On the Foundation of Rock

"Find Space Every Day for the Word of God"

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.



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Dear brothers and sisters!

This Sunday's Gospel presents the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, where the Lord Jesus, through the parable of the two houses -- one built on rock and the other on sand -- invites the disciples to listen to his words and to put them into practice (cf. Matthew 7:24). In this way, he situates the disciple and his journey of faith within the horizon of the covenant, constituted by the relationship that God intends with man through the gift of his Word, entering into communication with us.

The Second Vatican Council affirms: "The invisible God in his great love speaks with men as with friends and he tarries with them to invite and admit them to communion with him" ("Dei Verbum," No. 2). "In this vision every man appears as the addressee of the Word of God, engaged and called to enter into this dialogue of love with a free response" (Postsynodal apostolic exhortation "Verbum Domini," No. 22). Jesus is the living Word of God. When he taught, the people recognized in his words divine authority itself, the felt the nearness of the Lord, his merciful love, and gave praise to God.

In every age and in every place, those who have the grace to know Jesus -- especially through the reading of the holy Gospel -- are fascinated, recognizing in his preaching, in his gestures, in his Person, the One who reveals God's true face to us, and at the same time, he reveals us to ourselves; he makes us feel the joy of being the children of the Father in heaven, indicating to us the solid basis on which to build our life.

But often man does not base his actions, his existence, on this identity, and prefers the sand of ideologies, power, success and money, thinking that in these he will find stability and the answer to the irrepressible question about happiness and fullness that he carries in his own soul.

And what do we want to build our life on? Who can really answer the restlessness of our heart? Christ is the rock of our life! He is the eternal and definitive Word who keeps us from fearing any adversity, difficulty, hardship (cf. "Verbum Domini," No. 10). May the Word of God permeate the whole of our life, thought and action, as is proclaimed by the first reading of today's liturgy, which is drawn for the Book of Deuteronomy: "Take these words of mine into your heart and soul. Bind them at your wrist as a sign, and let them be a pendant on your forehead" (11:18).

Dear brothers, I exhort you to find space every day for the Word of God, to nourish yourselves from it, to meditate on it continually. It is a precious help for distancing yourself from a superficial activism too, which might satisfy our pride for a moment, but that, in the end, leaves one empty and unsatisfied.

Let us invoke the help of the Virgin Mary, whose existence was marked by fidelity to the Word of God. We contemplate her in the Annunciation, at the foot of the cross and, now, participating in the glory of the risen Christ. Like her, we want to renew our "yes" and entrust our journey to God.

[After the Angelus the Pope made the following appeal in Italian:]

I continually follow and with great apprehension the tensions that in these have arisen in the various countries of Africa and Asia.

I ask the Lord Jesus that the Pakistani minister Shahbaz Bhatti's moving sacrifice of his life awaken in consciences the courage and the commitment to safeguard the religious freedom of all men and, in this way, promote their equal dignity.

My concerns turn then to Libya, where the recent conflicts have caused numerous deaths and a growing humanitarian crisis. I assure my prayers and nearness to all the victims and those who find themselves in anxious circumstances as I call for help and succor for the stricken populations.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[He then greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In English, he said:]

I am happy to greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for this Angelus. In today's Gospel, Jesus invites us to go beyond a superficial acceptance our Christian calling, by living in faithful allegiance to his words. May we build up our future upon the solid foundation of the Gospel of Jesus, and find fulfilment and happiness and eternal salvation. I wish all of you a pleasant stay in Rome, and a blessed Sunday!

© Copyright 2011 -- Libreria Editrice Vaticana

[Concluding in Italian he said:]

I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good start, on Wednesday, to Holy Lent. Have a good Sunday.