(CNS photo/Vatican Media)

March 20, 2022

Pope Francis encourages us to accept the Lord’s urgent call to conversion by turning from sin and welcoming with open hearts the logic of the Gospel, because where love and fraternity reign, evil has no more power.

In his reflections before leading the recitation of the Angelus, Pope Francis focused on the Sunday Gospel reading when people are discussing with Jesus tragic events of the past, including those who died when a tower collapsed on them and when Pilate had some Galileans killed.

The people, said the Pope, seemed to ask who was to blame for their terrible deaths and who was guiltier.

The Pope pointed out that these questions are asked today as well regarding bad news situations, and people wonder whether it is divine punishment that caused a war or a pandemic, and why the Lord does not appear to intervene.

Seeing clearly

Pope Francis warned that we need to be careful when evil weighs on us, because we can lose clear sight of the situation and look for easy answers to what is happening, even blaming God for our mistakes or misfortunes.

He added that God does not intervene in human affairs by imposing His will, but only by proposing solutions.

“He never uses violence and instead suffers for us and with us. Jesus strongly contested the idea people had of blaming God for our evils.”

God, he added, does not attribute more fault to some rather than others for the tragedies they suffered. The Pope stressed that evil can never come from God because “He does not deal with us according to our sins” (Ps 103:10), but according to His mercy.

The true solution: conversion

The Pope recalled how Jesus calls us to look inside ourselves so we can see how our sins are the cause of broken relationships or how violent choices unleash evil. What’s critical – and the only solution – is this: conversion, as Jesus said “unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk 13:5).

Jesus’ invitation to conversion is an especially urgent call for all of us during this time of Lent, said Pope Francis, which encourages us to open our hearts to conversion, to turn from evil, renounce sin and accept the logic of the Gospel that shows “where love and fraternity reign, evil has no more power!”

God’s loving patience

It is easy to accept conversion, but it is not an easy process, the Pope acknowledged, as we often repeat the same mistakes and sins and can become discouraged to the point of giving up.

But Jesus in the Gospel reading today recounts the parable that tells of God’s great patience for us, the consoling image of the fig tree that does not bear fruit when it should, but is allowed more time, another possibility to bear fruit.

The Pope said “this is how the Lord works with us;” He gives us more time, does not lose heart or tire of showing His tender trust in us.

“Brothers and sisters, God believes in us! He trusts us and accompanies us with patience. He does not get discouraged, but always instills hope in us. God is Father and looks after you as a father. As the best of fathers, He does not look at the achievements you have not yet reached, but the fruits that you can yet bear. He does not keep track of your shortcomings but encourages your potential. He does not dwell on your past, but confidently bets on your future.”

In conclusion, Pope Francis prayed that the Blessed Virgin Mary may help us keep hope and courage, kindling in us renewed desire for conversion.

By Vatican News staff reporter 

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