St. Peter's Square
Sunday, November 17, 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The Gospel of this last but one Sunday of the liturgical year (cf. Lk 21: 5-19) presents Jesus' discourse on the end of time. Jesus pronounces it in front of the temple of Jerusalem, a building admired by people because of its grandeur and splendor. But He prophesies that of all that beauty of the temple, that grandeur "will not be left stone by stone that will not be destroyed" (v. 6). The destruction of the temple announced by Jesus is a figure not so much of the end of history as of the end of history. Indeed, in front of the listeners who want to know how and when these signs will happen, Jesus responds with the typical apocalyptic language of the Bible.
He uses two apparently conflicting images: the first is a series of frightening events: catastrophes, wars, famines, riots and persecutions (vv. 9-12); the other is reassuring: "Not even a hair of your head will be lost" (v. 18). First there is a realistic look at history, marked by calamity and also by violence, by traumas that wound creation, our common home, and also the human family that lives there, and the Christian community itself. Let us think of so many wars today, of so many calamities today. The second image - contained in Jesus' reassurance - tells us the attitude that the Christian must take in living this story, characterized by violence and adversity.
And what is the attitude of the Christian? It is the attitude of hope in God, which allows us not to be overcome by tragic events. Indeed, they are "an occasion to bear witness" (v. 13). The disciples of Christ cannot remain slaves of fears and anxieties; they are called instead to inhabit history, to stem the destructive force of evil, with the certainty that to accompany his good deed there is always the provident and reassuring tenderness of the Lord. This is the eloquent sign that the Kingdom of God comes to us, that is that the realization of the world is approaching as God wants it. It is He, the Lord, who leads our existence and knows the ultimate goal of things and events.
The Lord calls us to collaborate in the construction of history, becoming, together with Him, peacemakers and witnesses of hope in a future of salvation and resurrection. Faith makes us walk with Jesus on the so often tortuous roads of this world, in the certainty that the strength of his Spirit will bend the forces of evil, subjecting them to the power of God's love. Love is superior, love is more powerful, because it is God: God is love. There are examples of Christian martyrs - our martyrs, even of our times, who are more than those of the beginning - who, despite persecution, are men and women of peace. They give us a legacy to be preserved and imitated: the Gospel of love and mercy. This is the most precious treasure that has been given to us and the most effective testimony we can give to our contemporaries, responding to hatred with love, to offense with forgiveness. Even in everyday life: when we receive an offense, we feel pain; but we must forgive heartily. When we feel hated, pray with love for the person who hates us. May the Virgin Mary sustain, with her maternal intercession, our journey of daily faith, to follow the Lord who guides history.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
Yesterday in Riobamba, Ecuador, Blessed Father Emilio Moscoso was proclaimed martyr priest of the Society of Jesus, killed in 1897 in the persecutory climate against the Catholic Church. His example of a humble religious, apostle of prayer and educator of youth, supports our journey of faith and Christian witness. A round of applause for the new Blessed!
Today we celebrate the World Day of the Poor, which has as its theme the words of the psalm "The hope of the poor will never be disappointed" (Ps 9,19). My thoughts go to those who, in the dioceses and parishes around the world, have promoted solidarity initiatives to give concrete hope to the most disadvantaged. I thank the doctors and nurses who have served in these days in the Medical Center here in Piazza San Pietro. I thank you for many initiatives in favor of the suffering people, the needy, and this must bear witness to the attention that must never be lacking towards our brothers and sisters. Recently, a few minutes ago, I saw some statistics on poverty. They make you suffer! The indifference of society towards the poor ... Let us pray. [silent prayer]
I greet all of you pilgrims, who have come from Italy and from different countries. In particular, I greet the Ecuadorian Community of Rome, which celebrates the Virgen del Quinche; the faithful of New Jersey and those of Toledo; the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians from various countries and the Italian Association of Marian Shrines in the World. I greet the groups of Porto d’Ascoli and Angri; and the participants in the Lasallian Schools pilgrimage in Turin and Vercelli for the closing of the third centenary of the death of St. John the Baptist de la Salle.
Tuesday I will begin the journey in Thailand and Japan: I ask you for a prayer for this apostolic journey. And I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - UnOfficial Translation