The General Audience began with a surprise for this group of children, who were waiting in the front row for the pope. Pope Francis invited several of them to accompany him in the popemobile.
Then, before returning to their site, they asked for an autograph.
At the General Audience, the pope recalled that the 40 days of Lent also evokes the 40 years that the people of Israel slowly escaped slavery in Egypt. They escaped into freedom, and despite temptations to look back, they overcame them in the hopes of reaching the promise land.
"The Lenten exodus is the way that hope itself is formed. The fatigue of crossing the desert- the trials, the temptations, the illusions, the mirages- all of this serves to build strong, and solid, hope.”
The pope recalled that Lent is also a time of preparation for Easter, during which "Jesus opens the way to heaven through his passion, death and resurrection.” However, it does not mean that we can be passive.
"This does not mean that He will do everything, and that we do not have to do anything; that He has passed through the cross, and that we 'go to heaven in chariot.' No, it does not mean this, it does not. Our salvation is of course a gift from God, but since it is a love story, it requires our 'yes' and our participation in His love.”
Before leaving, the pope thanked Church organizations that create solidarity campaigns during Lent, as they are a concrete sign of alms in this period.