VATICAN CITY — During his Mass celebrating the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Pope Francis emphasized that salvation is a gift from the Lord that we ought to receive with humility and obedience, just as Mary did.
“In order to receive this salvation, we need a humble heart, a meek heart, an obedient heart, like that of Mary,” the Pope affirmed in his March 25 daily Mass.
Addressing those gathered in the Vatican’s St. Martha guesthouse chapel, the Holy Father recalled the story of Adam and Eve, noting that it was out of pride that they disobeyed God and ate the fruit he had forbidden them, explaining that it was Mary who untied this knot of disobedience with her own act of obedience.
“The Lord is walking alongside his people,” the Pope reflected, asking, “And why does he walk alongside them with so much tenderness? It’s to soften our hearts.”
Observing how Jesus explicitly says, “I will make your heart of stone become a heart of flesh,” the Pope repeated that the Lord’s tenderness is “to soften our hearts to receive a promise he made in heaven.”
“Sin entered among mankind, but from another man comes salvation,” he continued, adding that “this very long road will help all of us to have a more human heart, closer to God, not so proud, not so self-sufficient.”
Reflecting on how the day’s liturgy demonstrates the various stages along the road of recovery from sin, the Holy Father also expressed that it speaks to us of both obedience and meekness regarding the word of God.
“Salvation cannot be bought or sold: It’s a gift. It’s given to us; it’s free. We can’t be saved through ourselves: Salvation is a totally free gift,” the Pope emphasized.
Highlighting how “it’s not bought through the blood of bulls or goats:;it can’t be bought,” Pope Francis stated that in order to receive this salvation, we need “a humble heart, a meek heart” and “an obedient heart, like that of Mary.”
“And the model for this road towards salvation is the same God, his Son, who didn’t consider being equal to God” something to be grasped, the Pope observed, adding that “Paul said this.”
Continuing, Pope Francis stressed the need of walking along the road of humility with “obedience and meekness in our hearts,” and he encouraged those present to give thanks to the Father, who gave his only Son “in order to save us.”
“This is the God who is waiting for us every day,” he affirmed. “Let’s look at the icon of Eve and Adam; let’s look at the icon of Mary and Jesus.”
Bringing his reflections to a close, the Holy Father urged all to “look at the road of history with God, who walks alongside his people,” and to say to God, “Thank you. Thank you, Lord, because today you told us that you have given us salvation.” He added: “Today is a day to give thanks to the Lord.”