At today’s Angelus, the Pope said “there is no limit to divine mercy”. Pocket size Gospels were handed out to faithful and the Pope prayed for Rwanda’s dead and for victims of L’Aquila earthquake and the Ebola virus
Francis: “I’m giving you this book of Gospels in exchange for an act of charity”
At today’s Angelus, the Pope said “there is no limit to divine mercy”. Pocket size Gospels were handed out to faithful and the Pope prayed for Rwanda’s dead and for victims of L’Aquila earthquake and the Ebola virus.
We need to free ourselves from selfishness, let the “masks” of sin fall and not settle for mediocrity. This was Francis’ call at today’s Angelus, during which he commented on the Gospel passage describing Lazarus’ resurrection.
According to the Pope, “Jesus’ act of raising Lazarus from the dead shows the extent of God’s Mercy and therefore the extent to which we can convert and change: there is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all! There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all! Remember this phrase. And we can all say it together: “There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all!” “Let us say it together,” the Pope repeated: “There is no other limit to the divine mercy offered to all!” The Lord is always ready to take away the tombstone of our sins, which separate us from Him, the light of the living.”
Lazarus’ resurrection “is the culmination of the wonderful “signs” performed by Jesus: an act too great, too clearly divine to be tolerated by the high priests, who, aware of the fact, make the decision to kill Jesus.”
“On this Word of the Lord,” Francis reminded faithful, “we believe that the life of one who believes in Jesus and follows His commandments, after death will be transformed in a new life, full and immortal. As Jesus rose with His own body, but did not return to an earthly life, so we will rise with our bodies that will be transfigured into glorious bodies. He waits for us next to the Father, and the strength of the Holy Spirit, Who raised Him, will also raise those who are united to Him.”
Francis recalled that “before the sealed tomb of His friend Lazarus, Jesus “cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth” (vv. 43-44). This peremptory cry is addressed to every human person, because we are all marked by death, all of us; it is the voice of One Who is the master of life, one who will all “should have [life] more abundantly.”
Francis used this example to illustrate that “Christ is not resigned to the sepulchres that we have constructed with our choices of evil and death, with our mistakes, with our sins. He is not resigned to this! He invites us, almost orders us, to come out from the tombs into which our sins have plunged us. He calls us insistently to come out of the darkness of the prison in which we are enclosed, contenting ourselves with a false, selfish, mediocre life. “Come forth!” He says. “Come forth!” It is a beautiful invitation to true freedom, to allow us to grab onto these words of Jesus that He repeats to each one of us today, an invitation that allows us to free ourselves from the “bands,” from the bands of pride. Because pride makes us slaves, slaves of ourselves, slaves of so many idols, slaves of so many things. Our resurrection begins here: when we decide to obey the commands of Jesus to come into the light, to life; when the masks fall from our faces — so many times we are masked by sin: the masks must fall! — and we rediscover the courage of our original faces, created in the image and likeness of God.”
After the Angelus, Francis recalled that “tomorrow in Rwanda the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the beginning of the genocide against the Tutsi people will take place. On this occasion I want to express my paternal closeness to the Rwandan people, encouraging them to continue, with determination and hope, the process of reconciliation that has already manifested its fruits, and the commitment to the human and spiritual reconstruction of the country. To all of you I say: Do not be afraid! Construct your society on the rock of the Gospel, on love and concord, because only in this way can an enduring peace be produced. I invoke upon the dear Rwandan nation the maternal protection of Our Lady of Kibeho. I remember with affection the Rwandan bishops who were here in the Vatican this past week. And I invite all of you here, now, to pray to the Madonna, Our Lady of Kibeho.”
“Exactly five years have passed since the earthquake that struck L’Aquila and the surrounding area. In this moment we want to unite ourselves to that community which has suffered so much, that still suffers, struggles, and hopes, with such confidence in God and in the Madonna. Let us pray for all the victims, who live forever in the peace of the Lord. And let us pray for the journey of resurrection of the people of L’Aquila: that solidarity and spiritual renewal might be the strength of material reconstruction.”
Francis also asked faithful to pray “for the victims of the Ebola virus, which has spread in Guinea and in the bordering countries. May the Lord support the efforts combatting the beginnings of this epidemic and ensuring care and assistance for all the needy.”
The Pope greeted those participating in the Congress of the “Movimento di Impegno Educativo” (Movement for Educational Commitment) of Italian Catholic Action. “Investing in education means investing in hope!”
“And now I want to make a simple gesture for you,” the Pope went on to say. “Last Sunday I suggested that all of you should obtain a little book of the Gospels, to carry with you during the day that can be read often.” And then I thought about the ancient tradition of the Church, of giving a book of the Gospels, during Lent, to the catechumens, to those preparing for Baptism. So today I want to offer to you who are here in the Piazza — but as a sign for everyone — a pocket Gospel book.”
“It is distributed to you free of charge. There are places in the Piazza for the distribution… I see them there… there… there… there, there, there. Go to these places and take the Gospel. Take it, carry it with you, and read it every day: it is Jesus Himself Who is speaking to you. It is the Word of Jesus: this is the Word of Jesus.”
“But maybe one or the other of you doesn’t believe this is really free. “But how much is this? What do I have to pay Father?” But let us do something in exchange for this gift: perform an act of charity, a gesture of love given freely, a prayer for an enemy, a reconciliation, something.”
“Today you can also read the Gospel on so many technological devices,” Francis stressed. “You can take the whole Bible with you on a phone, on a tablet. The important thing is to read the Word of God, by any means, but read the Word of God: It is Jesus Who speaks to us there. And welcome it with an open heart. Then the good seed will bear fruit!”
The illustration on the front cover of the tens of thousands of pocket size Gospels Francis had distributed to faithful, is an image of Paradise with some Genesis stories: the frescoes on the dome of the Padua Cathedral baptistery, painted by Giusto de’ Menabuoi between 1375 and 1378.