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Day: July 31, 2017

At the Angelus a new appeal by the Pope – Against modern slavery

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!…