08/25/2019, 13.35
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Pope: There is no numerus clausus in Paradise, but the passage is narrow

At the Angelus, Pope Francis stressed that “to be saved we must love God and one’s neighbour, and this is not comfortable! It is a ‘narrow gate’.” Mary is the "Gate of Heaven", a gate that follows exactly the form of Jesus: the gate of the heart of God, a heart that is demanding, but open to all." Francis also makes an appeal to save the Amazon forest from fires.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – “There is no ‘numerus clausus’ in Paradise! But it is a question of going through the right passage, which is there for everyone, but it is narrow,” said Pope Francis in his reflection before the recitation of the Angelus together with the pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square. Right after the Angelus, the pontiff appealed for action to stop the fires in the Amazon forest.

The Pope commented on Sunday’s Gospel (21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, C, Luke 13, 22-30), when Jesus, answering someone who had asked him ‘will only a few people be saved’, turned around the question, which focused more on quantity, on 'a few', and answered instead in terms of responsibility, inviting us to use the present time well. Indeed, as Jesus put it: “Strive to enter through the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough” (v. 24).

“Jesus,” Francis went to say, “tells us things as they are: the passage is narrow. How so? To the extent that to be saved one must love God and one's neighbour, and this is not comfortable! It is a 'narrow gate’ because it is demanding; love is always demanding; it requires commitment, indeed, an 'effort', that is a determined and persevering will to live according to the Gospel. Saint Paul says ‘Compete well for the faith’ (1 Tim 6:12). It takes an effort every day, all day long, to love God and others.”

In explaining the parable, in which the master closes the gate and those left outside are turned away, Francis said: "These people then tried to be acknowledged, reminding the landlord that they ate and drunk with him and listened to his teachings in the streets (see v. 26). Still, the Lord again said that he did not know them, and called them ‘evildoers’. That’s the problem! The Lord will acknowledge us not for our titles, . . . titles do not count. The Lord will acknowledge us only for our 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. Thus, with the grace of God, we can and must spend our lives for the good of our fellow humans, fight against every form of evil and injustice.

“May the Virgin Mary help us in this. She went through the narrow gate that 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 gate that follows exactly the form of Jesus: the gate of the heart of God, a heart that is demanding, but open to all.”

Following the Marian prayer and some greetings, the pontiff expressed his concern and that of "everyone" for the fires raging in the Amazon forest. At present, according to some reports, more than 2,500 fires are burning in the Amazon basin. It is not clear whether they were deliberately set or caused by global warming.

Under pressure from international public opinion, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro deployed tens of thousands of soldiers three days ago to stop the fires and keep watch. “Let us pray,” the Pope said, “so that, with the commitment of all, [the fires] might be contained as soon as possible. That forest lung is vital to our planet.”

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