Dear brothers and sisters, Good Morning! The parable discourse of Jesus which groups
seven parables in the 13th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel concludes with today’s
three similar stories: the hidden treasure (v 44), the fine pearl (45-46) and
the fishing net (v. 47-48). I will pause on the first two [parables] which
highlight the protagonists’ decision to sell everything in order to obtain what
they found. The first case has to do with a farmer who casually runs into a
hidden treasure in the field he is working. As the field is not his
property, he must purchase it in order
to take possession of the treasure: he therefore decides to risk all his
possessions so as not to lose that truly exceptional opportunity. In the second
case, we find a merchant of precious pearls; as an expert, he has spotted a
pearl of great value. He too decides to wager everything on that pearl, to such
an extent, as to sell all his other ones. These similar [stories] highlight two
characteristics regarding possession of the Kingdom of God: the search and
sacrifice. It is true that the Kingdom of God is offered to all — it is a gift,
it is a present, it is a grace — but it is not available on a silver platter:
it requires dynamism: it is about searching, trying to walk, working hard. The
attitude of searching is the essential condition for finding. The heart must
burn with the desire to reach the precious good, that is, the Kingdom of God
which is made present in the person of Jesus. He is the hidden treasure; he is
the pearl of great value. He is the fundamental discovery who can make a
decisive change in our lives, filling it with meaning. Faced with the unexpected search, both the
farmer and the merchant realize that they are before a unique opportunity which
should not be missed, hence, they sell all they own. The evaluation of the
inestimable value of the treasure brings
to a decision that also implies sacrifice, detachment and surrender.
When the treasure and the pearl are discovered. that is, when we have found the
Lord, it is necessary not to let this discovery become sterile, but rather to
sacrifice every other thing to it. It is not a question of disliking everything
else but to place it subordinately to Jesus, putting him in first place; Grace
in first place. The disciple of Christ is not someone who has deprived himself
of something that is essential; he is someone who has found much more: he has
found the complete joy that only the Lord can give. It is the evangelical joy
of the sick who have healed; of the pardoned sinners, of the thief for whom the
doors of heaven open. The joy of the Gospel fills the heart and
the entire life of those who encounter Jesus. Those who allow themselves to be
saved by Him are freed from sin, sadness, inner emptiness and isolation. With
Jesus Christ, joy is always born and reborn (cf. Apo. Exhort Evangelii
gaudium , 1). Today we are called to
contemplate the joy of the farmer and the merchant in the parables. It is the
joy of each of us when we discover the closeness and the comforting presence of
Jesus in our lives. A presence which transforms the heart and opens us to the
needs and the welcome of our brothers, especially the weaker ones. Let us pray for the intercession of the
Virgin Mary so that each of us can know how to bear witness, in daily words
and gestures to the joy of having found
the treasure of the Kingdom of God, that is, the love that the Father has given
us through Jesus. After the Angelus, Dear brothers and sisters, today is World
Day against the trafficking of persons, promoted by the United Nations. Each
year thousands of men, women and children are innocent victims of work and
sexual exploitation and of organ trafficking and it seems that we have become
so accustomed to this, as to consider it a normal thing. This is ugly, it is
cruel, it is criminal! I wish to call on the commitment of all so that this
perverse plague, a form of modern slavery, may be adequately contrasted. Let us
pray together to the Virgin Mary so that she may support the victims of trafficking. Let us pray together to Our
Lady: Hail Mary…. I now extend a greeting to all the pilgrims
from Italy and from various countries, in particular the Murialdine Sisters of
Saint Joseph, the Novices of Mary Help of Christians, altar servers from
various Italian parishes and the Italian Hockey Club Femenino from
Buenos Aires. I wish you all a Happy Sundayand please do
not forget to pray for me. Have a good Lunch and Arrivederci!…
(Vatican Radio) Ahead of the Sunday Angelus prayer with pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis shared a reflection on two of the three parables from the 13 th chapter of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew , which were read during Mass on Sunday.
Click below to hear our report
Focusing exclusively on the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price , the Holy Father said, “This day, we are exhorted to contemplate the joy of the farmer,” who sells all he has in order to purchase the field wherein he had hidden the treasure he discovered, “and of the merchant,” who sells all he had in order to purchase the pearl of great price.
