Before praying, the Pope gave the traditional address based on the Gospel of John 3:14-21 Photo: Vatican Media

Pope Francis explains that Jesus did not come to condemn, but to save at Sunday Angelus

Allocution on the occasion of the recitation of the Angelus on Sunday, March 10, 2024

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(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 03.10.2024).- At noon on Sunday, March 10, some 15,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City to pray the Marian prayer of the Angelus with the Pope. Before praying, the Pope gave the traditional address based on the Gospel of John 3:14-21. The following is an English translation of the Pope’s words:


La recita dell'Angelus in Piazza San Pietro

On this fourth Sunday of Lent, the Gospel presents us with the figure of Nicodemus (cf. Jn 3:14-21), a pharisee, “a ruler of the Jews” (Jn 3:1). He saw the signs Jesus performed, he recognized in Him a teacher sent by God, and he went to meet Him by night, so as not to be seen. The Lord welcomes him, converses with him and reveals to him that He came not to condemn, but to save the world (cf. v. 17). Let us pause to reflect on this: Jesus came not to condemn, but to save. This is beautiful!

Often in the Gospel we see Christ revealing the intentions of the people He meets, at times unmasking their false attitudes, such as with the pharisees (cf. Mt 23:27-32), or making them reflect on the disorder of their life, as with the Samaritan woman (cf. Jn 4: 5-42). There are no secrets before Him: He reads them in the heart. This ability could be disturbing because, if used badly, harms people, exposing them to merciless judgements. Indeed, no-one is perfect: we are all sinners, we all make mistakes, and if the Lord were to use His knowledge of our weaknesses to condemn us, no-one could be saved.

But it is not like this. Indeed, He does not need them in order to point the finger at us, but to embrace our life, to free us from sins and to save us. Jesus is not interested in putting us on trial or subjecting us to judgement; He wants none of us to be lost. The Lord’s gaze upon every one of us is not a blinding beacon that dazzles us and puts us in difficulty, but rather the gentle glimmer of a friendly lamp, that helps us to see the good in ourselves and to be aware of the evil, so that we may be converted and healed with the support of His grace.

Jesus came not to condemn, but to save the world. Think of us, who very often condemn others; many times, we like to speak badly, to go in search of gossip against others. Let us ask the Lord to give us, all of us, this merciful gaze, to look at others as He looks at us.

May Mary help us to wish good for one another.

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