Summarizing God’s attitude in three key words, “closeness, compassion, and tenderness,” the Holy Father reiterated that God is made known to us and comes “close to accompany us, tenderly, and to forgive us.”
The pope then called upon the faithful to undertake an interior reflection by asking the following questions: “Does faith instill in us the restlessness of journeying or is it an intimist consolation, that calms us? Do we pray just to feel at peace, or does the Word we listen to and preach make us go out, like Jesus, towards others, to spread God’s consolation?”
Though acknowledging that this literal and metaphorical walking of Jesus “challenges us,” it is our “spiritual task” to answer these questions, which, in turn, will lead us to “convert every day to the God Jesus presents to us in the Gospel, the Father of love and compassion.”
“When we discover the true face of the Father, our faith matures, we no longer remain ‘sacristy Christians, or ‘parlor Christians,’ but rather we feel called to become bearers of God’s hope and healing,” the pope added.
Following the recitation of the papal blessing, Pope Francis expressed his closeness to all those in China, Southeast Asia, and around the world who are celebrating the Lunar New Year, observing that “this celebration be an opportunity to experience relationships of affection and gestures of attention, which contribute to creating a supportive and fraternal society, where every person is recognized and welcomed in their inalienable dignity.”
The Lunar New Year, also known as the Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival, is a celebration of the new year according to the lunisolar Chinese calendar. The holiday commences on the new moon that falls between the end of January and early February and concludes on the subsequent full moon. This year the celebration runs from Feb. 10 to Feb. 15 and ushers in the year of the Dragon.