In his Angelus address, Pope Francis urged Christians to show the world the closeness of God by “performing many deeds of love and hope in the name of the Lord.”
Pope Francis reflected on how Jesus asked his apostles to preach that “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 10:7). He noted how Jesus also began his preaching with this proclamation that the God of love is in our midst.
“Indeed, if the God of heaven is close, we are not alone on earth, and even in difficulty we do not lose faith,” he said.
The pope recommended: “Here is the first thing to say to people: God is not far away, but he is a father … He knows you and he loves you; he wants to take you by the hand, even when you travel on steep and rugged paths, even when you fall and struggle to get up again and get back on track. He, the Lord, is there with you. In fact, often in the moments when you are at your weakest, you can feel his presence all the more strongly. He knows the way. He is with you. He is your Father.”
People wave from a nearby rooftop as Pope Francis delivers his Angelus address on June 18, 2023. Vatican Media
Francis added that witnessing to God’s closeness does actually require many words but can be accomplished through witness and freely given service. He noted Jesus’ command to the apostles at their commissioning: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without pay, give without pay” (Mt 10:8).
He encouraged Christians to be close to those who suffer and are alone, as well as to those who are far away or even hostile. “This is the concreteness of faith; this is what matters,” he said.
“And let us now pray to Mary; may she help us feel beloved and transmit trust and closeness to one another,” he said.
After praying the Angelus prayer in Latin with the crowd gathered below in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis the pope prayed for the victims of an attack in Uganda, where rebels attacked a school near the Congo border, killing at least 38 students.
Pope Francis delivers his Angelus address from the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace on June 18, 2023. Vatican Media