The Vatican

"Let us not take our eyes off Jesus" Francis asks at Angelus

The Pope led the Angelus prayer. Although yesterday the Pope canceled his commitments due to a flu, Francis did not want to miss his Sunday appointment, the first after his spiritual exercises.

Maria José Atienza-February 25, 2024-Reading time: 2 minutes

A cold but clear Sunday in Rome accompanied the Pope's words to the hundreds of faithful who gathered in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican to accompany the Holy Father at the Angelus prayer.

The Pope referred to the episode of the Transfiguration, which appears in the Gospel of the second Sunday of Lent corresponding to chapter 9 of Mark.

The Pope focused his attention on how "Jesus took Peter, James and John with him, climbed a high mountain and there he manifested himself physically in all his light. The preaching of the Kingdom, the forgiveness of sins, the healings and the signs performed were in reality sparks of a greater light: the light of Jesus, the light that is Jesus. And from this light the disciples must never turn their eyes away, especially in times of trial".

The glory of the Lord, of which he makes these three Apostles sharers, is the goal of every Christian, as the Pope wanted to remind us, who is also called "to keep always before his eyes the radiant face of Christ". 

How is it possible to keep our eyes fixed on this light, to know where to place our gaze? The Pontiff wanted to highlight various ways: "prayer, listening to the Word, the Sacraments, especially Confession and the Eucharist. But it also helps us to look people in the eye, learning to see the light of God in everyone and cultivating the ability to be amazed by this beauty that shines in everyone, without excluding anyone", and he encouraged Christians, during this Lent, to "cultivate open eyes, to become 'seekers of light', seekers of the light of Jesus in prayer and in people".

Two years of war in Ukraine

After the Angelus prayer, the Pope's remembrance turned to the "martyred Ukrainian people," noting the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. A war that "is not only devastating that region of Europe, but is unleashing a worldwide wave of fear and hatred."

The Pope wanted to pray "especially for the many innocent victims, I pray for the rediscovery of that bit of humanity that creates the conditions for a diplomatic solution in search of a just and lasting peace".

Prayer for Israel and Palestine

More recent, but equally hard and present in the Pope's heart, is the conflict in Israel alone. This Sunday, Francis wanted to add to his prayer for "Palestine, for Israel and for the many peoples devastated by war, and to concretely help those who suffer!" Nor did he want to forget Congo, Nigeria - where Christians have been suffering a violent persecution for months - and Mongolia, hit by a wave of low temperatures in which the Pope sees "a sign of climate change and its effects".

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