VATICAN CITY (CNS) — After leading thousands of pilgrims in praying the Angelus, Pope Francis offered prayers for flood victims in Texas and Louisiana following a devastating hurricane that caused massive flooding.
He also prayed for flood victims in Asia where monsoon rains have killed thousands in Bangladesh, India and Nepal and displaced millions of people.
“While I renew my spiritual closeness to the people of southern Asia, who still suffer the consequences of the floods, I want to express my heartfelt participation in the sufferings of the inhabitants of Texas and Louisiana struck by a hurricane and by exceptional rains that have caused victims, thousands of displaced and considerable material damage,” the pope said Sept. 3.
Hundreds of thousands were displaced in Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey made landfall Aug. 26. In the same week, floods and landslides in southern Asia killed more than 1,000 people and affected an estimated 41 million people, the United Nations reported.
Invoking the intercession of Mary, “consoler of the afflicted,” the pope prayed that she would “obtain from the Lord the grace of comfort for our brothers and sisters” affected by the floods.
In his address before reciting the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading from St. Matthew in which Jesus rebukes Peter for opposing his death on the cross.
“Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do,” Jesus said to Peter.
Peter, the pope explained, turned from the rock upon which Christ wanted to build his church to “a stumbling block on the path of the Messiah.”
Christians today face the same temptation of “wanting to follow Christ without the cross, or even of wanting to teach God the right path.”
“Jesus reminds us that his way is the way of love and there is no true love without self-sacrifice,” the pope said. “We are called to not allow ourselves to be absorbed by the vision of this world but to always be more aware of the need and effort for us Christians to walk uphill and against the current.”
The wisdom of Jesus’ call to gain life by losing it, the pope continued, challenges the “egocentric mentality and behaviors” that lead men and women to a “sad and sterile existence” that comes from only protecting and fulfilling themselves.
“May Mary Most Holy, who followed Jesus to Calvary, accompany us also and help us not to be afraid of the cross,” he said. May all accept “the cross of suffering for love of God and of our brothers and sisters because this suffering, by the grace of Christ, is fruitful with the resurrection.”
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103