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Pope Francis during the Angelus in St Peter's Square Pope Francis during the Angelus in St Peter's Square  (Vatican Media)

Angelus: Pope warns against idolatry, Jesus calls us to happiness

Before the recitation of the Marian Prayer, the Pope reflects on Sunday’s Gospel reading from Luke in which, he says, Jesus in the form of the Beatitudes “opens his eyes to us, makes us see with his gaze, beyond appearances, beyond the surface, and teaches us to discern situations with faith.”

By Lydia O'Kane

Pope Francis explained how Jesus, “declares the poor, the hungry, the afflicted, the persecuted blessed while he admonishes those who are rich, well fed, who laugh and are acclaimed by people. He went on to say that the "woe to you" phrase, “addressed to those who are doing well today, serves to "awaken" them from the dangerous deception of selfishness and open them up to the logic of love, while they still have time.”

The Pope emphasized that “the passage of Sunday’s Gospel, therefore, invites us to reflect on the profound meaning of having faith, which consists in trusting the Lord totally... he alone can give our existence that much desired fullness, yet one that is difficult to achieve.”

The danger of idolatry

He noted that, even today, “there are many who propose themselves as dispensers of happiness”: They promise success in the short term”, Pope Francis said, “great profits to be had, magical solutions to every problem, and so on. And without realizing, it is easy to slip into sin against the first commandment: idolatry, replacing God with an idol.”

“That is why Jesus opens our eyes to reality, ” the Pope stressed, “we are called to happiness, to be blessed, and we become so from now on in the measure in which we put ourselves on the side of God, of His Kingdom, on the side of what is not ephemeral but endures for eternal life.” He continued, “we are happy if we recognize ourselves as needy before God and, if like Him and with Him, we are close to the poor, the afflicted and the hungry.”

The Beatitudes a decisive message

The Beatitudes of Jesus, Pope Francis concluded, “are a decisive message, which spurs us on not to place our trust in material and transitory things, not to seek happiness by following the sellers of smoke, the professionals of illusion.”

The Lord, he said, “helps us to open our eyes, to acquire a more penetrating look at reality, to heal from the chronic myopia that which the worldly spirit infects us. With his paradoxical Word he shakes us up and makes us recognize what really enriches us, satisfies us, gives us joy and dignity.”

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17 February 2019, 12:46