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Pope Francis: Let us thank the Lord for our friends

Pope Francis: Let us thank the Lord for our friends

Pope Francis greets the crowd gathered at St. Peter’s Square on May 5, 2024. / Credit: Vatican Media

Vatican City, May 5, 2024 / 09:30 am (CNA).

Pope Francis asked for a moment of silence as he spoke from the window of the Apostolic Palace on Sunday for people to thank the Lord for their friends.

The pope reflected on the gift of friendship during his Regina Caeli address on May 5.

“Since childhood, we learn how beautiful this experience is: We offer friends our toys and the most beautiful gifts; then, growing up, as teenagers, we confide our first secrets to them; as young people we offer loyalty; as adults, we share satisfactions and worries; as seniors, the memories, considerations, and silences of long days,” the 87-year-old pope said.

“The word of God, in the Book of Proverbs, tells us that ‘Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel’ (Prv 27:9). Let us think a moment of our friends and thank the Lord for them.”

Speaking to the crowd gathered below in St. Peter’s Square on a sunny Sunday in Rome, the pope remarked that Jesus desires to share in this great gift of friendship with us.

“Today the Gospel tells us about Jesus’ words to the apostles: ‘I do not call you servants any longer, but friends,’” he said.

“And today Jesus, in the Bible, tells us that for him we are precisely this, friends: dear people beyond all merit and expectation, to whom he extends his hand and offers his love, his grace, his Word; with whom he shares what is dearest to him, all that he has heard from the Father (cf. Jn 15:15),” he added.

Pope Francis asked people to reflect on whether they feel loved by the Lord as a beloved friend or if Jesus seems like more of a stranger.

“May Mary help us to grow in friendship with her Son and to spread it around us,” the pope said as he began to pray the Regina Caeli prayer in Latin.

The faithful gather in St. Peter’s Square on May 5, 2024. Credit: Vatican Media

At the end of his address, the pope prayed for peace in Ukraine and the Holy Land and offered his solidarity to people affected by the heavy flooding in southern Brazil that has killed at least 60 people.

Pope Francis gave a shoutout to pilgrims visiting Rome from Texas, Chicago, Berlin, and Paris, as well as to the Pontifical Swiss Guards, who will celebrate their swearing-in ceremony on Monday.

The pope also wished a happy Easter to Orthodox Christians and Eastern-rite Catholics who are celebrating Easter this weekend according to the Julian calendar.

“May the risen Lord fill all communities with joy and peace and comfort those who are in trial,” Pope Francis said.

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