Vatican City, 16 March 2014 (VIS) – “The Christian's first task is to listen to the Word of God, to listen to Jesus, because He speaks to us, and He saves us with His Word. And He makes our faith stronger and more robust, with his Word”. Pope Francis addressed these words to the faithful who awaited him at 4 p.m. today in the parish of Santa Maria dell'Orazione in Setteville di Guidonia, to the north of the Italian capital. The Pope met with various groups within the parish, in particular the sick and disabled, children and young catechumens preparing to receive their first Communion, Confirmation and Post Confirmation, Neocatechumenal Communities and families with children baptised during recent months. Before beginning the celebration, Pope Francis confessed several penitents.

The Pope's homily focused on the grace of “listening to and watching Jesus”. “Do we keep a copy of the Gospel at home? And each day, do we listen to Jesus in the Gospel, do we read a short passage from the Gospel? Are we afraid of this, or are we unaccustomed to it? Listening to the Word of Jesus to nourish us – this means that the Word of Jesus is the strongest sustenance for the soul: it nourishes our soul and our faith. I recommend that every day you set aside a few minutes to read a good passage from the Gospel and to see what happens there. Hear the voice of Jesus, and that Word of Jesus will enter into our hearts every day and make us stronger in our faith”.

“We are invited to listen to Jesus, and Jesus manifests himself, and in His Transfiguration He invites us to look upon him. And looking at Him purifies our eyes and prepares us for eternal life, for the vision of Heaven. Perhaps our eyes have sickened as they have seen so many things that are not of Jesus, or that are indeed against Jesus: worldly things, things that are not good for the light of the soul. And so this light gradually goes out, and without knowing it we end up in inner darkness, in spiritual darkness, in the darkness that excludes faith; darkness as we are not used to looking at or imagining those things proper to Jesus”.

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