Pope Francis reminded Catholics to find meaning to their faith as the Church starts another season of Lent this week during the pandemic.
“We begin Lent this coming Wednesday,” said the pope Feb. 14.
“It will be a favorable time of giving a meaning of faith and hope to the crisis that we are living,” he added during his Sunday Angelus.
He urged the faithful gathered during the midday prayer not to forget the “nearness, compassion, (and) tenderness” of God.
Reflecting on the Gospel reading of the day, the pope cited Jesus’ action of healing a man with leprosy.
“The Gospel says that Jesus, seeing the leper, was moved with compassion, tenderness,” said Pope Francis. “Three words that indicate God’s style: Nearness, compassion, tenderness,” he added.
“God draws near to our lives, he is moved to compassion because of the fate of wounded humanity and comes to break down every barrier that prevents us from being in relationship with him, with others, and with ourselves,” he said.
In his message, the pope praised “good confessors who do not have a whip in their hands, but just welcome, listen and say that God is good and that God always forgives, that God does not get tired of forgiving.”
At the end of his message, the pontiff thanked those who care for migrants.
He cited the Colombian government for giving protected status, through a temporary protection statute, to almost a million people who have fled neighboring Venezuela.
“It is not a super-wealthy, developed country that is doing this… No: this is being done by a country that has many problems of development, of poverty and of peace,” said the pope
“Almost 70 years of guerrilla war. But with this problem, they have had the courage to look at those migrants and to create this statute. Thank you to Colombia,” said Pope Francis.