Sunday, August 11, 2019

Pope Francis says "Always carry a small Gospel in your pocket, in your bag, to read it. It is an encounter with Jesus..."

Angelus with Pope Francis at St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 11 August 2019

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In today's Gospel passage (see Lk 12: 32-48), Jesus calls his disciples to constant vigilance. Why? To grasp the passage of God in one's life, because God continually passes into life. It indicates the ways to live this vigilance well: "Be ready, with your clothes close to your hips and your lamps lit" (v. 35). This is the mode. First of all, «the clothes close to the hips», an image that recalls the attitude of the pilgrim, ready to set out. It is a matter of not taking root in comfortable and reassuring dwellings, but of abandoning oneself, of being open with simplicity and trust to the passage of God in our life, to the will of God, which guides us towards the next goal. The Lord always walks with us and often accompanies us by the hand, to guide us, so that we do not make mistakes in this difficult journey. In fact, those who trust in God know well that the life of faith is not something static, but it is dynamic! The life of faith is a continuous journey, to head towards ever new stages, which the Lord himself indicates day after day. Because He is the Lord of surprises, the Lord of novelties, but of real news.

And then - the first mode was "the clothes close to the hips" - then we are required to keep "the lamps on" to be able to lighten the darkness of the night. We are invited, that is, to live an authentic and mature faith, capable of illuminating the many "nights" of life. We know, we all had days that were true spiritual nights. The lamp of faith requires to be continuously nourished, with the meeting heart to heart with Jesus in prayer and in listening to his Word. I take up something I have told you many times: always carry a small Gospel in your pocket, in your bag, to read it. It is an encounter with Jesus, with the Word of Jesus. This lamp of the encounter with Jesus in prayer and in his Word is entrusted to us for the good of all: therefore, no one can retreat intimistically into the certainty of his own salvation, disinterested in others . It is a fantasy to believe that one can light themselves up inside. No, it's a fantasy. True faith opens our hearts to others and spurs us towards concrete communion with our brothers, especially those in need.

And Jesus, to make us understand this attitude, tells the parable of the servants who await the return of the master when he returns from the wedding (vv. 36-40), thus presenting another aspect of vigilance: to be ready for the final and definitive meeting with Lord. Each of us will meet, he will find himself on that day of the meeting. Each of us has his or her own date of the final meeting. The Lord says: "Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he returns; ... And, if you arrive in the middle of the night or before dawn, you will find them like this, lucky them! "(Vv. 37-38). With these words, the Lord reminds us that life is a journey towards eternity; therefore, we are called to make all the talents we have bear fruit, without ever forgetting that "we do not have the stable city here, but we go in search of the future" (Heb 13:14). In this perspective, every moment becomes precious, so it is necessary to live and act on this earth having a longing for the sky: feet on earth, walking on earth, working on earth, doing good on earth, and the nostalgic heart of heaven.

We cannot really understand what this supreme joy consists of, yet Jesus makes us guess with the similitude of the master that by finding the servants still awake on his return: "his robes will be girded, he will put them on the table and serve them" (v. 37). The eternal joy of heaven is thus manifested: the situation will turn upside down, and the servants, that is, us, will no longer serve God, but God himself will put himself at our service. And this is what Jesus does right now: Jesus prays for us, Jesus looks at us and prays to the Father for us, Jesus serves us now, he is our servant. And this will be the definitive joy. The thought of the final encounter with the Father, rich in mercy, fills us with hope, and stimulates us to a constant commitment to our sanctification and to build a more just and fraternal world.

May the Virgin Mary, with her maternal intercession, support this commitment of ours.

After the Angelus

Dear brothers and sisters,
tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, important international legal instruments that impose limits on the use of force and are aimed at protecting civilians and prisoners in time of war. May this recurrence make states increasingly aware of the indispensable need to protect the life and dignity of victims of armed conflicts. All are required to observe the limits imposed by international humanitarian law, protecting unarmed populations and civil structures, especially hospitals, schools, places of worship, refugee camps. And let's not forget that war and terrorism are always a serious loss for the entire humanity. I am the great human defeat!

I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from various countries: families, church groups, associations.

Even today there are many children and young people. I greet you with affection! In particular, the adolescents of Saccolongo and also those of Creola; and the youth pastoral group of Verona; and the young people of Cittadella.

I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!

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