(Vatican Radio) Prayerful and practical solidarity with every family that has been forced to flee a homeland torn by strife and to seek a better future in distant lands and far-off shores: this was the promise of Pope Francis in remarks to the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square before the Angelus prayer this Sunday.
Listen to Chris Altieri's report:
Drawing on the first reading of the XXX Sunday in Ordinary Time, from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, which tells of the Lord’s promise to deliver His faithful people from captivity and restore them to liberty, Pope Francis said, “[T]his prophecy of a people on their way is one I have also confronted with the images of refugees making their way along the streets of Europe, a dramatic reality of our times. God says to them: ‘They left weeping, I shall lead them back amid consolations.’ Those families most suffering, uprooted from their land, were present with us in the Synod as well: in our prayers and in our work, through the voice of some of their pastors present at the meeting. These people in search of dignity, these families searching for peace, remain with us still: the Church does not abandon them, for they are part of the people that God desires to free from slavery and lead to freedom.”
The traditional prayer of Marian devotion followed Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, to mark the closing of the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which met in Rome over the past three weeks for prayerful reflection and discussion of the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.
In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the story recounted in the reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark, in which the Lord miraculously restores the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, to sight. The Holy Father focused on the way the story dramatizes the need for all of us in the Church to make sure that our desires are ordered to Christ, and then to be confident in approaching Him with humility as we ask Him for every blessing – even as we are mindful of all He has done for us, and desirous of sharing the Good News with those, who need it most.
“Let us follow the path that the Lord desires,” said Pope Francis. “Let us ask Him to turn to us with his healing and saving gaze, which knows how to radiate light, as it recalls the splendour which illuminates it.” The Holy Father concluded, saying, “Never allowing ourselves to be tarnished by pessimism or sin, let us seek and look upon the glory of God, which shines forth in men and women who are fully alive.”