Pope Francis gives the Angelus address June 6, 2021./ Credit: Vatican Media/CNA.
God asks us to trust that his love is always at work through our good deeds, even if we do not see the results we had hoped for, Pope Francis said on Sunday.
In his weekly Angelus address June 13, the pope said “even the seed of our good works may seem small; yet, all that is good belongs to God and therefore humbly, slowly bears fruit.”
From a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis commented on the two parables in the day’s Gospel reading from St. Mark.
In the first parable, Jesus compares the kingdom of God to a man who scatters seed on the land; as time passes, the seeds sprout and grow, and the man “knows not how.”
In the second parable, Jesus says the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, “the smallest of all the seeds on the earth,” which, once it is sown “springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”
The pope explained that “this is how God works.”
“Sometimes, the din of the world, together with the many activities that fill our days, prevent us from stopping and seeing how the Lord leads history,” he said. “And yet — the Gospel assures us — God is at work, like a small good seed, which silently and slowly sprouts.”
Slowly, this small seed transforms into a luxurious tree, giving life and refreshment to everyone, he said, just like our own good works have the potential to do.
He said, “the Gospel asks us to take a new look at ourselves and at reality; it asks to have bigger eyes, which know how to see beyond, especially beyond appearances, to discover the presence of God who as humble love is always at work in the terrain of our life and in that of history.”
The good often grows in small, hidden, or even invisible ways, but “with this parable, Jesus wants to instill trust in us.”
According to the pope, it is easy to become discouraged when certain situations make evil seem stronger than goodness. Sometimes we let ourselves “be paralyzed by mistrust when we see that we are committed, but the results do not come and things never seem to change.”
“The weeds of mistrust can also take root in the Church, especially when we witness the crisis of faith and the failure of various projects and initiatives,” he said.
“But let us never forget that the results of sowing do not depend on our abilities: they depend on the action of God,” he emphasized. “It is up to us to sow, with love, commitment, patience. But the strength of the seed is divine.”
He said: “This is our trust, this is what gives us strength to go forward every day with patience, sowing the good that will bear fruit.”
Jesus “teaches us that even everyday things, those that at times all seem the same and that we carry on with distraction or fatigue, are inhabited by the hidden presence of God,” he continued.
“So, we too need attentive eyes, to be able to ‘seek and find God in all things,’ as Saint Ignatius of Loyola liked to say.”
After the Angelus, the pope prayed a “Hail Mary” for the people of the Tigray region of Ethiopia. The war, which broke out in November, has caused widespread famine. According to recent estimates from Tigray, 300,000 children may have died from hunger.
“There is famine today, there is hunger there,” Francis said. “Let us pray together for an immediate end to violence, for food and health assistance to be guaranteed for all, and for social harmony to be restored as soon as possible. In this regard, I thank all those who work to alleviate the suffering of the people. Let us pray to Our Lady for these intentions.”
Pope Francis also called attention to the exploitation of children for work. The International Labor Organization estimates there are over 150 million children exploited for work today.
“Let us all together renew the effort to eliminate this slavery of our times,” he said.
The pope noted the day’s welcoming ceremony in Augusta, Sicily, of the pieces of a ship wrecked in the Mediterranean Sea in April 2015.
Francis called the boat, which was carrying migrants when it wrecked, a “symbol of many tragedies.”
He expressed the desire that it will appeal to consciences and “encourage the growth of a more supportive humanity, that breaks down the wall of indifference.”