Following the arrest last Friday of Nicaraguan Bishop Rolando Alvarez, there was much expectation that Pope Francis would make some reference in his Angelus address to the situation of the Church in the country. Until now the Holy Father had maintained a surprising silence. As usually happens in this type of situation, the Vatican diplomacy usually acts discreetlywithout being perceived by the public.
His words on the American country have been: "I follow closely with concern and pain the situation in Nicaragua, which involves people and institutions. I would like to express my conviction and my hope that, through an open and sincere dialogue, we can still find the basis for a peaceful coexistence".
In this Sunday's Gospel passage, a man asks Jesus: "Are there few who are saved?" And the Lord answers: "Try to enter through the narrow gate" (Lk 13:24). "The narrow gate is an image that could frighten us" - Pope Francis said - as if salvation were destined only for the chosen few or the perfect. But this contradicts what Jesus has taught us on many occasions; in fact, a little further on, He affirms: "Many will come from East and West, from North and South, to take their place at the banquet of the Kingdom of God" (v. 29). Therefore, this door is
narrow, but it's open to everyone!"
The pontiff explained what this narrow door is: "To enter into the life of God, into salvation, we must pass through him, we must welcome him and his Word (...). This means that the yardstick is Jesus and his Gospel: not what we think.
but what he says to us. So it is a narrow door, not because it is destined for only a few people, but because belonging to Jesus means following him, committing one's life to love, service and self-giving as he did when he passed through the narrow door of the cross. Entering into the project of life that God proposes to us implies limiting the space of selfishness, reducing the arrogance of the
self-sufficiency, lowering the heights of pride and arrogance, overcoming laziness to take the risk of love, even when it involves the cross.
The Holy Father invited the faithful to think of the loving gestures of so many forgiving people. For example, we can think of "parents who dedicate themselves to their children, making sacrifices and giving up time for themselves; those who care for others and not only for their own interests; those who dedicate themselves to the service of the elderly, the poorest and the most fragile; those who continue to work hard, enduring difficulties and perhaps even misunderstanding; those who suffer because of their faith; those who suffer because of their faith; those who are in the midst of the suffering of the poor and those who suffer because of their faith; to those who continue to work hard, enduring difficulties and perhaps misunderstandings; to those who suffer because of their faith, but continue to pray and love; to those who, instead of following their instincts, respond to evil with good, find the strength to forgive and the courage to begin again. These are just a few examples of people who do not choose the wide door of their convenience, but the narrow door of Jesus, of a life given in love. Brothers and sisters, which side do we want to be on? Do we prefer the easy way of thinking exclusively of ourselves or the narrow door of the Gospel, which puts our lives in crisis?
selfishness but makes us capable of welcoming the true life that comes from God? Whose side are we on?"