At the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis says the Gospel provokes change and invites us to conversion, like a fire that warms us with God’s love, burning away our selfishness and moving us to share His love with others.
Greeting pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis looked at the expression in the Gospel of today’s liturgy when Jesus says, “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Lk 12:49); a powerful phrase that challenges us.
Jesus brought the Gospel, the good news of God’s love for each one of us, the Pope explained, and that is why the Lord says the Gospel is like a fire, because it is a message when it “erupts into history” overturns the old ways of life, helping us overcome selfishness and break our dependence on sin leading to new life in the Risen One. Things are never the same when the Gospel comes alive in one’s heart, he added, as it provokes change, conversion, and “sparks a restlessness that sets us in motion, and drives us to open up to God and to our brothers and sisters.”
“The Gospel is just like fire: while it warms us with God’s love, it wants to burn our selfishness, to enlighten the dark sides of life, to consume the false idols that enslave us.”Pope Francis
Following the Biblical prophets, such as Elijah and Jeremiah, Jesus is engulfed in the flames of God’s love, the Pope continued, giving of himself totally by loving, up to the end, with his death on a cross. The Lord is filled with the Holy Spirit, likened to a fire with light and power, and He unevils the mysterious face of God, the Pope explained, and therefore giving hope to those who are considered lost, breaking down human barriers of division, and healing body and soul while renewing religiousity in the heart.
Jesus’ words call on us to “rekindle the flame of faith,” the Pope pointed out, and this is of primary importance and more than just a means to “individual wellbeing,” but rather enables us to act, like “a living flame to keep us wakeful and active even at night.”
In conclusion, the Pope called on us to ask ourselves how passionate we are about the Gospel, whether we read it often and take it seriously so that it ignites “the flame of witness” in us, whether individually or as Church. He suggested we ask ourselves if the fire of the Spirit burns within us creating a passion for prayer and charity, as well as joy of faith.
“Brothers, sisters, let us examine ourselves on this, so that we too can say, like Jesus: we are inflamed with the fire of God’s love, and we want to spread it around the world, to take it to everyone, so that each person may discover the tenderness of the Father and experience the joy of Jesus, which enlarges the heart and makes life beautiful.”Pope Francis
The Pope encouraged us to pray to the Blessed Mother to assist us and that may she, who welcomed the fire of the Holy Spirit, intercede for us.