Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The season of Lent is a time
when "we build a temple to God in our lives," but the question is whether
we "allow Him to 'cleanse' our hearts and to drive away the idols ... that
perhaps have taken root there?" This was Pope Francis message to pilgrims
gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus today. After the Marian prayer,
the Pope also greeted all the women on the occasion of today, March 8,
International Woman's Day.
The Pope first commented the Gospel of the third Sunday of Lent (B, Jn. 2: 13-25), which presents us with the episode of the cleansing of the Temple, according to John (2.13 to 25). Jesus " He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, " (Jn 2:15).
"This gesture- he explained - and its' prophetic message is fully understood in the light of his Easter. ...: His body, destroyed by the violence of sin on the Cross, in the Resurrection will become the universal meeting place between God and men. The Risen Christ is the meeting place between God and humanity. For this his humanity is the true temple, where God is revealed, speaks, meets us; and the true worshipers, the true worshippers, of God are not the guardians of the material temple, the holders of power and religious knowledge, but those who worship God "in spirit and truth" (Jn 4:23).
"In this Lenten season - he added - we are preparing for the celebration of Easter, when we renew the promises of our Baptism. We walk in the world like Jesus and make our entire existence a sign of His love for our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest and the poorest, we build a temple to God in our lives. And so we make him "reachable"" for many people who we find on our way. If we are witnesses to Risen Christ many people will meet Him in our lives".
Then departing from the prepared text, he said: "But
- we ask ourselves and each of us must ask - But - we wonder - does the Lord truly feel at home
in our lives? Do we allow him to do "cleanse" our hearts and to drive
away the idols; (that is our attitudes,
of jealousy ,worldliness, envy hearted. That habit of gossiping, of speaking badly
of others, do I allow Him to cleanse me of those attitudes against God, others
myself, as we heard today in the First Reading? Each of us should answer this
question in the silence of our hearts, do I allow God to cleanse my heart)".
"Father, but I'm afraid! Do not be afraid, Jesus never whips us, He cleanse us gently, with love with mercy. Mercy is His way of cleansing our hearts. Each of us must let God enters our heart with Mercy. Jesus' whip is his mercy. Let us open the door to let him do some 'cleansing".
"Every Eucharist - he concluded - Each Eucharist we celebrate with faith makes us grow as a living temple of the Lord, through communion with his Body, crucified and risen. Jesus knows what is in each of us, and knows even our most ardent desire: to be inhabited by Him, Him alone. Holy Mary, privileged abode of the Son of God, accompany and sustain us on our Lent journey, so that we can rediscover the beauty of the encounter with Christ, which frees us and saves us".
After the Angelus prayer, Francis greeted all women, on the feast of March 8. "Today, March 8 - he said - I greet all women [loud applause from the crowd] women who every day seek to build a more human and welcoming society. And a fraternal thanks to those who in a thousand ways bear witness to the Gospel and work in the Church. And this is an opportunity for us to reaffirm the importance of women and the need for their presence in life. A world where women are marginalized, is a world that is sterile. Women not only bring life but allow us to see beyond ... ".
The pontiff also had another Lenten invitation: "During Lent, let us try to draw closer to the people who are going through difficult times: close to them with affection, prayer and solidarity."