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Grow closer to God through the Gospels, Pope urges

In his Angelus address to crowds gathered in St. Peter's Square in the Vatican Sunday, Pope Francis utilized the Sunday Gospel this week, which on the Second Sunday of Lent always recounts the Transfiguration of Christ, to reflect on the need to listen more clearly to the voice of God in our lives. "When we hear the Word of God, listen to the Word of God and have it in our heart, that Word grows. And do you know how it grows? Giving it to others! The Word of Christ in us grows when we proclaim it, when we give it to the others!” the Pontiff declared to the crowds.

Pope Francis says that we can and should grow closer to Christ by reading the Gospels.
Pope Francis says that we can and should grow closer to Christ by reading the Gospels.
Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

The Pope reminded the people that this passage of the Gospel traditionally marks the second weekly "stage" of the Church's journey through Lent, with the first being last week's passage about Christ being tempted in the desert. In the Gospel this week, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with him up Mount Tabor, where he is transfigured, and they see him speaking with Moses and Elijah about his coming Passion and death. “The mountain represents the place of the closeness with God and of intimate encounter with him; the place of prayer, where the presence of the Lord is,” Francis recounted, saying that when Jesus is transfigured “his face is so bright and his garments so white, that Peter is dazzled, so much so that he would like to stay there.” The voice of the Father then comes in a cloud and says "this is my beloved Son, listen to him," the Pope taught. “this word is important! Our Father has said this to the apostles and also says it to us: ‘Listen to Jesus, because he is my beloved Son!’”

“It is not the Pope who says this, God the Father says it, to all: to me, to you, to all! As a help to go forward in the path of Lent. ‘Listen to Jesus!’ Don’t forget,” said Francis. We must be close to Jesus to follow him, explained the Pope, sharing that Christ brought his teachings, the teachings given to him by the Father, through the streets.”

“I’ll ask you a question” he inquired of the crowd gathered, “do you read a passage of the Gospel everyday?” Listening to the response of the crowd, the Pope said “yes, no…yes, no…half and half. Some yes and some no.”

“But it’s important! Do you read the Gospel? It’s good,” said the Pontiff, “it’s a good thing to have a little Gospel, small, and take it with us, in our pocket, in our purse, and read a small passage in any moment of the day.” The Holy Father prayed that all might listen for God's voice and announce the Good News of Jesus "in fraternal charity."