(Vatican Radio) In his Angelus on Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about the words of Jesus
from the Gospel of the day: “You are the salt of the earth... you are the light of
These words “amaze us,” the Pope said, when we consider who they were addressed to. “They were fishers, simple people... But Jesus saw them with the eyes of God.” The Holy Father said these words are a consequence of the Beatitudes, which they immediately follow. If we are poor in spirit, meek, pure of heart, merciful... then we will be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Christians, he said, “receive a mission in regard to all humanity: with faith and with love they can direct, consecrate, and make fruitful all humanity.” We are all “missionary disciples, and we are called to become in the world a living Gospel.” If Christians lose their savour, if their light goes out, their presence in the world loses its efficacy. “Do you want to be burning lamps,” he asked the crowd, “or extinguished lamps?”
After the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis noted that on Tuesday the Church will celebrate the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, and will commemorate the World Day of the Sick. This, he said, is the right time to put the sick “at the centre of the community, to pray for them and with them, to be close to them.” He called on each one of us to imitate the example of the Lord, who cared for all, shared their sufferings, and opened hearts to hope.
The Holy Father also spoke about health care workers and their “precious work.” Every day, he said, they encounter sickness, not only of the fragile body, but of persons. The Pope spoke strongly about the dignity of the person which can “never be reduced to their faculties or capabilities,” and is not lessened when people become “weak, invalid, and in need of help.” He spoke about families, “where it is normal to care for the sick themselves,” recognizing the difficulties they face. “So many write to me,” Pope Francis said, promising that he prays for all of them. “I say to them: don’t be afraid of fragility! Help one another with love, and feel the consoling presence of God.”
Returning to the day’s Gospel, Pope Francis said it is precisely “the generous and Christian attitude toward the sick” that is the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Pope Francis also greeted the organizers and athletes taking part in the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. He offered his best wishes that the Games might be “a true festival of sport and of friendship.”
After greeting pilgrim groups from around the world — including a group of teachers and students from England — the Holy Father prayed for all those suffering on account of natural disasters. Nature, he said, “challenges us to be sympathetic and attentive to the protection of creation, in order to prevent, as far as possible, the most serious consequences.”
Before concluding the Angelus address, Pope Francis once again called on the faithful to answer the question he had posed earlier: “Do you want to be burning lamps,” bearing the light of Christ to the world, “or spent lamps?” To which the crowd responded: “Burning lamps! Burning lamps!” “The Christian bearing the light is a burning lamp... Let us always go forward with the light of Jesus!”
Listen to Christopher Wells' report: