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Pope distributes Gospels as an encouragement to read God's Word

At his Sunday Angelus message last week, Pope Francis encouraged pilgrims to read the Word of God more faithfully. He even suggested that the faithful get a pocket-sized copy of the Gospels to carry with them wherever they go. At this week's audience for the Sunday Angelus in St. Peter's Square, the Pope followed up on his recommendations by handing out thousands of free pocket copies of the Gospels and urged those present to make a daily habit of reading them. “Last Sunday I suggested that you get a little copies of the gospels, to carry with you during the day, to read often. Then I thought over the ancient tradition of the Church, during Lent, to give the gospel to catechumens preparing for baptism. So today I want to offer to you who are here in the piazza - but as a sign for all - a pocket-sized gospel. They will be distributed to you freely,” the Holy Father told the crowds, “take one, carry it with you: it is truly Jesus who speaks to you,” Francis said to the pilgrims. “This is the word of Jesus!”

Pope Francis handed out free copies of the Gospels at today's Sunday Angelus.
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The Pope said that he understood that some may not want to receive the copies of Sacred Scripture free, or at no cost to them, and may be compelled to insist on a donation, “but let’s do something, in exchange for this gift, do an act of charity, a free gesture of love for another: a prayer for a friend, a reconciliation, something,” the Pontiff suggested. Francis reflected for a few minutes on today's Gospel, which is the raising of Lazarus from the dead by Jesus. “We believe that the life of those who believe in Jesus and follow his commands, after death, will be transformed into a new life, full and immortal. As Jesus was resurrected with his body, but did not return to earthly life, so we will be resurrected with our bodies that will be transformed into glorious bodies,” Pope Francis explained. In addition to helping insure our eternal life if we follow the Lord's commands, the resurrection of Jesus helps us “to get out of the tomb into which our sins have caused us to collapse. He calls us insistently to leave the darkness of prison in which we are confined, contenting ourselves with a false, selfish, mediocre life. ‘Come out!’ he says.”

The Pope said that just as Lazarus was released and unbound from his burial clothes, we should desired to be liberated from the "bandages" of pride. “Our resurrection begins here: when we decide to obey the command of Jesus, coming to the light, to life,” the Pope said

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