Here you will find the full text of Pope Francis’ address to his general audience on Wednesday in practical translation by Vatican Radio.
An official German version of this letter will soon be available on the official website of the Vatican.
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today, in our educational journey on the topic of old age, we reflect on the dialogue between the risen Jesus and Peter at the end of the Gospel of John (21:15-23). It is a touching dialogue that reveals all of Jesus’ love for his disciples, but also the humanity of his relationship with them, especially with Peter: affectionate and not sad, direct, strong, free and open. relationship in fact. So the Gospel of John, so spiritual and sublime, concludes with a touching appeal and display of love between Jesus and Peter, which is naturally embedded in a conversation between the two. The Evangelist specifically reminds us: He bears witness to the truth of the facts (cf. Jn 21:24). We have to search for the truth in them.
We can ask ourselves: Are we able to keep the substance of this Jesus relationship with the disciples – to match his style, which is so open, so frank, so direct, so real in human terms? How is our relationship with Jesus? Is it like the apostles with him? Rather, aren’t we often inclined to attach gospel testimony to the cocoon of “sweetened” revelation to which we offer our worship with a condition? This attitude of what appears to be respect actually distances us from the true Jesus and even leads to a way of faith that is too abstract, too selfish, and too mundane is not the way of Jesus. Jesus is the incarnate Word of God, and He acts as a human being, speaking to us as a human being, as a human being. With this tenderness, with this friendship, with this closeness. Jesus is not such a sweet picture in the little pictures, no: Jesus is within our reach, He is close to us.
In the context of Jesus’ conversation with Peter we find two passages that deal specifically with age and length of time: the time of witness, and the time of life. The first section is Jesus’ warning to Peter: When you were young you were self-sufficient, and as you get older you will not be able to control yourself and your life well. (…) Your testimony will also go along with this weakness. (…) The Evangelist adds as a comment that Jesus is alluding to an extreme testimony, that of martyrdom and death. But we can also understand the meaning of this warning in general: Even in your discipleship, you must learn to let your weakness, your helplessness, your dependence on others guide and shape you, even in clothes, when walking. But you “follow me” (verse 19). (…) Discipleship wisdom must find a way to stay in the creed – “Lord, you know I love you” (verses 15.16.17) – even in circumstances of limited weakness and old age. I love talking to older people and looking them in the eye. They have those shining eyes, those eyes that tell you more than words, the testimony of life. And this is beautiful, we must preserve it to the end. So follow Jesus who is full of life.
This conversation between Jesus and Peter contains valuable lessons for all disciples and believers. As well as for all the elderly. We learn from our vulnerability to express the permanence of our life testimony under conditions of life that are largely dependent on others, and largely dependent on the initiative of others.
But here, too, we must ask ourselves: Do we have a spirituality that is really able to explain … our times of weakness that we have entrusted to others, rather than being able to leave them to the strength of our independence? How do we remain faithful to the disciple we live, to the love promised, to the justice to which we aspire, when we still have the strength to take the lead, when we are fragile, and dependent, when we let the protagonist into our lives?
This new time is definitely a time of testing. Starting with a temptation – no doubt very humane, but also very cunning – to maintain our main role. Peter asks, “What about him?” When he saw the beloved disciple following them (see verses 20-21). Does he really have to be a part of my successor? Should he take my place? Should he live after me and take my place? Jesus’ answer is frank and even blunt: “What do you care? Follow me’ (see verse 22). so beautiful. Old people should not be jealous of young people who go their way and take their place and who outlast them. Honoring their devotion to their once sworn love, and observance of the faith by which they adhered, even as their death drew near, is something to be admired by posterity for and gratefully acknowledged by them. because of mr.
Even inactive forced discipleship, which consists of deep meditation and close listening to the Word of God – as with Mary, Lazarus’ sister – can become the best part of her life. No one will ever take it away from them… (Luke 10:42).
(vatican news – sk)