By Alessandro di Bussolo
In his greetings at the end of his General Audience on Wednesday morning, Pope Francis recalled that Jesus is a faithful friend. He said Jesus accompanies us and never disappoints us. In His cross we find "support and comfort in the midst of life's tribulations", the Pope said. Therefore, he invited us to entrust ourselves to the intercession of Saint John Paul II, on the eve of the 15th anniversary of his death.
Jesus is the faithful friend "who fills our lives with happiness, even in difficult times", who "accompanies us and never disappoints". In Him and with Him we are not alone. In His cross our hearts find "support and comfort in the midst of life's tribulations". It was with these words of encouragment that Pope Francis greeted the faithful of different language groups, following his General Audience through various media platforms.
At the beginning of his greeting to the Polish-speaking faithful, the Pope reminded them that today, people are living more and more in fear, “threatened to the very core of their existence”. “I invite you to turn your thoughts to Christ”, the Pope said. “Know that you are not alone. He accompanies you and never disappoints you". He then invited them at this difficult time to entrust themselves to the "Divine Mercy and the intercession of Saint John Paul II, on the eve of the 15th anniversary of his death", which falls tomorrow, April 2.
Looking ahead to Holy Week, Pope Francis invited the Portuguese-speaking faithful to look to the cross on which Jesus died and “endured every tragedy of humanity". He said that we cannot forget “the tragedies of our days, because the Lord's Passion continues through the suffering of mankind". The Pope then said he hoped that through the cross of Christ, their "hearts would find support and comfort in the midst of life's tribulations; embracing the cross as He did”.
Addressing the German speakers, Pope Francis stressed that in this period of trial we contemplate "the face of the Lord” who died for us. There, he said, we can recognise in His cross, through which He conquered all evil, "the source of true hope and joy”.
Then, in his mother-tongue, the Pope greeted the Spanish-speaking faithful, asking them to discover the providence of the Lord “in the events of daily life”. He invited them, specifically, to remember, in these moments of trial and darkness, "all our brothers and sisters who suffer, and those who help and accompany them with love and generosity".
Pope Francis’ final greeting went to the Italian-speakers, and in particular, to the groups, who had planned on being “present today”. These, he said, included a group of young people from the Diocese of Milan".
"Dear young people,” said the Pope, addressing them directly, "even though your pilgrimage to Rome is only virtual, I almost feel as though I can perceive your joyful and noisy presence, made tangible also by the many written messages you have sent me”.
“You have sent so many”, said the Pope, “and they are beautiful!” He then urged them to "always live faith with enthusiasm and not to lose hope in Jesus, the faithful friend who fills our lives with happiness, even in difficult moments".
Finally, the Pope urged that these last days of Lent, may foster "an adequate preparation for the celebration of Easter, leading everyone to an even more heartfelt closeness to Christ".