imgresDear brothers and sisters, good morning!

This morning, with the Holy Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the family ended. I invite everyone to give thanks to God for these three weeks of intense work, animated by prayer and a spirit of true communion. It was tiring, but it was a true gift of God, which will definitely carry forward much fruit.

The word “synod” means “to walk together.” And that which we experienced was the experience of the Church on this journey, having set out especially with families of God’s holy people throughout the world. For this reason, the Word of God that comes to us today in the prophecy of Jeremiah struck me. He says this, “Behold, I will bring them back from the land of the north; I will gather them from the ends of the world, with the blind and the lame in their midst, the mothers and those with child; they shall return as an immense throng.” He says this. And the prophet adds: “They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them; I will lead them to brooks of water, on a level road, so that none shall stumble. For I am a Father to Israel” (Jm 31: 8-9).

This Word of God tells us that the first wants to walk together with us, to have a “synod” with us; it is He, our Father. His “dream,” always and forever, is to form a people, to bring them together, leading them toward the land of freedom and peace. And this people is made up of families: there is the ‘mothers and those with child’; it is a people that as they walk, send life forward, with God’s blessing.

It is a people that does not exclude the poor and the disadvantaged, but rather, includes them: ‘among them, the blind and the lame’ – says the Lord. It is a family of families, in which those who struggle are not marginalized and left behind, but manage to keep up with the others, because this people walks along with those who are ‘last’; as one does in families, and how the Lord has taught us, becoming poor with the poor, small with the smallest, and ultimately, with those who were ‘last.’ He has not done this to exclude the rich, the great, and those who could be considered ‘first,’ but because this is the only way to save them too, to save everyone, with the small, excluded and the ‘last.’

I confess that this prophecy of people on their journey, I also compared with images of refugees marching on the streets of Europe, a dramatic reality of our times. God says to them: “They departed in tears, but I will console them and guide them; I will lead them to brooks of water.” Even those families who are suffering the most, who have been uprooted from their lands, were present with us in the Synod, in our prayers and in our work, through the voices of some of their pastors present in the Assembly. These people are in search of dignity, these families looking for peace are still with us, the Church does not abandon them, because they are part of the people that God wants to free from slavery and lead to freedom.

Therefore, this Word of God reflects the experience of synodality, which we have experienced. May the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, help us also to implement the signs emerging in a style of fraternal communion.

After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,

I greet you all, the faithful of Rome and pilgrims from different countries.

In particular, I greet the Brotherhood of the Lord of Miracles of Rome, who with so much devotion brought in procession the venerated image to Lima, Peru, and wherever there are Peruvian immigrants. Thank you for your testimony!

I greet the pilgrims musicians of the “Musikverein Manhartsberg,” from the Diocese of Vienna; and the Orchestra of Landwehr, Fribourg (Switzerland), who last night held a benefit concert.

I send greetings to the Hospital Saint John Lagonegro’s volunteer association and to the group of the Diocese of Oppido- Mamertina Palmi.

I wish you all a good Sunday. And, please, do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!

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