Our hearts and our minds, which are usually overwhelmed with daily routine, have been deeply surprised by the announcement of a pastoral visit by Pope Francis in our country and, even more curiously, we are called to renew our wonder.
We usually live in the conviction we have seen everything, and yet Saint Paul’s words, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived the things that God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2,9), project us towards a constant surprise, they take us towards an eternal wonder the secret of which is hidden in our ability to never stop being amazed.
With joy and wonder I share with you several short thoughts on the occasion of the presence of Pope Francis among us.
“Here I am with you every day, to the very end of the world” (Mt. 28,20). Jesus promises to stay with us every day, until the end of time.
Although not physically present, Jesus can be perceived in a totally new way thanks to his Sacramental Presence: his promise was first fulfilled starting from the Last Supper, from the Consecration of the Eucharist, and will continue until the end of time, as long as there will be a ministerial priest, duly ordained who, in communion with Rome, and with the mission of the Church, celebrating the Holy Mass will pronounce the formula of the Consecration “This is my body… This is my blood…”.
“And, I am with you always until the end of time”. The promise of Jesus becomes reality thanks to the presence of His Vicar, the Pope. One of the key events of his visit as Shepherd of the Church is precisely the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with his flock; the promise is a reality, it is a blessing.
John 21,15-19: When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter: “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”. “Yes, Lord”, he said: “you know that I love you”. Jesus said: “Feed my lambs”. Again Jesus said: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”. He answered: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you”. Jesus said: “Take care of my sheep”. The third time he said to him: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”. Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time: “Do you love me?”. He said: “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you”. Jesus said: “Feed my sheep”. Truly I tell you, when you were young you dressed by yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old and you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go”. Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him: “Follow me”.
In response to the triple question of the Lord, Peter revealed his humble heart and Jesus liked this heart. Between one question and the next Jesus tells him: “Feed my sheep”, or, rather, nourish them, take care of them; “go ahead of them to guide them, stay in their midst to be part of the flock, and behind them so that no one is left behind”.
And this is precisely what Francis will do:
From this triple perspective we understand the words and life of Francis: “Life is a beautiful treasure, but it only makes sense when we give it”.
The pastoral journey of Pope Francis has aroused great enthusiasm, not only in the three countries he will visit – Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, small nations whose roots are deeply embedded in faith – but throughout the American continent.
The baptized, the believers, the people of good will and all of us need the presence and encouraging voice of the Pope. For this reason I can firmly declare that the journey of Pope Francis in our countries is a real blessing of God, which arises deep emotion among people.
The personal and intimate relationship sought by Pope Francis, in a world in which technology shortens distances but hearts are still distant, allows to strongly perceive a “father-son” embrace, which makes us feel closer to the Church.
The apostolic journey will bring a message of peace, of faith, and of conversion, it will unite population and families. His message, which is highly contemporary, will resound with strength in our ears and in our heart: “Let us ask for the grace not to become corrupt: sinful yes, corrupt, no!”
The fact that the Holy Father speaks our language and the cultural closeness will help the visit to proceed. Francis does not forget the concept of one “large homeland”, which is characterised by one language, one faith and common roots, but to realize this it is necessary to give up paltry interests.
His presence is a prophetic call: “Money must serve, not rule!”. The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor, but, in the name of Christ, he is required to remember that the rich must help the poor, respect them and support them.
Radio Maria, a tool of evangelization, prepares to broadcast this historical ecclesiastical event to allow our listeners to follow every moment of this pontifical visit.
We entrust our work to the grace of God and to the protection of our Blessed Mother.
To paraphrase Isaiah 12,6: “Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you”. I can joyfully announce, including on behalf of those who are enthusiastically awaiting this happy event, the arrival of our Shepherd: “Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Ecuador, for great is the Holy One who Francis brings to us”.
Fr. Marco Bayas O. CM
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