MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
FOR LENT 2017
"The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift"
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Lent is a new beginning, a path leading to the certain goal of Easter, Christ’s victory over death. This season urgently calls us to conversion. Christians are asked to return to God “with all their hearts” (Joel 2:12), to refuse to settle for mediocrity and to grow in friendship with the Lord. Jesus is the faithful friend who never abandons us. Even when we sin, he patiently awaits our return; by that patient expectation, he shows us his readiness to forgive (cf. Homily, 8 January 2016).
Isaiah 49:14-15; 1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Matthew 6:24-34
There is quite a bit of “not worrying” in today’s Gospel. Appearance and sustenance seem to be the two big areas of nervousness. There is the opening reminder which Jesus gives His followers about our not serving two masters. God is an option and materiality being the other. The choice between these two is determined by answering the question about which one is going to make us look better and feel better.
Jesus' message is about how we accept the Kingdom of God. He is urging us to shed our cynical, guarded, clever, arrogant, judgmental ways. Jesus is contrasting those who regard themselves as very religious, but can keep Jesus at arm's length, with the children who just run up and embrace him and rest in his embrace. Jesus is inviting us to be more child-like in our trust of him.