The Vatican

Pope Francis: "Remaining with Jesus requires the courage to leave".

Pope Francis prayed the Angelus with the faithful on the Sunday of the Word of God. As usual, he gave a brief meditation, this time focusing on the call of the first disciples.

Paloma López Campos-January 22, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes
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Pope Francis during the Angelus meditation (Image: Vatican News English)

On the third Sunday of the Word of God the Pope delivered a meditation before the prayer of the Angelusduring which he reflected on the call to the first ones disciples which is, according to the Holy Father, "the moment of the decisive encounter with Jesus, the moment they will remember for the rest of their lives and which enters into the Gospel. From then on they follow Jesus, and to follow him, they leave everything".

Leave to continue

Francis stresses this idea: to leave in order to follow. "It is always like this with Jesus. One can begin in some way to feel his attraction, perhaps thanks to others. Then the knowledge can become more personal and kindle a light in the heart. It becomes something beautiful to share." This first emotion, sooner or later, becomes a decision to make, for "the time comes when you have to leave everything to follow him."

The Pope says clearly: "Here we have to decide: Do I leave behind some certainties and embark on a new adventure, or do I stay where I am? This is a decisive moment for every Christian, because the meaning of everything else is at stake. If one does not find the courage to set out, one runs the risk of remaining a spectator of one's own existence and living the faith half-heartedly".

The courage to leave

This teaches us that "to remain with Jesus requires the courage to leave. Leave what? Our vices and our sins, of course, which are like anchors that hold us to the shore and prevent us from rowing out into the deep. But we must also give up what prevents us from living fully, such as fears, selfish calculations, the guarantees of being safe by living a mediocre life. And we must also give up the time that is wasted in so many useless things".

Leaving things should not make us sad. The Pope says: "How beautiful it is to leave all this to live, for example, the arduous but rewarding risk of the serviceor devote time to the prayer to grow in friendship with the Lord".

The challenge

Although this is a challenge, "to fulfill life, we must accept the challenge of leaving. And this is what Jesus invites each one of us to do today". In order to help us live this challenge, this invitation of Christ himself, the Pope concludes his meditation with a few questions: "First of all, do I remember a "strong moment" in which I have already encountered Jesus? And something beautiful and significant that happened in my life because I left behind less important things? And today, is there anything that Jesus is asking me to give up? What are the material things, the ways of thinking, the attitudes that I need to leave behind in order to say 'yes' to Him?"

As always, Francis invites us to place ourselves under the protection of Santa Mariaespecially on such vital occasions as this one, so that "she may help us to say, like her, a full yes to God, to know how to leave something behind in order to follow him better.

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