Pope Francis visited the Roman Parish of Santa Maria dell’Orazione (Our Lady of the Oration) in the Setteville neighbourhood, calling on the faithful to strengthen their faith by listening to the Word of God.
Upon his arrival in the afternoon, the Holy Father met with several groups from the parish, particularly the sick and disabled, children preparing to receive Communion and Confirmation, and members of the Neocatechumenal communities of the parish. The Pope also confessed several parishioners.
During his homily, the Pope invited the parishioners to listen and watch Christ in the Gospels. “Do we keep a copy of the Gospel at home?” he asked. “And each day, do we listen to Jesus in the Gospel, do we read a short passage from the Gospel? Are we afraid of this, or are we unaccustomed to it?”
“Listening to the Word of Jesus to nourish us – this means that the Word of Jesus is the strongest sustenance for the soul: it nourishes our soul and our faith. I recommend that every day you set aside a few minutes to read a good passage from the Gospel and to see what happens there. Hear the voice of Jesus, and that Word of Jesus will enter into our hearts every day and make us stronger in our faith.”
The Sunday Gospel, which recounted the Transfiguration, is a calling by Christ to look upon Him as He manifests Himself to us. By looking at Him, he stressed, it purifies our eyes, thus preparing us for eternal life.
“Perhaps our eyes have sickened as they have seen so many things that are not of Jesus, or that are indeed against Jesus: worldly things, things that are not good for the light of the soul,” he said. Such distractions can gradually extinguish that light, he said: “Without knowing it we end up in inner darkness, in spiritual darkness, in the darkness that excludes faith; darkness as we are not used to looking at or imagining those things proper to Jesus.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis renewed his call to the faithful to be attentive to the Word of God, inviting them to carry a book of Gospels with them.
“Don’t forget this week, listen to Jesus – and then, next week, you’ll tell me whether you’ve kept that little edition of the Gospels with you, in your pocket or your bag, in order to read a little bit every day,” he said. (J.A.E.)