On the Narrow Door That Is Christ

Here is the translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after the recitation of the Angelus to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. 

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Dear brothers and sisters, hello!

Today’s Gospel invites us to reflect on the topic of salvation. Jesus going up from Galilee to the city of Jerusalem and along the way someone – the evangelist Luke says – comes up to him and asks him: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” (Luke 13:23). Jesus does not answer the question directly. It is not important to know how many will be saved, rather, it is important to know the way to salvation. This is how Jesus responds to the question: “Try to enter by the narrow door, because many will try to enter but will not succeed” (Luke 13:24). What does Jesus wish to say? What is the door by which we should enter? And why does Jesus talk about a narrow door? The image of the door appears various times in the Gospel and reminds us of the door of a house, of the domestic hearth, where we find security, love, warmth. Jesus tells us that there is a door that permits us to enter into God’s family, in the warmth of the house of God, into communion with him. This door is Jesus himself (cf. John 10:9). He is the door. He is the way of salvation. He leads us to the Father. And the door that is Jesus is never closed, this door is never closed; it is always open and to everyone, without distinction, without exclusions, without privileges, because, as you know, Jesus does not exclude anyone. One might try to tell me: “But, Father, surely I am excluded, because I am a great sinner: I have done ugly things, many ugly things in my life.” No, you are not excluded! Precisely because of this you are preferred, because Jesus prefers the sinner, always, to forgive him. Jesus is always waiting for you, to embrace you, to forgive you. Do not be afraid: he is waiting for you. Wake up, take heart to enter his door. Everyone is invited to enter by this door, to enter the door of faith, to enter into his life, and to let him enter our life, so that he transform it, renew it, give us complete and lasting joy. 

Today we pass by many doors that invite us to enter, promising a happiness that we then realize lasts only an instant, that exhausts itself and has not future. But I ask you: What door do we wish to enter? And who do we want to let in through door of our life? I want to say firmly: let us not be afraid to enter the door of faith in Jesus, to let him enter more and more into our life, to leave behind our egoism, our closedness, our indifference to others, so that Jesus illuminate our life with a light that never goes out. It is not fireworks, it is not a flash! No, it is a tranquil light that lasts forever and gives us peace. This is the light that we encounter if we enter the door of Jesus.

Of course, Jesus is the narrow door, not because it is a place of torture. No, that is not the reason! It is because he asks us to open up our heart to him, to recognize ourselves as sinners in need of salvation, of his forgiveness, of his love, of having the humility to welcome his mercy and be renewed by him. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that being Christians is not having a “label”! I ask you: Are you only Christians by label or are you Christians in truth? Each one answer for himself! Never Christians by label! Christians in truth and of the heart. Be Christians and witness to the faith in prayer, in works of charity, in promoting justice, in doing good. Our whole life must pass through the narrow door that is Christ.

We ask the Virgin Mary, the Door of Heaven, to help us to enter the door of faith, to let her Son transform our existence as he transformed hers to bring everyone the joy of the Gospel.

[Following the recitation of the Angelus the Holy Father greeted those present. Here are his remarks:]

With great suffering and concern I continue to follow the situation in Syria. The growth in violence in a war between brothers, with a multiplication of massacres and atrocities that we have all been able to see in the terrible images of recent days, moves me once again to call in a loud voice for the fighting to cease. It is not conflict that offers a perspectives of hope for resolving problems, but it is the capacity for meeting and dialogue. 

From the depths of my heart, I would like to manifest my nearness in prayer and in solidarity to all the victims of this conflict, to all those who suffer, especially the children, and invite everyone to keep the hope of peace alive. I appeal to the international community to show itself to be more responsive to this tragic situation and to do all it can to help the beloved Syrian nation find a solution to a war that sows destruction and death.

Let us all pray together – everyone together pray to Our Lady, Queen of Peace: Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us. Everyone: Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us.

I greet with affection all the pilgrims who are present: the families, the numerous groups and the Albergoni Association. I especially offer greetings to the Sister Teachers of Saint Dorothy, the young people of Verona, Siracusa, Nave, Modica and Trento; the confirmands of the pastoral groups of Angarano and Val Liona; the seminarians and priests of the Pontifical North American College; the workers of Cuneo and the pilgrims and the pilgrims of Verrua Po, San Zeno Naviglio, Urago d’Oglio, Varano Borghi and Sao Paolo in Brazil. For many people this is the end of summer vacation. I wish everyone a happy and productive return to normal daily life, looking to the future in hope.

I wish everyone a good Sunday and a good week! Have a good lunch and goodbye!

[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]
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