After praying the Angelus with the faithful gathered in Saint Peter’s Square on Sunday, 2 July, Pope Francis’ thoughts turned to Ukraine. He invited those present to continue to pray for peace and not to “neglect the other wars so often forgotten, and the numerous conflicts and clashes that stain many parts of the world with blood”. The Pope urged the faithful to “help those who suffer” and to pray, because “prayer is the gentle strength that protects and sustains the world”. The following is a translation of the Holy Father’s words.
Dear brothers and sisters,
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “He who receives a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Mt 10:41). The word “prophet” appears three times. But who is the prophet? There are some who imagine a prophet as some type of magician who foretells the future. But this is a superstitious idea, and a Christian does not believe in superstitions, such as magic, tarot cards, horoscopes and other similar things. Incidentally, many, many Christians go to have their palms read. Please! Others depict a prophet only as a [biblical] figure from the past, who existed before Christ to foretell his coming. And yet, Jesus himself speaks today of the need to welcome prophets. Therefore, they still exist. But who are they? Who is a prophet?
Each one of us, brothers and sisters, is a prophet. In fact, with Baptism, all of us received the gift and mission of prophecy (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1268). A prophet is the one who, by virtue of Baptism, helps others read the present under the action of the Holy Spirit. This is very important: to read the present not like news but under the action of the Holy Spirit, who helps to understand God’s plans and conform to them. In other words, the prophet is the one who shows Jesus to others, who bears witness to him, who helps live today and build the future according to his designs. Therefore, we are all prophets, witnesses of Jesus, “so that the power of the Gospel might shine forth in [our] daily social and family life” (Lumen Gentium, 35). A prophet is a living sign who points God out to others. A prophet is a reflection of Christ’s light [that shines] on the path of brothers and sisters. And so, we can ask ourselves: Do I, who am “a prophet by election” through Baptism, speak, and above all, live, as a witness of Jesus? Do I bring a little bit of his light into the life of another person? Do I evaluate myself on this? Do I ask myself: How am I doing with bearing witness? How am I prophesying?
In the Gospel, the Lord also asks to welcome the prophets. So it is important to welcome each other as such, as bearers of God’s message, each one according to his or her status and vocation, and to do it right where we live — that is, in the family, in the parish, in religious communities, in other spheres of the Church and society. The Spirit has distributed gifts of prophecy to the holy People of God. This is why it is good to listen to everyone. For example, when an important decision needs to be made, it is good to pray first of all, to call on the Spirit, but then to listen and dialogue, trusting that each person, even the littlest, has something important to say, a prophetic gift to share. Thus, the truth is sought and a listening environment that is attentive to God and our brothers and sisters is fostered, where people feel welcome not because they say what I like, but where they feel accepted and valued as gifts for who they are.
Let us reflect on how many conflicts could be avoided and resolved in this way, listening to others with the sincere desire to understand each other! So, finally, let us ask ourselves: Do I know how to welcome my brothers and sisters as prophetic gifts? Do I believe that I need them? Do I listen to them respectfully, with the desire to learn? Because each one of us needs to learn from others. Each one of us needs to learn from others.
May Mary, Queen of Prophets, help us see and welcome the good that the Spirit has sown in others.
After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father continued:
Dear brothers and sisters, even during the summer months, let us not tire of praying for peace, especially for the people of Ukraine who are so beleaguered. And let us not neglect the other wars so often forgotten, and the numerous conflicts and clashes that stain many parts of the world with blood. There are so many wars today. Let us take an interest in what is happening, let us help those who suffer and let us pray, because prayer is the gentle strength that protects and sustains the world.
I greet all of you, faithful from Rome and from various countries and places in Italy; in particular, the Sisters of Saint Joseph Benedict Cottolengo, the young Confirmation candidates from Ibiza and Formentera, the children from the Pastoral Unit of Tremignon and Vaccarino in Vicenza. I also greet the “Saint Mauro Group” from Cavarzere and “Our Lady of Olmo” preschool from Verdellino. And I greet the members of the Immaculata group.
I wish you all a happy Sunday and, please, do not forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch. Arrivederci!