In his Angelus address on Sunday, the Holy Father focused on a crucial issue surprisingly not given much attention in the Church today: salvation.
Jesus' words on salvation — to "strive to enter through the narrow door" — were not "oppressive", the Pope said, but rather ask us to "restrict and limit our pride and our fear, to open ourselves with humble and trusting heart to Him, recognizing ourselves as sinners, in need of his forgiveness."
He added that the Lord offers us "many opportunities to save ourselves and to enter through the door of salvation” and this door is an "opportunity that must not be wasted."
The Pope ended by urging the faithful to call on the Virgin Mary so that "we seize the opportunities that the Lord gives us to cross the threshold of faith" and so be able "to love and be loved."
"It is love which saves," the Pope concluded, "the love that is already here on earth is a source of happiness to those who, in meekness, patience and justice, forget themselves and give themselves to others, especially the weakest.”
Here below is Vatican Radio's report of his address. The video has been produced by Catholic News Agency.
“Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today's Gospel passage invites us to meditate on the theme of salvation. The Evangelist Luke tells us that Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem and along the way is approached by a man who asks him this question: "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" (Luke 13:23). Jesus does not give a direct answer, but takes the discussion to another level, with suggestive language that at first, the disciples don’t understand: "Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter, but they will not succeed" (v.24 ). With the image of the door, He wants to explain to his listeners that it is not a question of numbers – how many people will be saved. It's not important to know how many, but it is important that everyone knows which is the path that leads to salvation: the door.
To go along this path, one must pass through a door. But where is the door? What is it like? Who is the door? Jesus himself is the door (cf. Jn 10,9). He himself says it, ‘I am the door’ in John’s Gospel. He leads us in communion with the Father, where we find love, understanding and protection. But why is this door narrow? One can ask. Why is it narrow? It is a narrow door not because it is oppressive - no, but because it asks us to restrict and limit our pride and our fear, to open ourselves with humble and trusting heart to Him, recognizing ourselves as sinners, in need of his forgiveness. For this, it is narrow: to contain our pride, which bloats us. The door of God's mercy is narrow but always wide open, wide open for everyone! God has no favorites, but always welcomes everyone, without distinction. A door, that is narrow to restrict our pride and our fear. Open because God welcomes us without distinction. And the salvation that He gives us is an unceasing flow of mercy…which breaks down every barrier and opens up surprising perspectives of light and peace. The narrow but always open door: do not forget this. Narrow door, but always open.
Jesus offers us today, once again, a pressing invitation to go to him, to cross the threshold of a full life, reconciled and happy. He waits for each of us, no matter what sin we have committed, no matter what! To embrace us, to offer us his forgiveness. He alone can transform our hearts, He alone can give full meaning to our existence, giving us true joy. Upon entering the door of Jesus, the door of faith and of the Gospel, we can leave behind worldly attitudes, bad habits, selfishness and the closing ourselves off. When there is contact with the love and mercy of God, there is real change. And our life is illuminated by the light of the Holy Spirit: an inextinguishable light!”
“I’d like to make you a proposal,” the Pope said to the pilgrims in the square, and invited them to think in silence for a moment about the things they have inside that prevent them from passing over the threshold: pride, arrogance, sin. “And then, let us think about that other door, the one open to God’s mercy and He is waiting on the other side to forgive us,” Francis added.
“The Lord offers us many opportunities to save ourselves and to enter through the door of salvation,” the Pope continued. “This door is an opportunity that must not be wasted: we must not make an academic discourse of salvation, as did the man who questioned Jesus, but we must seize the opportunities for salvation. Because at a certain moment "the landlord got up and locked the door" (v.25), as mentioned in the Gospel. But if God is good and loves us, why does he close the door - he will close the door at a certain point? Because our life is not a video game or a soap opera; our life is serious and the goal to achieve is important: eternal salvation.
To the Virgin Mary, Door of Heaven, we ask help so that we seize the opportunities that the Lord gives us to cross the threshold of faith and thus to enter into a wide road: it is the path of salvation that can accommodate all those who allow themselves to love and be loved (it: si lasciano coinvolgere dall’amore). It is love which saves; the love that is already here on earth is a source of happiness to those who, in meekness, patience and justice, forget themselves and give themselves to others, especially the weakest.”