Following the morning celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica for Sunday of the Word of God, Pope Francis greeted pilgrims in the Square for the midday Angelus encouraging them to read the Gospel ever day to be inspired and transformed with the newness and joy of God
Sunday’s Gospel recounts when Jesus began his preaching at the synagogue in Nazareth where he grew up” and proclaimed the message in the prophet Isaiah of consolation and liberation for the poor and oppressed: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled.” Speaking on the Gospel reading, Pope Francis said the “today” pronounced by the Lord “runs through all ages and always remains valid.”
Anointing of the Holy Spirit
The Pope described how people were moved by Jesus’ words and realized there is something more here, but they were clouded by their own ideas and prejudices. What they were witnessing was this anointing of the Holy Spirit as Jesus “fills with meaning” by the power of the Spirit, the Pope explained. And when our own sermons remaining generic or abstract, even if well-written and delivered, they often do not touch the soul or the life of people because they need this “anointing of the Spirit.” Without this, he said, our preaching risks impoverishing the Word of God, presenting the Gospel as something outside of time or an abstract idea. He said our preaching instead must flow from the anointing of the Spirit and the experience of this “today of Jesus,” recalled in today’s Gospel.
Sunday of the Word of God
Expressing his gratitude to all those who proclaim and teach the Gospel, especially on this Sunday of the Word of God, Pope Francis encouraged everyone to pray for all in this ministry so that they may be full of the Spirit “that makes the Scriptures come alive,” noting how the Word of God is always “alive and effective”, comforting and changing us, while guiding our daily lives.
Read the Gospel every day
In conclusion, the Pope underlined how the Word of God “transforms an ordinary day into the today in which God speaks to us,” encouraging everyone to keep a Gospel within reach, and to calmly read and re-read a small passage every day. In time, he said, we will see how these words are speaking directly to us and help us lead a better and more peaceful life. “Because when the Gospel enters into today’s world, it fills it with God,” he added, and by continually familiarizing ourselves with the Gospel, “it will bring us the newness and joy of God.”
“The Word of God is also the beacon that guides the synodal journey that has begun throughout the Church. As we strive to listen to each other, with attention and discernment, let us listen together to the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. May Our Lady obtain for us the constancy to nourish ourselves with the Gospel every day.”
At the conclusion of the Angelus, Pope Francis recalled yesterday’s beatification, in San Salvador, of Jesuit Father Rutilio Grande García and two lay companions, and Franciscan Father Cosme Spessotto, martyrs for the faith. The Pope praised their witness in standing by the poor, bearing witness to the Gospel, to truth, and to justice, even to the point of shedding their own blood. He prayed that their heroic example might bring forth in everyone the desire to give courageous witness to fraternity and peace, asking everyone in the Square to give their applause to the new Blesseds.
The Pope also called for a day of prayer for peace on Wednesday 26 January expressing his concern over the increasing tensions over the Ukraine situation.
Finally, he recalled that in this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity he has accepted a widely supported proposal and proclaimed St Irenaeus of Lyon a Doctor of the Universal Church. He said the teaching of this shepherd saint and teacher is like a bridge between East and West, and this is why we call him a Doctor of Unity, Doctor Unitatis. He asked that the Lord grant us, through his intercession, to work all together for the full unity of Christians.