2011-07-17 13:17:20

World must mobilize in aid of famine victims in Horn of Africa, urges Pope

For the second time in as many weeks, Pope Benedict XVI launched an urgent appeal Sunday for the international community to immediately mobilize itself in aid of the tens of thousands of men, women and in particular the children, hit by famine in the Horn of Africa.

Speaking from the courtyard of his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo following the midday Angelus prayer the Holy Father said : “I am following with deep concern the news from the Horn of Africa, particularly Somalia, stricken by a severe drought and then, in some areas, even by heavy rains that are causing a humanitarian catastrophe. Countless people are fleeing from the famine in search of food and aid. I hope international mobilization grows to send timely relief to our brothers and sisters already sorely tried, among which there are so many children. May our solidarity and the concrete support to all people of good will not fail these suffering people. "

The Pope’s words echoed around the tiny enclosed courtyard of the renaissance palace where the Holy Father has been enjoying a period of rest in the cooler climbs of the Alban hills. In fact his only public appointment during the month of July is the Sunday midday Angelus, when pilgrims travel to the hill top village to join him in prayer.

Reflecting on the Sunday Gospel – taken from Mathew chapter 13 – Pope Benedict XVI explained Jesus’ parable of the Kingdom: “Jesus compares the Kingdom of heaven to a wheat field, to help us understand that something small and hidden is sown within us, which, however, has an irrepressible life force. Despite all obstacles, the seed will grow and the fruit ripen. This fruit will be good only if the ground of life has been nurtured according to Divine will. Therefore, in the parable of the wheat and the weeds (Mt 13,24-30), Jesus warns us that, after the Master had planted, 'while people slept,' his 'enemy' intervened, sowing weeds. This means that we must be prepared to guard the grace received from the day of baptism, while continuing to nourish faith in the Lord, which prevents evil from taking root. St. Augustine, commenting on this story, notes that 'many are first weeds and then become good wheat' and adds: 'If those, when they are bad, are not tolerated with patience, they will never reach this laudable change' (Quaest. septend. In Ev. sec. Matth., 12, 4: PL 35, 1371). "

He concluded “Psalm 85 confirms this: Lord, you are kind and forgiving, most loving to all who call on you' (verse 5)”. "If so we are children of a great and good Father, we must try to be like Him! This was the purpose that Jesus intended in his preaching when he said to those who listened to him: 'Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect' (Matthew 5:48). Let us turn with confidence to Mary, whom we called yesterday with the title of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Caramel, to help us to faithfully follow Jesus, and so to live as true children of God. "

Finally Pope Benedict greeted the pilgrim groups present this Sunday: "I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors gathered for this Angelus prayer, including the pilgrims from Meath, Ireland and from Nazareth, the home of Jesus. Today’s Gospel encourages us to let the good seed of God’s word bear fruit in our lives and to trust in his mysterious plan for the growth of the Kingdom. Let us work for an abundant harvest of holiness in the Church and ask to be found among Christ’s righteous ones on the day of judgment. Upon all of you I invoke the Lord’s abundant blessings of joy and peace!" Listen: RealAudioMP3

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