VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis Sunday recalled the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, encouraging Catholics to look to that great event for inspiration to overcome injustices and mistreatment of the weak.
“Fifty years ago yesterday man set foot on the moon, realizing an extraordinary dream,” the pope said July 21. “May the memory of that great step for humanity ignite the desire to progress together towards even greater goals: more dignity for the weak, more justice among peoples, more future for our common home.”
Pope Francis referenced the July 20 anniversary of the Apollo 11 spaceflight, the first to land humans on the moon, during his weekly Angelus address in St. Peter’s Square.
In his message before the Angelus, he reflected on the day’s Gospel, when Jesus goes to visit Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. In this Gospel, St. Luke tells readers that Martha was busy serving, while Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to listen to his words.
Jesus, in response to Martha’s complaint that Mary is not helping, says she “has chosen the better part.”
“Today’s Gospel reminds us that the wisdom of the heart lies precisely in knowing how to combine these two elements: contemplation and action,” Pope Francis said, adding that “Martha and Mary show us the way.”
Francis commented that Martha had a gift for hospitality and Jesus did not intend to condemn an attitude of service, “but rather the anxiety with which it is sometimes experienced.”
In fact, it is important to follow Martha’s example in working to create fraternity and welcome in one’s home and community, he underlined. But, he explained, when Jesus is there, “everything must be put aside because, when He comes to visit us in our lives, his presence and His word comes before everything.”
“In this scene of Mary of Bethany at the feet of Jesus, St. Luke shows the prayerful attitude of the believer, who knows how to stay in the presence of the Master to listen to him and be in harmony with Him,” the pope said.
To live a joyful life, the two attitudes must be associated, he continued. “On the one hand, ‘to stay at the feet’ of Jesus, to listen to him while he reveals the secret of everything to us; on the other hand, to be attentive and ready in hospitality, when He passes and knocks on our door, with the face of a friend who needs a moment of refreshment and fraternity.”
Pope Francis prayed that the Virgin Mary will intercede in granting the Church the grace to love and serve God and others “with the hands of Martha and the heart of Mary.”