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Pope: Lent is an opportunity to draw near to Christ

Source: Vatican Radio/VIS

In his Angelus address with pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Sunday, Pope Francis reflected on the day's Gospel about the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. "Perhaps we have not yet encountered Jesus personally. Perhaps we have not recognised Him as our Saviour."

Because of the great respect Jesus shows the woman - and despite her being a Samaritan, and despite her complicated life, she is open to the words of Christ, when He speaks to her about the true faith. She recognizes Him as a prophet, and reallses that He could be the Messiah. Then Jesus tells her plainly that He is, in fact, the Messiah something that happens very rarely in the Gospels, the Pope said.

Pope Francis said: "Dear brothers the water that gives eternal life was poured out in our hearts on the day of our Baptism;" on that day, "God transformed us and filled us with His grace." However, the Pope said, we sometimes forget about the grace of our Baptism, or treat it merely as a piece of biographical data. When that happens we go looking for "wells" filled with water that cannot quench our thirst. "And so this Gospel is for us!" the Pope said, "not just for the Samaritan woman."

Lent, he said, is a good opportunity for us "to draw near" to Jesus, "to encounter Him in prayer in a heart-to-heart dialogue... to see His face in the face of a brother or a sister who is suffering." In this way, the Pope said, "we can renew within ourselves the grace of Baptism, quenching our thirst at the font of the Word of God and of the Holy Spirit; and thereby discovering, too, the joy of becoming artisans of reconciliation and instruments of peace in our daily lives. "

After the Angelus Pope spoke about his concern for the people of Peru where there have been devastating floods. He said: "I wish to assure my closeness to the beloved population of Peru, harshly stricken by devastating floods. I pray for the victims and for all those committed to giving aid."

The Pope also spoke about Josef Mayr-Nusser who was proclaimed Blessed yesterday in Bolzano. The Holy Father said Josef was the father of a family and a member of Catholic Action. "He died a martyr because he refused to adhere to Nazism out of fidelity to the Gospel. Because of his great moral and spiritual intelligence, he constitutes a model for lay faithful, especially for fathers, whom we remember today with great affection, although the liturgical feast of Saint Joseph is celebrated tomorrow because today is Sunday. We greet all fathers with a loud applause. (The crowds applauded).

The Pope went on: "A warm greeting goes to all of you, pilgrims of Rome, of Italy and of various countries. I greet the Neo-Catechumenal Community from Angola and from Lithuania, as well as the leaders of Sant'Egidio Community from Africa and from Latin America. I greet the Italian faithful of Viterbo, Bolgare, San Benedetto Po and the students of Torchiarolo.

"I wish you all a good Sunday. Do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon!"