Pope Francis greets an estimated 20,000 visitors and pilgrims who joined him for the recitation of the “Regina Coeli” prayer May 7, 2023, in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY — Christians have no need to be afraid or hopeless because Jesus always tells the faithful where they are going and how to get there, Pope Francis said.
“At times, especially when there are major problems to face and there is the sensation that evil is stronger, we ask ourselves: What should I do, what path should I follow?” he said May 7.
Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth and the life,” which means “Jesus himself is the way to follow to live in truth and to have life in abundance,” the pope said.
Before reciting the midday “Regina Coeli” prayer with about 20,000 people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis spoke about the day’s Gospel reading, John 14:1-12, which is among Jesus’ discourses at the Last Supper before his death.
“The disciples’ hearts are troubled, but the Lord speaks reassuring words to them, inviting them not to be afraid,” the pope said. Jesus “is not abandoning them but is going to prepare a place for them and to guide them toward that destination.”
Jesus tells his disciples that “there is space for you, you are welcome, you will always be received with the warmth of an embrace, and I am in heaven to prepare a place for you,” the pope said. Jesus also “prepares for us that embrace with the Father, the place for all eternity.”
This is a source of consolation and hope for the faithful, he said. “So, when we experience fatigue, bewilderment and even failure, let us remember where our life is headed.”
“We must not lose sight of the destination,” he said, which is the “greatness and the beauty” of heaven.
Pope Francis said that once the faithful understand where they are going and what they are living for, the next question is “how can we get there, what is the way?”
Jesus says he is the path to follow, the pope said. “He is the way and therefore faith in him is not a ‘package of ideas’ in which to believe, but rather a road to be traveled, a journey to undertake, a path with him,” which “leads to unfailing happiness.”
The faithful are invited to follow Jesus and imitate him, “especially with deeds of closeness and mercy toward others, Pope Francis said. “This is the compass for reaching heaven: loving Jesus, the way, becoming signs of his love on earth.”