Sunday, November 10, 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today's Gospel passage (see Lk 20: 27-38) offers us a wonderful teaching of Jesus on the resurrection of the dead. Jesus is approached by some Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection and therefore provoke him with an insidious question: of who will be wife, in the resurrection, a woman who has had seven successive husbands, all brothers among them, who one after the other are dead? Jesus does not fall into the trap and replies that the resurrected in the beyond "take neither wife nor husband: for they can no longer die, because they are equal to the angels and, since they are children of the resurrection, they are children of God" (vv. 35-36). This is how Jesus answers.
With this answer, Jesus first of all invites his interlocutors - and we too - to think that this earthly dimension in which we live now is not the only dimension, but there is another, no longer subject to death, in which we will fully manifest that we are children of God. It gives great consolation and hope to listen to this simple and clear word of Jesus about life beyond death; we need it so much especially in our time, so rich in knowledge of the universe but so poor in wisdom about eternal life.
This clear certainty of Jesus on the resurrection is based entirely on the fidelity of God, who is the God of life. In fact, behind the question of the Sadducees it hides a deeper one: not only of whom will the wife of seven husbands be wife, but of whom will her life be. It is a doubt that touches the man of all times and also us: after this earthly pilgrimage, what will become of our life? Will it belong to nothingness, to death?
Jesus replies that life belongs to God, who loves us and cares so much about us, to the point of linking his name to ours: he is "the God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob. God is not of the dead, but of the living; because everyone lives for him "(vv. 37-38). Life exists where there is bond, communion, brotherhood; and it is a life stronger than death when it is built on true relationships and bonds of fidelity. On the contrary, there is no life where one claims to belong only to oneself and to live as islands: in these attitudes death prevails. It is selfishness. If I live for myself, I am sowing death in my heart.
May the Virgin Mary help us to live every day in the perspective of what we affirm in the final part of the Creed: "I await the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come". Waiting for the beyond.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
yesterday in Granada, Spain, Blessed Maria Emilia Riquelme y Zayas, foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and of Mary Immaculate, was proclaimed. And today, in Braga, Portugal, the Thanksgiving Mass is celebrated for the equivalent canonization of St. Bartholomew Fernandes of the Martyrs. The new Blessed was exemplary in the fervor of Eucharistic adoration and generous in service to the most needy; while the new Saint was a great evangelizer and pastor of his people. A round of applause to both the Blessed!
I address a special thought to the dear people of South Sudan, which I will have to visit this year [next]. With the memory still alive of the spiritual retreat for the Authorities of the Country, held in the Vatican last April, I wish to renew my invitation to all the actors of the national political process to seek what unites and to overcome what it divides, in a spirit of true brotherhood. The South Sudanese people have suffered too much in recent years and await with great hope a better future, especially the definitive end of conflicts and lasting peace. I therefore urge those responsible to continue, without tiring, their commitment to an inclusive dialogue in the search for consensus for the good of the nation. I also express the hope that the international community will not neglect to accompany South Sudan on the path of national reconciliation. I invite you all to pray together for this country, for which I have a special affection. [Ave Maria]
I wish to entrust your prayers to the situation of the beloved Bolivia, close to my homeland. I call on all Bolivians, especially political and social actors, to wait with a constructive spirit, and without any prior condition, in a climate of peace and serenity, the results of the election review process, which is currently underway. In peace.
Today in Italy the National Thanksgiving Day is celebrated for the fruits of the earth and of work. I join the Bishops in recalling the strong link between bread and work, hoping for courageous employment policies that take into account dignity and solidarity and prevent the risks of corruption. That workers are not exploited, that there is work for everyone but real work, not slave labor.
I thank all of you who have come from Rome, Italy and many parts of the world. I greet the pilgrims from Haaren (Germany), from Darwin (Australia) and the students from Neuilly (France); as well as the faithful of the Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio, those of Bianzè and Burano.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Thanks. Good lunch and goodbye!