At the Angelus on Sunday 9 August, Pope Francis reflects on the Gospel account of Jesus calming the storm, reminding us that Jesus “is the Father’s hand who never abandons us.”
Pope Francis also remembered the 75th anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Japan, and appealed for “generous aid” from the international community for Lebanon.
In his Angelus reflection on the readings from Sunday’s Mass, Pope Francis said the Gospel account of Jesus walking on the water “is a call to abandon ourselves trustingly to God in every moment of our life, especially in moments of trial and fear.”
The Gospel tells how Jesus, walking on the water in the midst of a storm, calls Peter to come to him on the water. Peter takes a few steps, but becomes frightened and begins to sink. He calls to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” and “Jesus grasps him by the hand and says to him, ‘O man of little faith, why did you doubt’.”
Jesus, the strong and faithful hand of the Father
Pope Francis said, “When we have strong feelings of doubt and fear and we seem to be sinking, we must not be ashamed to cry out, like Peter: ‘Lord, save me’.”
Pope Francis said that this prayer is like knocking on God’s heart and Jesus’s heart. “We can repeat it many times,” he said.
The Pope then invited us to contemplate Jesus’s action: “Jesus is the Father’s hand, who never abandons us, the strong and faithful hand of the Father, who always and only wants what is good for us.”
God, the Pope said, recalling the Old Testament reading, is not in “the hurricane, the fire, the earthquake,” but rather comes to us in “the light breeze, that never imposes itself, but asks to be heard.”
The Pope reminded us that God knows how weak our faith is, and how difficult our journey is. “But He is the Risen One, the Lord who went through death in order to lead us back to safety. Even before we begin to seek Him, He is present beside us.”
“Maybe in the dark, we cry out: ‘Lord, Lord!’ thinking He is far away. And He says, ‘I am here.’ Ah, He was with me! That is the Lord,” the Pope said.
The boat, the image of the Church
In the Gospel story, the Pope said, “the boat at the mercy of the storm is the image of the Church, which in every age encounters headwinds, very harsh trials at times.” He noted in particular “certain long and persistent persecutions” in the twentieth century, and added, “and even today in certain places”.
In such times, he continued, the Church “may be tempted to think God has abandoned her.” However, he said, “it is precisely in those moments that the witness of faith, the witness of love, the witness of hope shines the most.”
The “presence of the Risen Christ in His Church,” the Pope said, “gives the grace of witness unto martyrdom, from which buds new Christians and fruit of reconciliation and peace for the entire world.”
Prayer for perseverance in faith love
Introducing the Angelus, the Holy Father invoked the Blessed Virgin, praying, “May the intercession of Mary Most Holy help us to persevere in faith and fraternal love when the darkness and storms of life place our trust in God in crisis.”
Pope Francis calls for world free of nuclear weapons
On the seventy-fifth anniversary of the nuclear attacks on Japan, Pope Francis once again called “for prayer and commitment to a world completely free of nuclear weapons.”
The Holy Father has repeatedly called for nuclear disarmament and the elimination of stockpiles of nuclear weapons, notably during his visit in 2019 to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which he recalled on Sunday “with deep emotion and gratitude.”
Appeal for solidarity with Lebanon
Pope Francis also called on the Church in Lebanon to continue to be close to their people, and appeals for “generous aid” from the international community.
“In these days my thoughts often turn to Lebanon,” Pope Francis said on Sunday, in remarks following the weekly Angelus.
In the wake of the devastating explosion that rocked Beirut last week, the Holy Father said, “Last Tuesday’s catastrophe calls everyone, beginning with the Lebanese people, to work together for the common good of this beloved country.”
A model of living together
The Pope noted Lebanon’s “particular identity”, which “has emerged over the course of time as a model of living together.” Acknowledging the fragility of coexistence in the country at this time, Pope Francis said he is nonetheless praying “that, with God’s help, and everyone’s genuine participation, [Lebanon] may be reborn free and strong.”
Open hearts and open hands
In particular, the Holy Father invited the Church in Lebanon, “to be close to the people on their Calvary, as she has been doing in these days, with solidarity and compassion, with heart and hands open to sharing.” He made an emotional appeal to the “bishops, priests and religious of Lebanon to be close to the people and to live a style of life marked by evangelical poverty, without luxury, because your people are suffering, suffering a lot.”
He also renewed his appeals to the international community to contribute “generous aid” to Lebanon in this time of national tragedy.
Vatican News – Pope at Angelus: Gospel calls us to trusting abandonment to God
Vatican News – Pope Francis calls for world free of nuclear weapons
Vatican News – Pope at Angelus: Appeal for solidarity with Lebanon