Ahead of praying the Angelus, Pope Francis recalls the greatest “humanitarian catastrophe of our time” and asks the parties involved to show good will, so that they can lay down their arms and give hope to the population. The heart of the Christian faith: “God’s love has found its summit in the gift of the Son to a weak and sinful humanity”. The year dedicated to the “Amoris Laetitia Family” begins on March 19.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – A Hail Mary, a prayer recited with the hundreds of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square at today’s Angelus: this is how Pope Francis commemorated 10 years of the “bloody conflict in Syria”, so much so as to make it the greatest “humanitarian catastrophe of our time”. Again speaking of his “beloved and martyred Syria”, Francis asked the “parties to the conflict” to show “good will”, so that there be “signs of hope for the populations” and they “lay down the weapons, mend the fabric and start the economic recovery” of the country.
Previously, the pontiff, taking his cue from the Gospel of today’s Mass (4th of Lent, B, John 3: 14-21), explained why this Sunday is called “Laetare”, from the antiphon at the beginning of the mass. The Pope asks: “What is the reason for this joy? Today’s Gospel tells us: God “so loved the world that he gave the only Son, so that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life” (John 3:16). This joyful message is the heart of the Christian faith: God’s love has found its summit in the gift of the Son to a weak and sinful humanity “.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus appears as the “Son of man”, because “he was lifted up on the cross and whoever believes in him is healed of sin and lives”.
He is also the “Son of God”: “God in fact sends his Son into the world not to condemn him, but so that the world can be saved through Jesus. The mission of Jesus is a mission of salvation, for all”.
Finally, Jesus is “light”: “the coming of Jesus into the world leads to a choice: whoever chooses darkness will face a judgment of condemnation, whoever chooses light will have a judgment of salvation. The judgement is the consequence of the free choice of each person: whoever practices evil seeks the darkness; whoever seeks the truth, that is, those who practice what is good, come to the light. Whoever walks in the light, whoever approaches the light, does good works. This is what we are called to do with greater dedication during Lent: to welcome the light into our conscience, particularly in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to open our hearts to God’s infinite love, to his mercy full of tenderness and goodness. In this way we will find true joy and be able to rejoice
in God’s forgiveness, which regenerates and gives life. May Mary Most Holy help us not to be afraid of letting ourselves be “thrown into crisis” by Jesus. It is a healthy crisis, for our healing: so that our joy may be full.”.
After the Marian prayer, and the appeal for Syria, Francis recalled that on March 19, the year dedicated to the “Amoris Laetitia Family” begins, to put “the family at the center of the Church and of society”.
Among the various greetings, Francis wished to recall “the Filipinos [present] who are celebrating 500 years of evangelization in the Philippines. Go forward with the joy of the gospel”. This morning, the community of Filipino migrants in Rome celebrated a mass presided over by Francis, together with Card. Tagle and Card. De Donatis.