Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - Read "a small passage from the Gospel every day" and then "offer it to those we meet": this is Pope Francis' suggestion to faithful this Sunday before the Angelus prayer in front of tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Commenting on the Gospel for the
second Sunday of Lent, which recounts the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9), the
Pope focused on the words that the Father says to the apostles on Mount Tabor,
where the miracle takes place: "Listen to him"
(v. 5) .
"This invitation of the Father is very important", he added. "These are important words, which God says: Listen to him. Listen to Jesus. It's not the Pope who is saying it, God says it. We, the disciples of Jesus, are called to be people who listen to his voice and take his words seriously".
And in unscripted remarks, the Pope added: "We listen to Jesus even in the written word. Let me ask you this question. Do you read a passage from the Gospel every day? ". And after observing the reactions of the crowd, the Pope noted: "Some yes some no, half and half. But it's important. It's a good idea to have a pocket sized Gospel that you can carry with you and read a small passage from at any given time of the day. And there we find Jesus who speaks to us. Think about this, you don't even have to have all four [Gospels], one is enough".
"In this episode of the Transfiguration - he continued - I would like to take up two meaningful elements that I can summarize in two words: ascent and descent. We need to take time out, to climb the mountain in a space of silence, to find ourselves and better hear the voice of the Lord. But we can not stay there! Our encounter with God in prayer propels us back "down the mountain " and back down onto the plain, where we meet many brothers and sisters weighed down by fatigue, injustice, ignorance, material and spiritual poverty. We are called to bear the fruits of our experience with God to these our brothers and sister who are in trouble, sharing with them the treasures of the grace received".
And once again moving away from the prepared script, the Pope added: "When we hear the word of Jesus and we hold it in our hearts, the word of Jesus grows in us ... And when does it grow? When we proclaim, when we give it to others. This is the Church's mission: to listen to Jesus and offer it to others". And in a small question and answer session with the crowds below, the Pope asked: "Will you do that [read the gospel]? Next Sunday tell me if you do: read a short passage from the Gospel every day".
After the Marian prayer, Pope Francis greeted various groups present in the square. Among these, "the Pope John XXIII Community, founded by Don Oreste Benzi, who will hold a special 'Via Crucis' [Way of the Cross] through the streets of Rome next Friday for women victims of trafficking. They are very good, no?"
Another special greeting was to "the many schools from many parts of Italy and other countries." "I can not name them all!". However he made special mention of the "Catholic schools 'Mar Qardakh' in Erbil , Kurdistan , and the Diocese of London in Ontario - Canada".
During the greetings, preceded and followed by a moment of silence, Francis invited all "to pray for the passengers of the plane [missing or hijacked] and their families in Malaysia. We are close to them at this time".