The Vatican

Giving oneself to God and to others, and peace in the Middle East, calls of the Pope

At today's Angelus, the Third Sunday of Lent, the Pope made an appeal to stop the hostilities in Palestine and Israel, and in Ukraine, with a "Enough, please". This is not the way to build peace, he said. He also encouraged us to "make a home" with God, among ourselves and with others, to give ourselves without expecting anything in return, in a trusting way.  

Francisco Otamendi-March 3, 2024-Reading time: 3 minutes
Pope Angelus

Pope Francis at the Angelus on Feb. 25, two years after Russia's offensive in Ukraine @CNS/Vatican Media.

In the Angelus of this Third Sunday of Lent, prayed on a windy day from the window of the Apostolic Palace in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father began by noting that "the Gospel shows us today a harsh scene. Jesus drives the merchants out of the temple (cf. Jn 2:13-25). He drives out the sellers, overthrows the tables of the money changers and warns everyone, saying: 'Do not make my Father's house a marketplace.

In the temple understood as a marketplace, the Pontiff explained, "to be at peace with God it was enough to buy a lamb, pay for it and consume it on the embers of the altar. Buy, pay, consume, and then everyone went home. 

"In the temple, understood as a house, the opposite happens: we go to visit the Lord, to be united to Him and to our brothers and sisters, to share joys and sorrows. Moreover, in the market one gambles with the price, at home one does not calculate; in the market one seeks one's own interest, at home one gives freely".

Pray a lot as children, more house and less market.

"Jesus is hard today because he does not accept that the temple-market replaces the temple-house, he does not accept that the relationship with God be distant and commercial instead of close and full of trust, that stalls replace the family table, prices replace hugs and coins replace caresses. For in that way a barrier is created between God and man, and between brother and brother, whereas Christ came to bring communion, mercy and closeness".

The invitation of the Pope Francis is "for our Lenten journey: to make in ourselves and around us more of a home and less of a marketplace, first of all with regard to God. How? By praying a lot, as children who, without tiring, knock with confidence at the door of the Father, not as greedy and distrustful merchants".

Spreading fraternity, let's take the first step

And then, he continued, "spreading fraternity. It is much needed. Let us think of the uncomfortable, isolating, sometimes even hostile silence that is found in many places. For example, in the means of transport: everyone enclosed in their own thoughts, alone with their problems, with their ears blocked by headphones and their eyes buried in their cell phones. A world in which not even a smile or a comment is given for free", he denounced.

"Let us take the first step," the Pope encouraged. "Let us say hello, let us give up our seat, let us say something kind to the person next to us: even if they don't answer us or someone looks at us badly, we will have made a home. And this can be valid for many other circumstances of daily life.

In concluding, he encouraged us to ask ourselves, as he usually does. "And how are my relationships with others? Do I know how to give without expecting anything in return? (...) May Mary help us to "make a home" with God, among ourselves and around us".

Urgent appeal for peace in the Holy Land and Ukraine

After praying the Marian prayer of the Angelus, Francis opened his heart to reveal that "I carry daily in my heart and with sorrow the daily situation of the people of the world. Palestine e IsraelWith thousands of dead, people devastated, the immense destruction caused," I think of the defenseless who see their future compromised. "Do you really think of building a better world in this way? Do you really think about achieving peace? Enough, please, enough," he repeated, to the applause of the faithful in St. Peter's.

"Stop" he has cried out, have the courage to continue negotiations throughout the region, "so that all hostages are released" and reach their families, and "so that the population can have safe access to all humanitarian goods".

"And please, let's not forget about the martyred Ukraine, there is so much pain there." 

Disarmament is a moral duty

The Pope then recalled that the Second Disarmament Awareness Day will be held on March 5. How many economic resources are wasted and continue to increase! "I wish the international community to understand that disarmament is a moral duty, and this requires the courage of all members of the great family of nations", to move from the balance of fear to disarmament.

Finally, the Pontiff greeted some groups of pilgrims present, students from Portugal, groups from Badajoz, from Poland, young people who will receive Confirmation in Italian dioceses, faithful from Padua, and young Ukrainians from the community of Sant'Egidio gathered under the theme "Doing evil with good", thank you for what you do for those who suffer most from war, he said. He concluded by asking them "not to forget to pray for me", as he always does.

The authorFrancisco Otamendi

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