In his Angelus address on Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on Christ’s “resolute decision” not to be overcome by anger in the face of unwelcoming adversaries, instead modeling the qualities of “calm, patience, long suffering, not slackening the least bit in doing good.”
“It is easy, it is instinctive, to allow ourselves to be overcome by anger when faced with opposition. What is difficult, instead, is to master oneself, doing as Jesus did who, as the Gospel says, ‘went on to another village’,” the pope said June 26, reflecting on the Gospel reading from the ninth chapter of Luke.
“This means that when we meet with opposition, we must turn toward doing good elsewhere, without recrimination. This way, Jesus helps us to be people who are serene, who are happy with the good accomplished, and who do not seek human approval.”
Pope Francis said that sometimes people may think that anger in the face of opposition is “due to a sense of justice for a good cause.”
“But in reality, most of the time it is nothing other than pride, united with weakness, sensitivity, and impatience,” Pope Francis noted.
“So, let us ask Jesus for the strength of being like him, of following him resolutely down the path of service, not to be vindictive, not to be intolerant when difficulties present themselves, when we spend ourselves in doing good and others do not understand this, or even when they disqualify us.”
The 85-year-old pope encouraged those listening to reflect on whether they ask God for strength in the face of opposition, or whether they seek human approval and “applause.”
“In the face of opposition, misunderstanding, do we turn to the Lord? Do we ask him for his steadfastness in doing good? Or do we rather seek confirmation through applause, ending up being bitter and resentful when we do not hear it?” the pope asked.
“Many times, consciously or unconsciously, we seek applause, approval from others, and we do things for applause. No, that does not work. We must do good out of service, not seeking applause.”
“May the Virgin Mary help us make the resolute decision Jesus did to remain in love to the end,” the pontiff concluded.
Following the address, Pope Francis expressed concern for the unrest happening currently in Ecuador, and urged dialogue and “all parties to abandon violence and extreme positions.”
He also mentioned Sister Luisa Dell’Orto, a Little Sister of the Gospel of Saint Charles de Foucauld, who was killed yesterday in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.
“For twenty years, Sister Luisa lived there, dedicated above all to serving children on the streets. I entrust her soul to God, and I pray for the Haitian people, especially for the least, so they might have a more serene future, without misery and without violence. Sister Luisa made a gift of her life to others even to martyrdom,” the pope said.
Sunday marked the conclusion of the 10th World Meeting of Families, which took place in Rome from June 22-26. The gathering was attended by around 2,000 families from around the world.
The Angelus has its roots in a medieval practice of praying the Hail Mary three times in a row, as recommended by St. Anthony of Padua. Today, it takes the form of a papal custom on every Sunday and Marian solemnity, when the pope appears at the window of his library in the Apostolic Palace at noon to lead the faithful gathered below in St. Peter’s Square in praying the Angelus in Latin.