VATICAN CITY — On Sunday, Pope Francis stressed the sanctity of life and encouraged Christians to fulfill Jesus Christ’s command to be salt of the earth and light of the world.
“May no one be left alone, and may love defend the sense of life,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus remarks Feb. 5 to thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
He cited the words of St. Teresa of Calcutta: “Life is beauty; admire it. Life is life; fight for it.”
“Each life is sacred,” Pope Francis continued. “Let’s pray together for those children who are in danger of interruption of pregnancy and for those who are nearing the end of life.”
The Pope linked his comments to the Italian observance of the Day for Life, which fell on Sunday.
He also reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading, in which Jesus tells his disciples to be salt and light in the world.
“We Christians are recognizable as true disciples of Christ in our actions,” he said. “Thanks to the light of faith, the gift that we have received, we have the duty and the responsibility not to keep it to ourselves, as if it were our property, but to allow it to shine in the world and give it to others through works of charity.”
“The world is much in need of the light of the Gospel that transforms, heals and gives salvation to him who embraces it,” he continued. “Jesus invites us to be a reflection of his light, through the witness of good works.”
“We are the salt of the earth,” the Pope said.
“The mission of Christians in society is that of giving ‘flavor’ to life with the faith and the love that Christ has given us,” he said, encouraging Christians to reject “the polluting germs of selfishness, envy and gossip.”
“These germs ruin the texture of our communities that must be places of welcome, solidarity and reconciliation,” Pope Francis warned. “To fulfill this mission, it is necessary to be free from the corrupting degeneration of worldly influences that are contrary to Christ and to the Gospel.”
He asked the faithful not to let their guard down. Rather, they should seek to purify themselves continuously and regenerate the spirit of the Gospel each day.