Pope Benedict XVI- Angelus

On the Suffering the Lord Allows
God "is Good and Cannot Will Evil"
H.H. Benedict XVI
March 7, 2010

Dear brothers and sisters,

The liturgy of this Third Sunday of Lent presents us with the theme of conversion. In the first reading, taken from the Book of Exodus, Moses, while he is feeding his flock, sees a burning bush, which is not consumed by the fire that burns it. He comes closer to observe this prodigy when a voice calls him by name and, inviting him to be aware of his unworthiness, commands him to take off his shoes, because the place is a holy one. [The voice says to him] “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob”; and adds: “I am he who is!” (Exodus 3:6a, 14).

God manifests himself in different ways also in each of our lives. To recognize his presence however we must draw near to him aware of our misery and with profound respect. In any other way we would make ourselves incapable of meeting him and of entering into communion with him. As the Apostle Paul writes, this event too is told about for our edification: It reminds us that God does not reveal himself to those who are pervaded by sufficiency and frivolity, but to him who is poor and humble before him.

In the passage from today’s Gospel Jesus is questioned about some sorrowful events: the killing in the Temple of some Galileans on the order of Pontius Pilate and the collapse of a tower on some passers-by (cf. Luke 13:1-5). In the face of the facile conclusion that the evil is the effect of divine punishment, Jesus restores the true image of God, who is good and cannot will evil, and warning people not to think that these misfortunes are the immediate effect of the personal guilt of those who suffered them, says: “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!” (Luke 13:2-3).

Jesus invites us to interpret these facts differently, connecting them with conversion: misfortunes, sorrowful events, should not arouse curiosity in us or a seeking of people presumed to be guilty, but they must be occasions for reflecting, for overcoming the illusion of pretending to live without God, and for reinforcing, with the Lord’s help, the commitment to change our life. In the face of sin, God shows himself to be full of mercy and he does not fail to call sinners to avoid evil, to grow in his love and to concretely help our neighbor in need, to live the joy of grace and not risk eternal death. But the possibility of conversion entails that we learn to read the events of life in the light of faith, animated by the holy fear of God. In the presence of suffering and grief, true wisdom is to let oneself be called from the precariousness of existence and to read human history with God’s eyes, who, always and only wanting the good of his children, by an inscrutable plan of his love, sometimes allows them to be tried through suffering to lead them to a greater good.

Dear friends, let us pray to Mary Most Holy, who accompanies us on the Lenten journey, to help every Christian to return to the Lord with his whole heart. May she sustain our firm decision to renounce evil and to accept God’s will in our life with faith.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[After the Angelus, the Pope greeted the people in several languages. In English, he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present for today’s Angelus, especially a group of visitors from Boston, in the United States. The readings of today’s liturgy invite all of us to embrace conversion, and to be humble in allowing the Lord to prepare us to bear more fruit. Our cooperation with the Lord often demands great sacrifice, but the fruit which that conversion bears always leads to freedom and joy. May we experience these great gifts of God! Upon each of you and your loved ones at home, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.

©Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


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