Pope Francis on Sunday used his Angelus address to underscore the importance of answering God’s call, reminding attendees that God “does not give up” and continuously “extends the invitation” until the faithful respond to it.
Reflecting on the Sunday Gospel reading from Matthew — in which Jesus relays the parable of a “king who gave a wedding feast for his son” — the Holy Father spoke about the importance of listening to God, reminding listeners that God does not “compel anyone” but rather “invites everyone” to be part of “a banquet, to be in communion with him and among ourselves.”
“Brothers and sisters, how many times do we fail to heed God’s invitation, because we are intent on our own affairs!” the pope lamented.
But God “does not give up,” the pope said. Instead “he extends the invitation, until he finds those who accept.”
“God proposes: he does not impose, never,” the pope said.
Many of us, the pope said, are “intent on our own affairs.” The antidote to this indifference, Francis said, is Jesus, who “frees” us by inviting us to find “time to dedicate to God.”
That liberation “lightens and heals our hearts” and “saves us from evil, loneliness and loss of meaning.”
The pope reminded listeners that it is “good to be with the Lord, to make space for him,” including “in the Mass, in listening to the Word, in prayer and also in charity, because by helping those who are weak or poor, by keeping company with those who are lonely, by listening to those who ask for attention, by consoling those who suffer, one is with the Lord, who is present in those in need.”
“Many, however, think that these things are a ‘waste of time’, and so they lock themselves away in their private world; and it is sad,” he said.
After the Angelus, the pope touched on the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
“I continue to follow with great sorrow what is happening in Israel and Palestine,” the pope said. ”I think again of the many … in particular of the children and the elderly. I renew my appeal for the freeing of the hostages and I strongly ask that children, the sick, the elderly, women, and all civilians not be made victims of the conflict.
The Holy Father stressed the imperative of respecting international humanitarian law in Gaza “where it is urgent and necessary to ensure humanitarian corridors and to come to the aid of the entire population.”
“Brothers and sisters, already many have died,” mourned the pope. “Please, let no more innocent blood be shed, neither in the Holy Land nor in Ukraine, nor in any other place!”
The pope urged the faithful to participate in a day of prayer and fasting on Tuesday, October 17.
The pope further expressed his concern on the continued crisis facing ethnic Armenians in the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“In addition to the humanitarian situation of the displaced people — which is serious — I would also like to make a special appeal for the protection of the monasteries and places of worship in the region,” he said.
By Matthew Santucci