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Pope Francis reflects on Jonah and hope

January 18, 2017

Continuing his weekly series of catechetical addresses on Christian hope, Pope Francis devoted his January 18 general audience to “Jonah: hope and prayer.”

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The prophet Jonah “sought to flee from a difficult mission entrusted to him by the Lord,” Pope Francis recalled in his address, which he delivered in Paul VI Audience Hall. “When the ship that Jonah had boarded was tossed by a storm, the pagan sailors asked him, as a man of God, to pray that they might escape sure death.”

“This story reminds us of the link between hope and prayer,” the Pope continued. “Anguish in the face of death often makes us recognize our human frailty and our need to pray for salvation.”

The Pope added:

Jonah prays on behalf of the sailors, and, taking up once more his prophetic mission, shows himself ready to sacrifice his life for their sake. As a result, the sailors come to acknowledge the true God.

As the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection makes clear, death itself can be, for each of us, an invitation to hope and an encounter in prayer with the God of our salvation.

Previous general audiences on hope:

  1. Isaiah 40: “Comfort, comfort my people…” (December 7)
  2. Isaiah 52: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings…” (December 14)
  3. Christ’s birth is the source of hope (December 21)
  4. Abraham’s hope against all hope (December 28)
  5. Rachel “is weeping for her children”, but... “there is hope for your descendants” (Jer 31) (January 4)
  6. The false hopes of idols (January 11)


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