(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St Peter’s Square on Sunday. In remarks to the faithful ahead of the traditional prayer of Marian devotion, the Holy Father reflected on the Gospel reading for this Sunday, August 30, the 22 nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, taken from the 7 th Chapter of the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark. The reading recounts the questions certain Scribes and Pharisees put to Our Lord, regarding His and the disciples’ observance of certain long-standing customs – or their lack of observance – specifically concerning practices associated with ritual purity.
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“The literal observance of precepts,” explained Pope Francis, “will be fruitless if [said observance] does not change the heart and does not translate into concrete attitudes: opening oneself to encounter with God and His Word in prayer; to seeking justice and peace; to assisting the poor, the weak, the oppressed.” The Holy Father went on to say, “We all know, in our communities, in our parishes, in our neighborhoods, how much harm do people do to the Church, how much scandal do they give, who say they are Catholic and very often go to church, but later, in their daily lives, neglect the family, speak ill of others and so on. This is what Jesus condemned, for this is a Christian counter-witness.”
“The border between good and evil passes not outside of us but within us,” Pope Francis continued. “We can ask ourselves: ‘where is my heart?’ Jesus said, ‘Where your treasure is, there is your heart.’ So, what is my treasure? Is it Jesus, is it His doctrine? Then the heart is good. Or is the treasure something else?” The Holy Father went on to explain that the heart, insofar as it loves that, which is not Christ and His doctrine, must be purified and converted. “Without a purified heart,” he said, “you cannot have truly clean hands and lips that speak sincere words of love.” Pope Francis said, “This only the sincere and purified heart can do.”
The Holy Father concluded his remarks ahead of the Angelus by asking the Lord, through the intercession of the Holy Virgin, to give us a clean heart, a heart free from hypocrisy so that we are able to live according to the spirit of the law and to achieve the law’s true purpose, which is perfection of charity.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis issued a twofold appeal on Sunday: for persecuted Christians and for all persons forced to flee their homes in search of a peaceful and secure existence in foreign lands. Recalling the beatification on Saturday in Harissa, Lebanon, of the martyred Syrian Catholic Bishop Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī , Eparch of Gazarta – or what is Cizre in modern-day Turkey, who was killed in Gazarta during the sayfo or “putting to the sword” of Syrians in 1915, after he refused to convert to Islam, Pope Francis said, “Even today, in the Middle East and other parts of the world, Christians are persecuted,” and expressed the hope that the beatification of this Bishop Martyr might instill in them consolation, courage and hope. The Holy Father went on to say, “Let it also be a stimulus to legislators and government leaders to guarantee religious freedom everywhere, and to the international community to put an end to the violence and oppression.”
Pope Francis also asked the faithful to pray especially for the migrants, who have lost their lives while in flight from situations of persecution, instability, and even social and economic failure, in search of a better life. Promising continued prayers of his own as well for all the victims, the Pope joined himself especially to the prayers of the Church in Austria – represented at the Angelus by the Cardinal-Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn – for the seventy-one people who perished inside a truck found on the side of the highway connecting Vienna and Budapest this past week. “We entrust each of them to the mercy of God,” said Pope Francis, “and we ask Him to help us to work together effectively to prevent these crimes, which offend the entire human family.”
Below, please find Vatican Radio’s translation of the full text of the Holy Father’s appeals
Dear brothers and sisters,
[Saturday], in Harissa, Lebanon, the Syrian Catholic Bishop Flavyānus Mikhayil Melkī, martyr. In the context of a terrible persecution of Christians, he was a tireless defender of the rights of his people, urging all to remain firm in the faith. Even today, dear brothers and sisters, in the Middle East and other parts of the world, Christians are persecuted. There are more martyrs [in this day and age] than there were in the first centuries [of the Church]. May the beatification of this Bishop-martyr instill in them consolation, courage and hope. Let it also be a stimulus to legislators and government leaders to insure religious freedom everywhere; and to the international community to put an end to violence and oppression.
Unfortunately, in recent days many migrants have lost their lives in their terrible travel. For all these brothers and sisters, I pray and ask you to pray. In particular, I join Cardinal Schönborn – who is here today – and the whole Church in Austria in prayer for the seventy-one people, including four children, found in a truck on the Vienna-Budapest highway. We entrust each of them to the mercy of God; and we ask Him to help us to work together effectively to prevent these crimes, which offend the entire human family.
(from Vatican Radio)…