By CINDY WOODEN, Catholic News Service | Published March 20, 2014
ROME (CNS)—If you get a seat on a crowded bus, you should use your travel time to read a few lines from the Bible, Pope Francis told members of a suburban parish filled with people who commute to Rome for work.
“A Christian’s first task is to listen to the word of God, to listen to Jesus, because he speaks to us and saves us with his word,” the pope said March 16 during a homily at the parish of Santa Maria dell’Orazione on the northeast outskirts of Rome.
Everyone should carry a small Bible or pocket edition of the Gospels and should find at least a few minutes every day to read the word of God, Pope Francis said.
The pope suggested a bus-ride reading of the Gospels, when possible, “because many times on the bus we’re packed in and have to maintain our balance and defend our pockets” from pickpockets, he said. “But when you have a seat” or a minute or so free somewhere else, “pick up the Gospel and read a few words.”
Preaching on the Gospel story of Jesus’ transfiguration, Pope Francis focused on the words the disciples heard: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
God tells all followers of Jesus to listen to his son “to nourish our faith,” the pope said. “He makes our faith more robust and stronger with his word.”
People listen to the radio, to television and to gossip daily, but “do we take a bit of time each day to listen to Jesus?” Pope Francis asked.
The Church of Santa Maria dell’Orazione, inaugurated in 2002, was packed for the pope’s Mass. Hundreds of people lined the streets leading to the church to watch the pope pass by, and many residents went on the roofs of neighboring apartment buildings to get a glimpse of him.
A week earlier, the pope also spoke on the word of God and its power as he addressed tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square March 9.
When temptation comes your way, don’t try to “dialogue” or argue with the devil, Pope Francis said, but seek refuge and strength in the words of the Bible. Pope Francis spoke about the Gospel of Matthew’s account of Jesus’ temptation in the desert.
Each time the devil tempts Jesus, Jesus responds by reciting Scripture, the pope said.
“He doesn’t dialogue with Satan like Eve” did in the Garden of Eden, the pope said. “Jesus knows well that you can’t dialogue with Satan because he is so cunning.”
“Remember this,” Pope Francis told the crowd, “at times of temptation, in our temptations: No arguments with Satan; defend yourselves with the word of God.”