“It is the joy of each of us when we discover the closeness and consoling presence of Jesus in our lives,” he said.
“A presence,” Pope Francis went on to say, “that transforms the heart and opens us to [meet] the needs and to welcome our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest ones.”
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis called for increased efforts to end human trafficking on Sunday. The Holy Father’s appeal came in remarks following the Angelus prayer with pilgrims and tourists gathered in St. Peter’s Square, on the 17 th Sunday in Ordinary Time and the World Day against Trafficking in Persons , sponsored by the United Nations .
“Each year,” said Pope Francis, “thousands of men, women and children are innocent victims of sexual and organ trafficking, and it seems that we are so accustomed to seeing it as a normal thing.”
Click below to hear our report
The Holy Father went on to say, “This is ugly, it is cruel, it is criminal.” He called human trafficking , “an aberrant plague,” and, “a modern form of slavery ,” renewing his appeal for universal commitment to ending the practice.
Pope Francis concluded his appeal by leading everyone present in the recitation of the Hail Mary for the intention of ending human trafficking.
Below, please find the full text of Pope Francis’ appeal, in our English translation
Today is the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, promoted by the United Nations. Each year, thousands of men, women and children are innocent victims of sexual and organ trafficking, and it seems that we are so accustomed to seeing it as a normal thing. This is ugly, it is cruel, it is criminal! I would like to draw on everyone’s commitment to make this aberrant plague, a modern form of slavery, adequately countered. Let us pray together the Virgin Mary to support the victims of trafficking and to convert the hearts of traffickers.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) The biggest event of the Asian Catholic Church this year, is taking place in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia, next week. The 7th Asian Youth Day (AYD7) is being hosted by the Archdiocese of Semarang, August 2-6, with over 2000 young people from 21 Asian countries rallying around the theme, “Joyful Asian Youth: Living the Gospel in Multicultural Asia!” The continent-level event has been held in various Asian cities since 1999 in intervals of 2, 3 and 5 years, with the last AYD in Daejeon Diocese in Korea in 2014, in which Pope Francis participated.
Organizers have divided the entire AYD into three events spread across 11 days from July 30 to August 9 . On arrival, the participants will head to the 11 of Indonesia’s 37 dioceses who will be hosting them from July 30 to August 2 in what is called Days in the Dioceses (DID). All the participants will then converge in Yogyakarta from August 2 to 6 for the central event of the AYD7 . The 5 days will include a variety of activities such as adoration, confession, Mass, reflections, testimonies, workshops, group sharing, country exhibits and cultural performances. After the main event, the Asian Youth Ministers will stay back for a meeting, August 6 to 9.
Among the 21 countries participating in the AYD is also the Philippines. To know about it, we called Fr. Conegundo Garganta, the executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. Speaking to us on the phone from Manila Fr. Garganta first talked about the Philippine youth delegation to the Asian Youth Day.
Fr. Garganta said that 69 young people have been officially registered with the AYD7 but with bishops and youth ministers accompanying them, the entire delegation has 82 members.
The young people will first head to the Indonesian dioceses of Bogor and Jakarta for the Days in the Diocese (DID). The young people have been preparing for the event following the pre-event modules of the AYD, that recommend reflecting and meditating on the suggested scripture passages, visiting churches, talking to priests, visiting non-Christian families and communities etc.
Philippine contribution to AYD
Fr. Garganta also talked about the contribution that the Philippine young people will be brining to the AYD. He talked about the warmth and friendship of the Filipino people, particularly visible in their smiles, and their strong faith. They would also display the “multi-culturality” of the Philippines, where there are minority and tribal groups and followers of other faiths, “but still people are able to blend well.”
The executive secretary of the Philippine Episcopal Commission on Youth sent a message to Filipinos abroad assuring them that despite numerous challenges and struggles, as in many countries, the faith of the Philippine people was leading them to hope and to continue working for peace . The Church regards the young not merely as hope for the future but much more for the present. Fr. Garganta urged the country, the Church and the government, also of other countries, to “ really invest in the young people” , because they provide “new perspectives in ways of looking at life…” which promote solidarity, unity, friendship, and understanding.
(from Vatican Radio)…