“Conversion is a grace for which we must always ask for: ‘Lord, give me the grace to improve. Give me the grace to be a good Christian,’” Pope Francis said from the window of the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.
Reflecting on Sunday’s Gospel, the pope said that “living a Christian life is not made up of dreams or beautiful aspirations, but of concrete commitments, in order to open ourselves ever more to God's will and to love for our brothers and sisters.”
“Faith in God asks us to renew every day the choice of good over evil, the choice of the truth rather than lies, the choice of love for our neighbor over selfishness,” Pope Francis said.
The pope pointed to one of Jesus’ parables in chapter 21 in the Gospel of Matthew in which a father asks two sons to go and work in his vineyard.
“To the father's invitation to go and work in the vineyard, the first son impulsively responds ‘no, no I will not go,’ but then he repents and goes; instead the second son, who immediately replies ‘yes, yes father,’ does not actually do so,” he said.
“Obedience does not consist of saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but of acting, of cultivating the vineyard, of bringing about the Kingdom of God, in doing good.”
Pope Francis explained that Jesus used this parable to call people to an understanding that religion should affect one’s life and attitudes.
“With His preaching on the Kingdom of God, Jesus opposes a religiosity that does not involve human life, that does not question the conscience and its responsibility in the face of good and evil,” he said. “Jesus wants to go beyond a religion understood only as external and habitual practice, which does not affect people's lives and attitudes.”
While acknowledging that the Christian life demands conversion, Pope Francis emphasized that “God is patient with each one of us.”
“He [God] does not tire, He does not desist after our ‘no’; He leaves us free even to distance ourselves from Him and to make mistakes ... But He anxiously awaits our ‘yes’, so as to welcome us anew in His fatherly arms and to fill us with His boundless mercy,” the pope said.
After praying the Angelus with the pilgrims gathered under umbrellas in a rainy St. Peter’s Square, the pope asked people to pray for peace in the Caucasus region, where Russia staged joint military exercises with China, Belarus, Iran, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Armenia last week.
“I ask the parties to the conflict to make concrete gestures of goodwill and brotherhood, which can lead to solving problems not with the use of force and arms, but through dialogue and negotiation,” Pope Francis said.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Pope Francis also greeted the migrants and refugees present at the Angelus as the Church celebrates the World Day of Migrants and Refugees and said that he was praying for small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
“May Mary Most Holy help us to be docile to the action of the Holy Spirit. He is the One who melts the hardness of hearts and disposes them to repentance, so we may obtain the life and salvation promised by Jesus,” the pope said.