During the Angelus, Pope Francis called on the Heads of the Churches and all Christians to recite together the Lord’s Prayer on March 25, the solemnity of the Annunciation. On 27 March, the pontiff will pray in the parvis of the St Peter’s Basilica, with the Eucharistic adoration and Urbi et Orbi blessing. The miracle of healing the man born blind “confirms the affirmation of Jesus who says of himself, ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 9:5), the light that illuminates our darkness.” However, “it is not enough to receive the light, it is necessary to become the light”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis announced two moments of prayer for the world on 25 and 27 March, prompted by the "universality of prayer, compassion, tenderness" against the “virus pandemic” before which "humanity trembles”.
In his address, the pontiff called on “all the Heads of Churches and the leaders of all Christian communities, together with all Christians of various confessions” to recite “at the same time” the Lord’s Prayer at noon next Wednesday, 25 March, solemnity of the Annunciation of Mary.
Speaking from the library of the Apostolic Palace via live streaming, right after the Angelus prayer, Francis said: “On the day when many Christians remember the announcement to the Virgin Mary of the Incarnation of the Word, may the Lord hear the unanimous prayer of all his disciples who are preparing to celebrate the victory of the Risen Christ.”
“With this same intention, next Friday 27 March, at 6 pm, I shall lead a moment of prayer in the parvis of St Peter's Basilica [in an empty square]. I hereby invite everyone to spiritually participate through the media. We shall hear the Word of God, we shall raise our plea, we shall worship the Blessed Sacrament, with which, at the end, I shall give the Urbi et Orbi Blessing, to which is attached the possibility of receiving the plenary indulgence.”
Many Catholics in Italy and around the world have loudly called on the Pope to offer such prayers at a time when liturgical assemblies have been banned in many countries because of the coronavirus pandemic in order to avoid contagion. For the past few weeks, the faithful have sanctified Sunday with prayer and biblical readings at home, or followed the Mass on television, unable to receive communion.
Before the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis expressed his thoughts about today's gospel, fourth Sunday of Lent 8th, John 9:1-41), which is centred on “the episode of the man blind from birth, to whom Jesus gives sight.”
“This miraculous sign confirms the affirmation of Jesus who says of himself, ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 9:5), the light that illuminates our darkness. He works at two levels: one physical and one spiritual. The blind man first receives his eyesight, then is led to the faith in the ‘Son of man’ (John 9:35), that is, in Jesus. The wonders that He performs are not spectacular deeds, but are meant to lead to the faith through a path of inner transformation.” Instead, “The Pharisees and the doctors of the law persisted in refusing to admit the miracle, and asked the healed man tricky questions. But he confounded them with the power of reality.”
“With the light of faith,” the pontiff went on to say, “he who was blind discovers his new identity. He is now a ‘new creature,’ able to see his life and the world around him in a new light, because he entered into communion with Christ. He is no longer a beggar marginalised by the community; he is no longer a slave to blindness and prejudice.”
"The healed blind man, who now sees both with the eyes of the body and with those of the soul, is the image of every baptised person who, immersed in Grace, was torn from darkness and placed in the light of faith. But it is not enough to receive the light, it is necessary to become the light ... The seed of new life placed in us in baptism is like the spark of a fire, which purifies us first of all, burning the evil we have in our hearts, and allows us to shine and illuminate.”
At the end of the greetings, Pope Francis offered his prayers for "the people of Croatia affected by an earthquake this morning. May the Risen Lord give them the strength and solidarity to face this calamity.”
In concluding, the pontiff called on the faithful, as he did during this morning’s Mass, to read today’s gospel several times.