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Pope during the Sunday Angelus Pope during the Sunday Angelus  (ANSA)

Pope Angelus: Take away the stones to new life

During the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis calls on Christians to take away the stones from their hearts, and let the Word of God restore life where there is death.

By Vatican News

During his Angelus, on this fifth Sunday of Lent, livestreamed from the Library of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis took inspiration from the day’s Gospel; the resurrection of Lazarus.

The Pope recalled the desperation of Martha and Mary who said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died’.

Pope Francis reflected that Jesus, according to the Gospel, is moved by the tears of the sisters and cries aloud for Lazarus to come out of the tomb, which he does, wrapped in strips of linen.

God gives life and takes life

The Pontiff noted that in the Gospel passage, “we are able to touch with our hand the fact that God is life and gives life, yet takes on the drama of death.”

“Jesus could have avoided the death of His friend Lazarus”, explained the Pope, “but He wanted to share in our pain for the death of people dear to us, and above all He wished to demonstrate God’s dominion over death.”

 In the Gospel, said Pope Francis, “we see that man’s faith and the omnipotence of God’s love seek each other and finally meet.”

Amid grief, continue to have faith

God’s response to the women’s cry of ‘if you had been here’, is not a speech, Pope Francis underlined; it is Jesus saying, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’… have faith.

“Amid grief, continue to have faith, even when it seems that death has won. Take away the stone from your heart! Let the Word of God restore life where there is death”.

Take away the stone

The Pope pointed out, that even today “Jesus repeats to us: ‘Take away the stone’”.

“Therefore, Pope Francis continued, “we are called to take away the stones of all that smacks of death”, such as the marginalization of the poor, and the hypocrisy with which faith is lived.

“The Lord asks us to take away these stones from our hearts”, said the Pope, “and life will then flourish again around us.”

In conclusion, Pope Francis prayed that “the Virgin Mary would help us to be compassionate like her Son Jesus, who made our pain His own”. “May each of us”, the Pope said, “be close to those who are in difficulty, becoming for them a reflection of God’s love and tenderness, which liberates us from death and makes life victorious.

 

29 March 2020, 12:20