Around 15,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square to listen to the Pontiff. Photo: Vatican Media

What do Jesus’ movements in the Gospel communicate to us about God? Pope responds

Allocution on the occasion of the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, February 4, 2024

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 02.04.2024).- At noon on Sunday, February 4, Pope Francis delivered the traditional Sunday address followed by the recitation of the Marian prayer, the Angelus. Around 15,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square to listen to the Pontiff. We offer here a translation of the Pope’s message, which, as usual, revolved around the Gospel of the day (Mark 1:29-39).


The Gospel of today’s Liturgy shows us Jesus on the move: indeed, He has just finished preaching and, after leaving the synagogue, He goes to Simon Peter’s house, where He heals his mother-in-law; then, towards the evening, He goes out again towards the city gates, where He meets many sick and possessed people and heals them; the morning after, He gets up early and goes out to withdraw in prayer; and finally, He sets out again across Galilee (cf. Mk 1:29-39). Jesus on the move.



Let us look at this continual movement of Jesus, which tells us something important about God and, at the same time, challenges us with some questions on our faith.

Jesus goes towards wounded humanity and shows us the face of the Father. It may be that within us there is still the idea of a distant, cold God, indifferent to our fate. On the contrary, the Gospel lets us see that Jesus, after teaching in the synagogue, goes out, so that the Word He has preached may reach, touch and heal people. By doing this, He reveals to us that God is not a detached master who speaks to us from on high; on the contrary, He is a Father filled with love who makes Himself close to us, who visits our homes, who wants to save and liberate, heal from every ill of the body and spirit. God is always close to us. God’s attitude can be expressed in three words: closeness, compassion and tenderness. God makes Himself close to accompany us, tenderly, and to forgive us. Do not forget this: closeness, compassion and tenderness. This is God’s attitude.

Jesus’ incessant walking challenges us. We might ask ourselves: have we discovered the face of God as the Father of mercy, or do we believe and proclaim a cold God, a distant God? Does faith instil in us the restlessness of journeying or is it an intimist consolation for us, that calms us? Do we pray just to feel at peace, or does the Word we listen to and preach make us go out, like Jesus, towards others, to spread God’s consolation? It will be good for us to ask ourselves these questions.


Fedeli in piazza San Pietro


Let us look, then, at Jesus’ journeying and remind ourselves that our first spiritual task is this: to abandon the God we think we know, and to convert every day to the God Jesus presents to us in the Gospel, who is the Father of love and the Father of compassion. The Father who is close, compassionate and tender. And when we discover the true face of the Father, our faith matures: we no longer remain “sacristy Christians”, or “parlour Christians”, but rather we feel called to become bearers of God’s hope and healing.

May Mary Most Holy, Woman on the way, help us to proclaim ourselves the witness of the Lord who is close, compassionate and tender.

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