to him because he had gone to Bathsheba] Have mercy on me, O God, in your faithful love, in your great tenderness wipe away my offences;
2 wash me clean from my guilt, purify me from my sin.
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in mind.
4 Against you, you alone, I have sinned, I have done what you see to be wrong, that you may show your saving justice when you pass sentence, and your victory may appear when you give judgement,
5 remember, I was born guilty, a sinner from the moment of conception.
6 But you delight in sincerity of heart, and in secret you teach me wisdom.
7 Purify me with hyssop till I am clean, wash me till I am whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear the sound of joy and gladness, and the bones you have crushed will dance.
9 Turn away your face from my sins, and wipe away all my guilt.
10 God, create in me a clean heart, renew within me a resolute spirit,
11 do not thrust me away from your presence, do not take away from me your spirit of holiness.
12 Give me back the joy of your salvation, sustain in me a generous spirit.
13 I shall teach the wicked your paths, and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, God, God of my salvation, and my tongue will acclaim your saving justice.
15 Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will speak out your praise.
16 Sacrifice gives you no pleasure, burnt offering you do not desire.
17 Sacrifice to God is a broken spirit, a broken, contrite heart you never scorn.
18 In your graciousness do good to Zion, rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in upright sacrifices,-burnt offerings and whole oblations - and young bulls will be offered on your altar.
12 February 2013
Extracted from the prophet Joel 2:12-18:
‘Now, now – it is the Lord who speaks –
come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning.’
Let your hearts be broken, not your garments torn, turn to the Lord your God again,
for he is all tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in graciousness,
and ready to relent.
Who knows if he will not turn again, will not relent,
will not leave a blessing as he passes, oblation and libation for the Lord your God?
Sound the trumpet in Zion!
Order a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly,
call the people together, summon the community,
assemble the elders, gather the children, even the infants at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his bedroom and the bride her alcove.
Between vestibule and altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, lament.
Let them say,
‘Spare your people, the Lord!
Do not make your heritage a thing of shame,
a byword for the nations.
Why should it be said among the nations,
“Where is their God?”’
Then the Lord, jealous on behalf of his land, took pity on his people.