Dear brothers and sisters,
I see that you are very brave with this heat in the Square. Good for you!
Today’s Gospel tells us that the Apostles, after their experience of the mission, are happy but also tired. And Jesus, full of understanding, wants to give them a bit of comfort; he then takes them aside, to a secluded place so that they may rest a bit (cfr. Mc 6,31). “People saw them leaving and many came to know about it… They hastened there” (v.32). At this point, the Evangelist offers us an image of Jesus of singular intensity; “photographing”, so to speak, his eyes and grasping the feelings of his heart. And the evangelist says: “When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things” (v.34).
Let us take the three verbs of this evocative frame: to see, to have compassion, to teach. We may call them the verbs of the Shepherd: to see, to have compassion, to teach. The first and the second, to see and to have compassion, are always associated with Jesus’ attitude: in fact his gaze is not the gaze of a sociologist or of a photojournalist, because he always sees with the “eyes of the heart.” These two verbs, to see and to have compassion, configure Jesus as the Good Shepherd. His compassion, is not only a human feeling, but is the emotion of Messiah in which the tenderness of God was made flesh. And from this compassion is born Jesus’ desire to nourish the crowds with the bread of his Word, that is, to teach the Word of God to the People. Jesus sees, Jesus has compassion, and Jesus teaches us. This is beautiful.
I asked the Lord that the Spirit of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, would guide me during the Apostolic Visit I made in recent days to Latin America and that allowed me to visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. I thank God with all my heart for this gift. I thank the people of the three countries for their affectionate and warm welcome and enthusiasm. And I renew my recognition of the governments of these countries for their welcome and collaboration. With great affection, I thank my brother Bishops, the priests, the consecrated people and the all the people for the warmth with which they participated. With these brothers and sisters, I praised the Lord for the wonders He has done in the People of God on the path in that land, for their faith that has animated and encourages their lives and their culture. And we also praised Him for the natural beauty which he has enriched those countries. The Latin American continent has great human and spiritual potential, they guard deeply rooted Christian values, but also live through grave social and economic problems. To contribute to their solution, the Church is committed in mobilizing the spiritual and moral forces of their communities, collaborating with the all the healthy components of society. In front of the great challenge that the announcement of the Gospel must confront, I invited them to draw from Christ the Lord the grace that saves and gives strength to the commitment of Christian witness, to develop the spread of the Word of God, so that the strong religiosity of that people can always be a faithful witness of the Gospel.
To the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, who is venerated by all of Latin America with the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I entrust the fruits of this unforgettable Apostolic Visit.
After the Angelus, the Holy Father said the following:
Dear brothers and sisters,
I cordially greet you, Romans and pilgrims. I great in particular the youth of the Diocese of Pamplona and Tudela (Spain).
I greet the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, gathered in Rome for their General Chapter; the Orchestra of Offanengo-Casalbuttano; the Choir of Vigo Cavedine (Trento); the volunteer youth of the Convent of Arco di Trento, the youth of Meana Sardo and the participants of the vacation organized by the INPS of Pomezia; the youth of Catholic Action of Mellaredo and Rivale (Padua).
I wish you all a Good Sunday. I ask that you please do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye.