Here is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after praying the midday Angelus today with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Before the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, Good morning!
Today’s Gospel passage invites us to meditate on the theme of salvation. The Evangelist Luke tells us of when Jesus was going toward Jerusalem and along the way, is approached by a man who asks him this question: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”(Luke 13:23). Jesus does not give a direct answer, but he moves the discussion to another level, with a suggestive language, which, at first, perhaps, the disciples did not understand: “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough “(v.24). With the image of the door, He wants to explain to his listeners that it is not a question of numbers, of how many people will be saved. It doesn’t matter how many, but it is important that everyone knows which is the path that leads to salvation: the door.
To go along this path, one must pass through a door. But where is the door? What is it like? Who is the door? Jesus himself is the door. He says in the Gospel of John; “I am the gate” (Jn 10,9). He leads us into fellowship with the Father, where we find love, understanding and protection. But why is this door narrow? One can ask. Why is it narrow? It is a narrow door not because it is oppressive – no, but because it asks us to restrict and limit our pride and our fear, to open ourselves with humble and trusting heart to Him, recognizing ourselves as sinners, in need of His forgiveness. For this [reason], it is narrow: to contain our pride, which bloats us. The door of God’s mercy is narrow but always wide open, wide open for everyone! God has no favorites, but always welcomes everyone, without distinction. A door, that is narrow to restrict our pride and our fear. Open because God welcomes us without distinction. And the salvation that He gives us, is a never-ending stream of mercy, which breaks down every barrier and opens up surprising perspectives of light and peace. The gate is narrow, but always wide open: do not forget this.
Jesus speaks to us today, once again, offering a pressing invitation to come to Him, to cross the threshold of full life, reconciled and happy. He waits for us, no matter what sin we have committed, no matter what, to embrace us, to offer us His forgiveness. He alone can transform our hearts, He alone can give full meaning to our existence, giving us the real joy. Upon entering the gate of Jesus, the door of faith and of the Gospel, we can get out from worldly attitudes, bad habits, by selfishness and by our own closures. When there is contact with the love and mercy of God, there is a real change. And our life is illuminated by the light of the Holy Spirit: an inextinguishable light!
I would like to make a proposal. Let us think now, in silence, for a moment of the things we have inside of us and prevent us from going through the door: my pride, my sins, etc. And then, let us think of the other door, that opens us to the mercy of God, Who is waiting for us, to give forgiveness.
The Lord offers us many opportunities to save and enter through the door of salvation. This door is an opportunity, that must not be wasted: we must not make an ‘academic discourse’ on salvation, as the man who turned to Jesus, but we must seize the opportunities of salvation. Because at a certain moment “the master of the house had arisen and locked the door” (v.25), as mentioned in the Gospel. But if God is good and loves us, why does He close the door at some point? Because our life is not a video game or a soap opera; our life is serious and the goal to achieve is important: eternal salvation.
To the Virgin Mary, Door of Heaven, we ask you to help us seize the opportunities that the Lord gives us to cross the threshold of faith and thus, to enter into a wide road: it is the path of salvation that can accommodate all those who allow themselves to love and be loved. It is love which saves, the love here on earth is a source of happiness to those who, in meekness, patience and justice, forget themselves and give themselves to others, especially the weakest.[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Sad news has reached me about the bloody attack that hit dear Turkey yesterday. Let us pray for the victims, for the dead and the injured, and we ask for the gift of peace for all.
Hail Mary …
I cordially greet all the Roman pilgrims and those from various countries, in particular the faithful of Kalisz (Poland) and Gondomar (Portugal); I would also like to greet in a special way the new seminarians of the Pontifical North American College. Welcome to Rome!
I greet the Most Holy Redeemer Association of Manfredonia, the bikers of Polesine, the faithful of Delianuova and those of Verona, who have come on pilgrimage on foot. I greet the young people of Paddule, who came to help the soup kitchen of Caritas of Rome.
I wish you all a good Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye![Original text: Italian] [Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]