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 13th chapter of the Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, which were read during Mass on Sunday.
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.”
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 17th 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.”
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.