“Give a caress your childrens and say: this is the caress of the Pope!” How many encyclicals have come out of those same buildings where, fifty years ago – the October 11, 1962 – St. John XXIII gave his famous sermon on the “moon”. Many encyclicals, perhaps all of them, are unknown to the people. The simple and strong words of John XXIII are instead engraved deeply not only among the people of that time, but also many people today still clearly remembers that speech and with pleasure.
The pope’s reference to the “moon” was certainly due to the fact that just before the eyes of the Pope, there was a beautiful full moon in the sky that lit up the crowd convened in St. Peter’s Square . The “moon” symbolically indicates a transformation or a transition between what came before and what comes after. So the reference to the moon was entirely appropriate, since that very day John XXIII had opened the Second Vatican Council, which would have changed the life of the Church. But only a few today know the occasion of the speech “on the moon” … white people remember with pleasure the content of that speech :
Today, those words of tenderness and love are daily spoken. In fact, Francis does always recalls the great mercy of God, his love for all. God’s love doesn’t discriminate, doesn’t judge, but it emebrace e everything and everyone, because God – as the Bible says – is love. The style of St. John XXIII is very similar to that of Francis, because Francis also uses a language that reach immediately everyone, while launching bitter words against hypocrisy and hypocrites, who destroy God’s work on earth.
We can only hope that Pope Francis may live long and that God grant him health and strength not to inagurate a new council, but to act a reform that – in my opinion – will give full expression and realization of many insights of the Council that, until a few years ago, unfortunately, had remained a dead letter.
In this sense, the simple and tender words of John XXIII, in that distant October 11, marked the beginning of a language that have guided the Church to come ever closer to people, rather than to the powerful … from that beginning has developed a totally new phase of Church’s History now obvious to all!