January 17, 2021
Pope Francis reflects on the day’s Gospel during his Sunday Angelus, inviting the faithful to accept God’s call, responding to it with only love.
By Vatican News staff writer
Marking the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel of the day, which presents the meeting between Jesus and His first disciples.
Speaking from the Vatican’s Apostolic library during the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis recounted the scene, which unfolds along the Jordan River the day after Jesus’s baptism. It is John the Baptist himself, he explains, “who points out the Messiah to the two, with these words: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God!'” The two, trusting the Baptist’s testimony, follow Jesus. He realises this and asks the disciples what it is they are looking for. When asked where Jesus was staying, He responds by telling them, “Come and you will see”.
Pope Francis went on to describe this response not as a calling card, “but an invitation for an encounter”. The two follow Him and remained that afternoon with Him. “It is not difficult to imagine them seated asking Him questions and above all listening to Him, feeling their hearts enflamed ever more while the Master spoke”, said the Pope. He explained that although it is evening, “all of a sudden they discover that that light that only God can give was exploding within them”. When they leave and return to their brothers, that joy, that light overflows from their hearts like a raging river. One of the two, Andrew, says to his brother, Simon – whom Jesus will call Peter – “We have found the Messiah”.
“Let us pause a moment on this experience of meeting Christ, who calls us to remain with Him”, said the Pope. He explained that “each one of God’s calls is an initiative of His love”.
“God calls to life, He calls to faith, and He calls to a particular state in life. God’s first call is to life, through which He makes us persons; it is an individual call because God does not make things in series. Then God calls us to faith and to become part of His family as children of God. Lastly, God calls us to a particular state in life: to give of ourselves on the path of matrimony, or that of the priesthood or the consecrated life”.
These, continued the Pope, are “different ways of realising the design that God has for each one of us, which is always a design of love”. The “greates joy for every believer”, he stressed, is to respond to that call “offering one’s entire being to the service of God and the brothers and sisters”.
Concluding his reflection, Pope Francis noted that before the Lord’s call, “which reaches us in a thousand ways”, our attitude at times might be “rejection”, and at others, “fear”. “But God’s call is love and it should be responded to only with love”, said the Pope. “At the beginning there is an encounter, or rather, there is the encounter with Jesus who speaks to us of His Father, He makes His love known to us. And then the spontaneous desire will arise even in us to communicate it to the people that we love: ‘I met Love’, ‘I found the meaning of my life’. In a word: ‘I found God'”.
Finally, before reciting the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis prayed that the Virgin Mary might “help us make of our lives a hymn of praise to God in response to His call and in the humble and joyful fulfillment of His will”.