Pope Francis passes in front of an icon of Jesus Christ during his visit at the All Saints' Anglican Church in Rome on Feb. 26. (Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP)
Like the people of Israel freed from the bondage of slavery, Christians are called to experience the path toward hope and new life during the Lenten season, Pope Francis said.
Through his passion, death and resurrection, Jesus "has opened up for us a way that leads to a full, eternal and blessed life," the pope said at his weekly general audience on March 1, Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent for Latin-rite Catholics.
"Lent lives within this dynamic: Christ precedes us with his exodus and we cross the desert, thanks to him and behind him," Catholic News Service reported him as saying.
The story of the Israelites' journey toward the Promised Land and God's faithfulness during times of trial and suffering helps Christians "better understand" the Lenten experience, he said.
"This whole path is fulfilled in hope, the hope of reaching the [Promised] Land and precisely in this sense it is an 'exodus,' a way out from slavery to freedom," the pope said.
"Every step, every effort, every trial, every fall and every renewal has meaning only within the saving plan of God, who wants for his people life and not death, joy and not sorrow."
Lent, he added, is lived through the dynamic that "Christ precedes us through his exodus," and that through his victory Christians are called to "nourish this small flame that was entrusted to us on the day of our baptism."
"It is certainly a challenging path as it should be, because love is challenging, but it is a path full of hope," Pope Francis said.
Source: Catholic News Service
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