Pope talks about John the Baptist ‘passing the baton’ to Jesus, speaks about homelessness

At the Angelus, Pope Francis explains Jesus’s first announcement: time fulfilled and conversion. Life “is a gift of God's infinite love, but is also the time to prove our love for Him,” he said. The pontiff also recited a silent prayer for Edwin, a 46-year-old homeless Nigerian man who died from exposure near St Peter's Basilica. Tomorrow an ecumenical prayer will be held at St Paul outside the walls. Francis urges journalists “to go and see even where no one wants, to bear witness to the truth”.

 


Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis introduced his reflection before today's Angelus prayer by citing today’s Gospel (Mark 1: 14-20) in which we have “the ‘passing of the baton’ from John the Baptist to Jesus. John was His precursor; he prepared the terrain and the way for Him: now Jesus can begin his mission and announce the salvation by now present.”

Due to sciatica pain, the Holy Father was unable to preside over the morning Mass, dedicated to the Sunday of the Word of God. However, he led the Marian prayer from the library of the Apostolic Palace. After the Angelus, Francis prayed for a homeless Nigerian man who died from exposure near the Vatican.

For the Pope, Jesus’s message in today's Gospel invites us to reflect on two topics: “time and conversion”.

The “time ‘fulfilled’ is that in which this salvific action reaches its pinnacle, its full realization: it is the historical moment in which God sent his Son into the world and his Kingdom is rendered ‘closer’.”

This is followed by “conversion,” which entails a “change in mindset and a change in life” so that we “no longer follow the examples of the world but those of God, who is Jesus. It is a decisive change of view and attitude.”

“In fact, sin brought into the world a mindset that tends toward the affirmation of oneself against others and against God, and for this purpose it does not hesitate to use deceit and violence.”

“For each one of us the time in which we are able to receive redemption is brief: it is the duration of our life in this world.” Francis then mentioned what an elderly man told him on his death bad: “How time flies!”

Life “is a gift of God's infinite love, but it is also the time to prove our love for Him. For this reason every moment, every instant of our existence is precious time to love God and neighbour, and thereby enter into eternal life.”

Francis ended saying, “May the Virgin Mary help us to live each day, each moment as the time of salvation, in which the Lord passes and calls us to follow him. And may she help us to convert to from the mentality of the world to that of love and service.”

After the Marian prayer, the pontiff said first that today's Sunday is dedicated to the Word of God, urging everyone to rediscover the Holy Scriptures. To this end, he quoted the famous words of Saint Jerome: “To ignore Scripture is to ignore Christ”.

Right afterwards, he called for a silent prayer in memory of Edwin, a 46-year-old homeless Nigerian man who died of exposure last Wednesday, not far from St Peter's Basilica. The pontiff noted that when a poor man died in Rome from the cold, Pope St Gregory the Great did not have Mass celebrated because it was “like Good Friday”.

The Pope then asked everyone to join together spiritually for the ecumenical prayer that will be held tomorrow evening at the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls.

Lastly, since today is the Memorial of St Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists, Francis cited his Message for World Communications Day which he made public yesterday, urging journalists “to go and see even where no one wants, to bear witness to the truth.”

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