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Monday, July 20, 2015

Francis recalls his recent trip to Latin America

Vatican City, 19 July 2015 (VIS) – Pope Francis, in today's Sunday Angelus, commended the fruits of his recent apostolic trip in Latin America to the Virgin Mary, venerated in those lands as Our Lady of Guadalupe, and thanked the people of Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay for their warm and affectionate welcome, and for their enthusiasm.

He also offered thanks to the authorities of the three countries for their collaboration, and for all the clergy, from the bishops to men and women religious, who accompanied him during his stay. “With these brothers and sisters, I praised the Lord for the wonders that He has worked in the People of God on their path in those lands, and for the faith that has inspired and continues to inspire their life and culture. And we have also praised Him for the natural beauty with which He enriched these lands. The Latin American continent has great human and spiritual potential, and safeguards deeply rooted Christian values, but also experiences serious social and economic problems. To contribute to their solution, the Church is committed to mobilising the spiritual and moral forces of her communities, collaborating with all members of society. Faced with the great challenges that announcing the Gospel entails, I invited them to draw from Christ the Lord the grace that saves and gives strength to the effort of Christian witness, and to further spread of the Word of God, so that the strong religiosity of the people may always bear faithful witness to the Gospel”.

The Pope had previously commented on the day's Gospel reading in which Jesus takes the apostles to a secluded place to rest, but seeing that the multitudes follow them, feels compassion for them and begins to impart His teachings. Francis focused on the verbs that the evangelist uses: to see, to have compassion, and to teach.

“We can call them the verbs of the Pastor”, he observed. “To see, to have compassion, to teach. The first and the second, to see and to have compassion, are always linked to Jesus' attitude: indeed, His outlook is not that of a sociologist or a photojournalist, since He always sees with 'the eyes of the heart'. These two verbs, to see and to have compassion, configure Jesus as the Good Shepherd. But His compassion is not merely a human sentiment: it is the emotion of the Messiah in whom God's tenderness is made flesh. And from this compassion there emerges Jesus' desire to nourish the crowd with the bread of His Word, that is, to teach the Word of God to the people. Jesus sees, Jesus has compassion, and Jesus teaches”.

“And I asked the Lord that the Spirit of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, this Spirit, might guide me during the apostolic trip I made in Latin America over the last few days”, added the Pope.

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