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Pope prays for victims of suicide bombing in Turkey


At the Sunday Angelus, Pope Francis also reflects on the “narrow door” and the need to strive for eternal salvation

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday prayed for the victims of Saturday’s bombing in southern Turkey. At least 50 people were killed, and over 90 people injured, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives among people at a wedding party in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep. Women and children were among those killed. The suicide bomber is reported to have been 12-14 years old.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said it was likely that so-called Islamic State militants carried out the late-night attack.

Speaking after the recitation of the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said: “Sad news has reached me about the bloody attack” that was carried out in “dear Turkey.”

“Let us pray for the victims and the injured, and for the gift of peace for all,” the Pope said, leading pilgrims present in the square in the recitation of the Hail Mary.

Speaking to pilgrims gathered for the Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Pope Francis said “life is not a video game or a soap opera; our life is serious and the goal to achieve is important: eternal salvation.” The Pope’s Angelus reflection focused on the theme of eternal salvation and referred to the day’s Gospel reading in which a man asks Jesus if only a few will be saved (Luke 13:24).

Jesus did not respond directly, the pope observed, but took the conversation to another level, telling his disciples: “Strive to enter narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (v.24).

“Through the image of the door,” the pope said, “Jesus wants to make his hearers understand that it is not a question of numbers — it is not important to know how many, but it is important that everyone know what the path is that leads to salvation.”

“Where is the door? What is the door like? Who is the door?,” Pope Francis continued. “Jesus himself is the door. He says it himself in John’s Gospel; ‘I am the door’ (Jn 10:9). He leads us into communion with the Father, where we find love, understanding and protection.”

“Why does he say it is narrow?” the pope asked. “It is a narrow door not because it is oppressive, but because it requires us to restrict and contain our pride and our fear, in order to open ourselves with a humble and trusting heart to Him, acknowledging that we are sinners, in need of his forgiveness. That is why it is narrow: to contain our pride, which inflates us.”

“The door of God’s mercy is narrow but it is open to everyone,” he said.

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