Jesus wants all people to be saved, pope says at Angelus

By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Christians should pray for the grace to look at others with the same mercy and care with which Jesus looks at them, Pope Francis said.

“No one is perfect. We are all sinners, we all make mistakes, and if the Lord were to use his knowledge of our weaknesses to condemn us, no one could be saved,” the pope said March 10 before reciting the Angelus prayer with visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Commenting on the day’s Gospel reading, Jn 3:14-21, Pope Francis focused on the line: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”

When Jesus encounters people in the Gospel, the pope said, he sees all that they are. “There are no secrets before him. He reads their hearts.”

Pope Francis greets visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the recitation of the Angelus prayer at the Vatican March 10, 2024. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

Then and now, Jesus sees the whole person, not “to point the finger at us, but to embrace our life, to free us from sins and to save us,” he said. “Jesus is not interested in putting us on trial or subjecting us to judgment. He wants none of us to be lost.”

“The Lord’s gaze upon every one of us is not a blinding beacon that dazzles us and puts us in difficulty,” he said, “but rather the gentle glimmer of a friendly lamp that helps us to see the good in ourselves and to be aware of the evil so that we may be converted and healed with the support of his grace.”

However, Pope Francis said, people often do not treat others with the same kind of care.

Think about how “very often we condemn others,” he said. “Many times, we like to speak badly, to go in search of gossip against others. Let us ask the Lord to give us, all of us, this merciful gaze, to look at others as he looks at us.”

After reciting the Angelus, Pope Francis mentioned the March 8 celebration of International Women’s Day.

“I would like to address a thought and to express my closeness to all women, especially those whose dignity is not respected,” he said. “There is still a lot of work that each one of us must do for the equal dignity of women to be genuinely recognized. Institutions, social and political, have the fundamental duty to protect and promote the dignity of every human being, offering to women, the bearers of life, the necessary conditions to be able to welcome the gift of life and assure their children of a worthy existence.”

Pope Francis also called attention to “the grave crisis afflicting Haiti,” with kidnappings, looting and violence.

“I am close to the church and to the dear Haitian population, which has been plagued by many sufferings for years,” he said, asking people to pray that through the intercession of Our Lady of Perpetual Help “every sort of violence may cease and that everyone may offer their contribution to the growth of peace and reconciliation in the country with the renewed support of the international community.”