Pope Benedict XVI's Sunday Angelus Message, February 12, 2012

Healing was the theme of Pope Benedict’s weekly Angelus address, delivered this morning in St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Father spoke about today’s Gospel, which relates how a leper had come to Christ, saying “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Jesus replied, saying, “I do will it, be made clean.”

“In that gesture and in those words of Christ,” the Pope said, “is the whole history of salvation, there is embodied the will of God to heal, to cleanse us from the evil that disfigures us and destroys our relationships”.

Pope Benedict spoke of the “existential commentary” on this Gospel passage in the life of Saint Francis, who recognised Christ in a leper. When, overcoming his initial revulsion, Francis nonetheless embraced the leper, “Jesus healed him of his leprosy—that is, his pride—and converted him to the love of God. This,” the Pope said, “is the victory of Christ, which is our deep healing and our resurrection to new life!”

The Pope concluded his remarks with a prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose apparition at Lourdes was commemorated yesterday. Our Lady, he said, gave to St. Bernadette, the visionary of Lourdes, a timeless message: the call to prayer and penance.

At the end of his address, Pope Benedict made an urgent appeal for an end to violence and bloodshed in Syria. He called all people to remember in prayer the victims of the conflict. And he called on everyone—and above all the political authorities in Syria—to favor the path of dialogue, reconciliation and commitment to peace.

Finally the Pope addressed the english speaking believers saying:"I am pleased to welcome all of you to Saint Peter’s Square on this cold morning, especially the students and staff of Sion-Manning School from London. At Mass today, the Gospel tells us of how our Lord willingly cured a leper. May we not be afraid to go to Jesus, beg him to heal our sinfulness, and bring us safely to eternal life. God bless you and your loved ones!"     

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