The Vatican

Pope Francis: "Jesus 'asleep' strengthens the faith of the Apostles".

The Angelus prayer on June 23 was marked by the teaching of the Gospel passage in which Jesus "sleeps" in Peter's boat.

Maria José Atienza-June 23, 2024-Reading time: 2 minutes

Pope Francis presided over the address prior to the Angelus prayer on this 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In a cloudy and windy Rome where summer is resisting a little, thousands of people accompanied Francis on this day.

Referring to the Gospel passage from Mark, proper to today's readings, which shows Jesus "asleep in the boat" while the Apostles fear for their lives due to a storm.

Francis explained that "it seems that Jesus wants to put them to the test. However, he does not leave them alone, he stays with them in the boat, calmly, even sleeping. And when the storm breaks, with his presence he reassures them, encourages them, incites them to have more faith and accompanies them beyond the danger".

We can ask ourselves, the Pope continued, the reason for Jesus' behavior and the answer is clear: "To strengthen the faith of the disciples and make them more courageous". They come out of this experience more aware of the power of Jesus and of his presence in their midst". An experience that will give them the basis to face, for the cause of Christ, "even to the cross and martyrdom".

The pontiff stressed that "Jesus does the same with us, particularly in the Eucharist: He gathers us around Himself, gives us His Word, feeds us with His Body and Blood, and then invites us to go out to sea, to pass on what we have heard and to share with everyone what we have received, in everyday life, even when it is difficult."

Christian life is not an easy or comfortable life, but a life of trust in Christ, explained the pontiff, who encouraged the faithful to ask themselves "in times of trial, can I remember the moments in my life in which I have experienced the presence and help of the Lord?"

Petition for peace and a remembrance of his confessor

As every Sunday, the Pope's remembrance and prayers were directed to the nations and places on earth where conflicts and wars are taking place. Francis has prayed for peace in Ukraine, Palestine and Israel. "Let us pray for peace! Palestine, Gaza, northern Congo... Let us pray for peace! And peace in Ukraine, which suffers so much, let there be peace! May the Holy Spirit enlighten the minds of the rulers, infuse them with wisdom and a sense of responsibility, to avoid any action or word that feeds confrontation and, instead, resolutely aim at a peaceful solution to conflicts" the Pope concluded.

Just before saying goodbye and praying the Angelus, the Pope addressed an emotional remembrance to his confessor for many years, the Franciscan Manuel Blanco, who died a few days ago. Taking the example of this priest, the Pope thanked the work of "so many Franciscan brothers, confessors, preachers, who honored and honor the Church of Rome".

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