God wants to free us from the slavery of sin so badly that he’s downright stubborn in offering salvation, Pope Francis says.
The Pope proposed this reflection today before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Coupled with God’s desire to free us from sin is our own persistence in it, the Holy Father explained, saying that we are all in need of the conversion John the Baptist preaches in today’s Gospel.
Thinking we don’t need conversion is precisely the presumption that shows we do, the Pope said.
“Let us ask,” he invited: “Is it true that in the various situations and circumstances of life, we have in us the same sentiments that Jesus had? Is it true that we feel as Christ felt? For example, when we suffer some evil or some affront, can we react without animosity and forgive from the heart those who ask us for forgiveness? How difficult it is to forgive, eh? How difficult! ‘You’re going to pay for this’ — that phrase comes spontaneously, yes? Or when we are called to share joys and sadnesses, do we know how to truly cry with the one who cries and rejoice with the one who rejoices? Or when we should share our faith, do we know how to do it with courage and simplicity, without being ashamed of the Gospel?”
The Pope explained that these are just some of many questions we should ask, with the answers pointing us to our need for conversion, as John the Baptist preached.
“Today, as then, he admonishes us with the words of the Prophet Isaiah: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord!’ It is a pressing invitation to open the heart and receive the salvation that God incessantly offers, almost stubbornly, because he wants us all to be free of the slavery of sin.”
Sharing our joy
The Pope spelled out a basic tenet of the faith, that “God wants all mankind to be saved through the mediation of Jesus, the only mediator,” saying this has to lead us to evangelization.
“Each one of us is called to make Jesus known to those who still do not know him,” the Holy Father said. “But this is not to proselytize. No. It is to open a door.”
“If Our Lord Jesus has changed our lives, and he changes it every time we draw close to him, how can we not feel a passion to make him known,” the Pope asked. “[…] If we look around us, we find people who would be disposed to beginning — or beginning again — a journey of faith if they were to find Christians who are in love with Jesus. Shouldn’t we be and couldn’t we be these Christians?”
Francis invited the faithful to really ask: “Am I truly in love with Jesus? Am I convinced that Jesus offers me and gives me salvation? And, if I am in love, I have to make him known! But we should be courageous: make low the mountains of pride and rivalry; fill in the valleys dug by indifference and apathy; make straight the pathways of our laziness and our comforts.
“May we be aided in this by Our Lady — who is Mother and who knows how to do it — to bring down the walls and the obstacles that impede our conversion, that is, our journey toward the encounter with the Lord. He alone. Only Jesus can fulfill all the hopes of man!”
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