By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians should not only face life’s challenges without fear but also not be overcome by the temptation to remain idle to the Lord’s presence in those moments, Pope Francis said.
Jesus’ dual call for his disciples to “not be afraid” and to “be ready” means it “is necessary to stay awake, not to fall asleep, that is, not to be distracted, not to give in to inner idleness, because the Lord comes even in situations in which we do not expect him,” the pope said Aug. 7 during his Sunday Angelus address.
After praying the Angelus prayer, the pope applauded the news of the first shipments of grain leaving Ukraine since Russia’s military campaign began and halted shipments, sparking a global food crisis.
According to The Associated Press, the United Nations and Turkey negotiated a deal between Russia and Ukraine July 22 that resumed grain shipments to world markets.
Pope Francis said the shipments were proof “that it is possible to dialogue and to reach concrete results for everyone’s benefit.”
“This event also presents itself as a sign of hope, and I sincerely hope that, following in this direction, there might be an end to combat and that a just and lasting peace might be reached,” the pope said.
In his address, the pope reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading from St. Luke, in which Jesus encouraged his disciples to trust in God “who cares for the lilies of the fields and the birds of the air, and therefore, all the more his children.”
“Indeed, at times we feel imprisoned by a feeling of distrust and anxiety. It is the fear of failure, of not being acknowledged and loved, the fear of not being able to realize our plans, of never being happy, and so on,” the pope said.
That fear, he added, can force men and women to find solace in goods and wealth but only leads them to live “anxiously and constantly worrying.”
“Do not be afraid: This is the certainty that your hearts should be attached to,” the pope said.
However, he continued, knowing that God watches over his children “does not entitle us to slumber, to let ourselves succumb to laziness” but instead, to be “alert, vigilant.”
“Indeed, to love means being attentive to the other, being aware of his or her needs, being willing to listen and welcome, being ready,” the pope said.
Pope Francis said that remaining vigilant also means “being responsible” and to safeguard and administer the goods given by God to his children.
“We have received so much: life, faith, family, relationships, work, but also the places where we live, our city, creation. We have received so many things,” the pope said.
“Let us try to ask ourselves: Do we take care of this inheritance the Lord has left us? Do we safeguard its beauty or do we use things only for ourselves and for our immediate convenience? We have to think a little about this: Are we guardians of the creation that has been given to us?” the pope asked.