Welcoming Those Who Are "Shipwrecked"
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
In our continuing catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, we see the Gospel preached not only on land but also at sea, as Paul, now a prisoner, is taken by ship to Rome. From Crete, Paul warns the crew of the risk of further travel, yet they carry on into a near fatal storm. Paul encourages all on board not to be afraid, and recounts how an angel has told him that they will arrive in Rome. In this way, Jesus’ promise that his disciples would become his witnesses “to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8) would be fulfilled. Landing on Malta, the travellers experience “unusual kindness” from the people of that place, but hazards too, as Paul is bitten by a viper. He himself is unharmed, and during his stay on the island he heals many of the sick. Paul’s sea voyage, full of peril and salvation, can serve as a symbol of God’s providential care for us through our passage from death to life in the waters of baptism. May the Lord sustain us in our own trials and open our hearts to those who today experience shipwreck and arrive on our shores. May they find in us that fraternal love born of our saving encounter with Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis General Audience January 8, 2020