VATICAN CITY- Before reciting the Angelus on March 5, the first Sunday of Lent, Pope Francis encouraged pilgrims to fight temptations to sin by studying the Word of God as carefully as they study their cell phones.
“Someone said: what would happen if we treated the Bible like we treat our cell phone? If we always carried it with us; at least the small pocket-sized Gospel. What would happen?” said the Pope.
Recalling the daily reading from the Gospel of Matthew, the Pontiff described the temptation of Jesus in the desert for forty days. During his time in the desert, Jesus is tempted by Satan to choose shortcuts to earthly glory and success over the godly qualities of humility and obedience.
“But the Devil’s poisonous darts are always blocked by the shield provided by the Word of God,” he said, noting that Jesus’ example was to use God’s Word and not His own to victoriously reach the other side, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
“During the forty days of Lent, as Christians, we are called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and address the spiritual battle against evil with the power of the Word of God,” he said to the gathered crowd. “For this you have to become familiar with the Bible, read it often, meditate on it, and assimilate it.”
The Pope said that because of this knowledge of scripture, “we would be better able to live a resurrected life in the Spirit, accepting and loving our brothers, especially the most vulnerable and needy, and even our enemies.”
“Let us ask the Virgin Mary, the perfect icon of obedience to God and of unconditional trust to his will, ” to assist us especially during Lent. Let us listen to the Word of God in the Bible and “make a real change of heart,” he finished before praying the Angelus.
“And, please, do not forget – do not forget! – What would happen if we treated the Bible like we treat our cell phone. Think about this…. The Bible always with us, close to us!”