At the Regina Caeli Francis stresses the importance of listening, as followers, to Christ's words: "An engaging not superficial, listening, to enable a true mutual knowledge". After the Marian prayer, the Pope thanks people for their prayers for his recent visit to Lesbos with Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Hieronymus: "The unity in the charity of all the disciples of the Lord". The Pope speaks of a young Muslim man whose wife was slain by terrorists because she was a Christian: "She was a martyr, and he was crying so much." A prayer for the victims of the earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - No one can be said to be a follower of Jesus if they do not listens to his voice: "And this 'listening' should not be understood in a superficial way, but engaged to enable true mutual understanding which alone can give rise to a generous imitation ". Those who listen are safe: "Our life is fully safe in the hands of Jesus and the Father, who are One: one love, one mercy, revealed once and for all in the sacrifice of the Cross”, said Pope Francis this morning before the Regina Caeli prayer.
Commenting on the Gospel of John on the feast of the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, the Pope pointed out that Jesus "is presented as 'the Good Shepherd' and says," My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can take them out of my hand". These words help us to understand that no one can be said to be a follower of Jesus, if they do not listen to His voice. And this 'listening' should not be understood in a superficial way, but engaged to enable true mutual understanding which alone can give rise to a generous following, expressed in the words "and they follow me." It is not only a listening ear, but a listening heart! ".
Jesus wants to establish a close relationship with each of us: "He is our guide, our teacher, our friend, our model, but above all is our Savior. In fact, the next sentence of the Gospel says: "I give them eternal life and they shall never perish, and no one can take them out of my hand." Who can speak like that? Only Jesus, because the 'hand' of Jesus is one with the 'hand' of the Father, and the Father is that "most of all".
These words "convey a sense of absolute security and immense tenderness. Our life is fully safe in the hands of Jesus and the Father, who are One: one love, one mercy, revealed once and for all in the sacrifice of the Cross. To save the lost sheep, that is, all of us, the pastor became lamb and let himself be sacrificed to take upon himself and take away the sin of the world ".
That is why we no longer need fear, because "our life is saved from perdition. Nothing and no one can take us from the hands of Jesus. Christ’s love is invincible. Evil, the great enemy of God and of His creatures, trying in many ways to take our eternal life. But the evil one cannot do anything if we do not open the doors of our soul, follow his deceptive flattery ".
Immediately after the Marian prayer, Francis thanked "those who have accompanied the visit that I made yesterday in the island of Lesvos, Greece with prayer. I brought the refugees and the Greek people the solidarity of the Church. They I joined the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and all Greece, signifying unity in the charity of all the disciples of the Lord. We visited one of the refugee camps were people from Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Africa ... For many countries live. We greeted about 300 of these refugees, one by one. All three, Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop Ieronymos and I. So many of them were children some of them, these children have witnessed the death of their parents and peers. Some of them drowned in the sea. I saw so much pain! I want to tell you of a particular story: a young man, not even 40 years old. I met him yesterday with his two sons: he is a Muslim, and he told me he was married to a Christian girl. They loved each other, and respected each other. But unfortunately this girl was slaughtered by the terrorists because she would not deny Christ and abandon her faith. She is a martyr. And the man was crying so much".
Pope Francis continued, "a violent earthquake struck Ecuador, causing many casualties and extensive damage. We pray for those populations; and also to those of Japan, where there were also some earthquakes in recent days. May the help of God and neighbor give them strength and support".
A special thought to the World Day of Prayer for Vocations which falls today: "We are invited to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. And on this day this morning I ordained eleven new priests. I renew my greeting to the new priests, to their families and friends; and I urge all priests and seminarians to take part in the Jubilee, in the first three days of June. And to you young people, boys and girls who are in the streets, think about whether the Lord is also calling you to consecrate your life to his service in the priesthood or in consecrated life. "
Finally, Francis expresses closeness "to the many families worried about the labor issue. I think in particular of the precarious situation of the Italian Call Center workers: I hope that the dignity of the human person will always prevail over everything. And not personal interests! I wish you all a good Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye! ".