Speaking from his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about Sunday’s Gospel, which tells how Jesus, when He had returned to His hometown of Nazareth, was rejected by His own people. “This fact is understandable,” the Pope said, “because familiarity at the human level makes it difficult to go beyond that and to be open to the divine dimension.”
Jesus was not able to work any miracles in Nazareth – “apart from curing a few sick people by laying His hands on them” – because the people were closed off to the spiritual dimension. The Holy Father explained “the miracles of Christ are not a display of power, but signs of the love of God, which is made present where it encounters the faith of man.”
And so, the Pope says, Jesus is “amazed” at the lack of faith among his own people: “How is it possible that they do not recognise the light of Truth? Why are they not open to the goodness of God, who has willed to share our humanity?” Pope Benedict says, “In fact, the man Jesus of Nazareth is God made visible; in Him, God dwells fully. And while we too always seek other signs, other wonders, we do not realize that the He is the real sign, God made flesh; He is the greatest miracle of the universe: all the love of God hidden in a human heart, in a human face.”
After his explanation of the Gospel, the Holy Father greeted pilgrims and visitors from around the world. In his remarks to English-speaking pilgrims, he said, “In today’s Gospel Jesus reminds us that if we live with an open and simple heart, nourished by true faith, we can recognize the presence of God in our lives and follow his holy will.”
Finally, speaking to pilgrims from Poland, Pope Benedict noted an inter-religious prayer service to be held Sunday evening at the former Nazi concentration camp at Majdanek. Representatives of the Greek and Latin Catholic Church, from the Orthodox Church, from the Protestant ecclesial communities and from the Jewish community will offer prayers for peace throughout the world. “I unite myself spiritually to these events,” the Pope said, “and I pray for goodness and peace for the world, for Poland, and for each of you.” He concluded his remarks with a heartfelt blessing.