VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICE (VIS)
VATICAN CITY, 12 SEP 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, before praying the Angelus with faithful gathered in the central courtyard of the Apostolic Palace in Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI remarked on the readings of today's Mass and invited people to pray for his forthcoming trip to the United Kingdom.
In today's Gospel "Jesus narrates the three 'parables of mercy'", said the Pope. "When He speaks 'of the shepherd who goes after the lost sheep, of the woman who looks for the lost coin, of the father who goes to meet and embrace his prodigal son, these are no mere words: they constitute an explanation of His very being and activity'. The shepherd who finds the lost sheep is the Lord Himself Who, with the Cross, takes sinful man upon Himself in order to redeem him".
"How can we not open our hearts to the certainty that, though sinners, we are loved by God? He never tires of coming out to meet us, He is always the first to start down the road that separates us from Him. The Book of Exodus shows how Moses, with a faithful and audacious prayer, managed to move God, so to say, from the throne of justice to the throne of mercy. Penitence is the measure of faith, thanks to which we return to Truth".
With reference to the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the Holy Father noted how "when the elder son is offended by the festive welcome shown to his brother, it is again the father who goes out to meet him. ... Only faith can transform selfishness into joy and re-establish proper relations with others and with God", he said.
Finally, the Holy Father asked for prayers for his apostolic visit to the United Kingdom where, next Sunday, he is due to beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman. "To the Virgin Mary", he said, "whose Holy Name is celebrated in the Church today, we entrust our journey of conversion towards God".