Here is a ZENIT working translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
* * *
Before the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today’s Gospel (Lk 13:22-30), presents us with Jesus passing by, teaching through cities and villages, traveling toward Jerusalem, where He knows He must die on the cross for the salvation of all men. In this scenario, a man poses a question to the Lord, saying: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” (v. 23). The issue was debated at the time, and there were different ways of interpreting the Scriptures, in this regard. But Jesus turns the question upside down – as it focuses more on quantity: “They are few? …” – and instead places the answer on the level of responsibility, inviting us to use the present time well. In fact, He says: “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 these words, Jesus makes it clear that it is not a question of number, there is no “quota,” in Paradise! But it is a question of crossing the right path, which exists, for everyone , but it is narrow. That is the question. Jesus does not want to deceive us, saying: “Yes, rest assured, it is easy, there is a beautiful highway and at the end, a big door …” No, Jesus tells us things as they are: the passage is narrow. What do you mean? In the sense that to be saved, one must love God and one’s neighbor, and this is not, comfortable! It is a “narrow door” because it is demanding, it requires commitment, indeed, “effort”, that is to say, a determined and persevering will to live according to the Gospel. St. Paul calls it “the good fight of the faith” (1 Tim 6:12).
And, to better explain himself, Jesus tells a parable. There is a landlord, who represents the Lord. His house symbolizes eternal life, salvation. And here the image of the door returns . Jesus says: “After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from”(v. 25). These people will then try to make themselves known, reminding the landlord that they ate and drank together and that they listened to his teachings on their streets (v. 26). But the Lord will repeat that He does not know them, and calls them “evildoers”. Here’s the problem! The Lord will not recognize us for the titles we have… But Lord I was part of that association, friends with that monsignor, with that cardinal, that group, that priest. Titles do not count. The Lord will only recognize us for a good humble and good life, a life of faith that is translated into works.
For us Christians, this means that we are called to establish a true communion with Jesus, praying, going to church, approaching the Sacraments and nourishing ourselves with His Word. This keeps us in faith, nourishes our hope, revives charity. And so, with the grace of God, we can and must spend our lives for the good of our brothers, fighting against every form of evil and injustice.
May the Virgin Mary help us in this. She went through the narrow door, who is Jesus. She welcomed Him with all her heart and followed Him every day of her life, even when she didn’t understand, even when a sword pierced her soul. For this reason, we invoke her as “Gate of Heaven”; a door that exactly follows the way of Jesus: the door of God’s heart, demanding, but open to all.
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters,
I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims.
I greet in particular the community of the Pontifical North American College, especially the newly arrived seminarians. Dear seminarians, I urge you to spiritually commit and be faithful to Christ, the Gospel and the Magisterium of the Church. Without building on these columns, it will be impossible to really build your vocation. I greet the young people of Azione Cattolica (Catholic Action) from the Diocese of Bologna; the boys of the pastoral unit of Rovato, of the Diocese of Brescia; and those of Ponte Nossa, of the Diocese of Bergamo.
We are all worried about the vast fires that have developed in the Amazon. Let us pray that, with everyone’s commitment, they may be tamed as soon as possible. That ‘lung’ of forest is vital to our planet.
I see there are some of my fellow Argentinians, whom I salute warmly.
I wish you all a good Sunday. And please don’t forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye.[Original text: Italian] [Working Translation by ZENIT Sr Vatican Correspondent, Deborah Castellano Lubov]