‘What if we turned to our Bible as we do our smart phone?’
Pope Francis asked those in St. Peter’s Square this question during his Sunday, March 6, 2017, Angelus address at noon as he reflected on yesterday’s Gospel showing Jesus, while fasting forty days in the desert, being subjected to the devil’s temptations (Matthew 4:1-11).
Through a threefold temptation, the Jesuit Pope reminded, Satan wants to divert Jesus from the way of obedience and humiliation – “because he knows that, through this way, evil will thus be defeated.”
“However, the devil’s poisonous arrows are all ‘stopped’ with the shield of the Word of God,” Francis observed, noting that in this way, Jesus comes out of the desert victoriously.
“As Christians, we are invited, during the 40 days of Lent,” Francis said, “to follow in Jesus steps and face the spiritual combat against the Evil One with the strength of the Word of God.”
“Not with our ‘word,’ which is useless,” he added, but with “the Word of God: that has the strength to defeat Satan.”
Therefore, he said, it is necessary to draw confidence from the Bible: to read it often, meditate on it and assimilate it. Francis then pointed out that containing the Word of God, the Bible is always timely and effective.
“Someone said: what would happen if we treated the Bible as we treat our mobile phone? If we always carried it with us, or at least a small pocket Bible, what would happen? If we went back when we forgot it: you forgot your mobile phone – ‘Oh, I don’t have it, I’ll go back to find it’; if we opened it several times a day; what would happen if we read God’s messages contained in the Bible, as we read our phone messages?”
The paragon is clearly paradoxical, he admitted, but pointed out that it still makes us reflect.
“In fact, if we had the Word of God always in the heart, no temptation would be able to estrange us from God and no obstacle would be able to make us deviate from the path of goodness; we would be able to overcome the daily suggestions of evil that are in us and outside of us; we would be more capable of living a resurrected life according to the Spirit, receiving and loving our brothers, especially the weakest and neediest, and also our enemies.”
Before reciting the Angelus, the Pope prayed that the Virgin Mary, “perfect icon of obedience to God and of unconditional trust in His will, sustain us on our Lenten journey, so that we place ourselves in docile listening to the Word of God, to undertake a true conversion of the heart.”
After the midday prayer, and reminding those present to pray for his and the Curia’s week of spiritual exercises, Francis said: “And please, don’t forget – don’t forget! – what would happen if we treated the Bible as we treat our mobile phone. Think about it — the Bible always with us, close to us!”
As usual, Pope Francis concluded, telling those present to have a good Sunday and good lunch.
On Zenit’s Web page: