In his address to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis reflected on God’s plan of salvation for humanity.
In the day’s Gospel reading (Mt 22:1-14), Jesus recounts a parable in which a king hosts a marriage feast for his son.
Generosity vs. selfishness
Pope Francis said the parable is an image of the Father’s generosity and extravagant love for humanity.
However, he said, many of the originally-invited guests refuse to show up for the feast. “So often we too put our interests and material things ahead of the Lord who calls us.”
The king, continued the Pope, persists in his desire to share the gifts of his kingdom, ordering his servants to go to the “limits of the roads” to invite whomever they find.
“This is how God reacts: when He is rejected, rather than giving up, He starts over and asks that all those found at the thoroughfares be called, excluding no one.”
Preaching in the peripheries
Pope Francis went on to reflect on the term the evangelist Matthew uses for the “limits of the roads”.
He said the Greek phrase indicates “those points at which the city streets end and the paths begin that lead to the area of the countryside, outside the residential area, where life is precarious.”
It is precisely these people on the peripheries who are excluded from society, added the Pope, which the king invites to his banquet.
“The Church is called to reach the daily thoroughfares, that is, the geographic and existential peripheries of humanity, those places at the margins, those situations in which those who have set up camp are found where and hopeless remnants of humanity live.