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: