WORLD MEETING OF FAMILIES: DAY ONE
A very busy – and extremely hot – afternoon for EWTN cast and crew as they cover the 10 World Meeting of Families with the opening events taking place in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of Pope Francis.
Some pix I took this afternoon with some of the guests on the EWTN platform – faces you will recognize from TV, faces familiar to viewers of programs in English, Spanish and German.
PAPAL CONDOLENCES FOR JESUITS KILLED IN MEXICO, VICTIMS OF AFGHANISTAN EARTHQUAKE
After delivering his general audience catechesis and extending language greetings to the pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis noted that, “in the past few hours, an earthquake has claimed victims and caused extensive damage in Afghanistan. I express my sympathy to the injured and those affected by the earthquake, and I pray in particular for those who have lost their lives and for their families. I hope that with everyone’s help, the suffering of the dear Afghan people can be alleviated.”
“I also express my sorrow and dismay,” he added, “at the killing in Mexico the day before yesterday, of two Jesuit religious – my confreres – and a layman. How many killings there are in Mexico! With affection and prayer, I am close to the Catholic community affected by this tragedy. Once again, I repeat that violence does not solve problems, but increases unnecessary suffering!
The Holy Father also noted that “the children who were with me in the Popemobile were Ukrainian children: let us not forget Ukraine. Let us not forget the suffering of that martyred people.” They accompanied him as the Popemobile circled St. Peter’s Square before the audience.
POPE FRANCIS ON THE WANING STRENGTH THAT COMES WITH AGE
“Dear brothers and sisters,” began Pope Francis this morning in St. Peter’s Square, “In our continuing catechesis on the meaning and value of old age in the light of God’s word, we now consider the words of the Risen Jesus to Peter at the Lake of Tiberias (Jn 21:17-18).”
“It is a moving dialogue, from which shines all the love of Jesus for his disciples, and also the sublime humanity of his relationship with them, in particular with Peter: a tender relationship, but not melancholic; direct, strong, free, and open. A relationship between men and in truth.”
Francis stated that, “Peter reaffirms his love for Christ and receives the command to feed the Lord’s sheep. Jesus adds, with a reference to Peter’s eventual martyrdom: ‘When you were younger, you used to go wherever you wished; but when you grow old, another will take you where you would not go’.”
The Pope then personalized those words: “Jesus’ warning to Peter: when you were young you were self-sufficient, when you are old you will no longer be so much the master of yourself and your life. Tell me I have to go in a wheelchair, eh? But that’s how it is, that’s life. With old age you get all these illnesses and we have to accept them as they come, don’t we. We don’t have the strength of youth! And your witness will also be accompanied by this weakness. You have to be a witness to Jesus even in weakness, illness and death. There is a beautiful passage from St Ignatius of Loyola that says: ‘Just as in life, so also in death we must bear witness as disciples of Jesus’.”
Francis said, “these words have a particular meaning for the elderly, since the passing of the years naturally entails physical frailty and heightened dependence on others. At the same time, however, old age can be a time of renewed love for the Lord, hope in his promises, and growth in spiritual wisdom. Jesus goes on to tell Peter not to concern himself with John, the younger disciple, but with persevering in fidelity to his own calling and mission. “
“His words remind us of the need,” concluded the Pope, “in life’s later years, to make room for the younger generations and to respect their place in the unfolding of the Lord’s saving plan. For Christ’s disciples, old age can thus be a fruitful season of contemplation, gratitude and witness to the grace of God constantly at work in our lives and in the world around us.”