HOLY MASS FOR THE CONGOLESE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY IN ROME AND ITALY
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
Vatican Basilica, Altar of the Chair
Sunday, 1 December 2019
Pope Francis: Boboto [peace]
Assembly: Bondeko [faternity]
Pope Francis: Bondeko
Assembly: I am [joy]
In today's Readings there often appears a verb, coming, present three times in the first reading, while the Gospel concludes by saying that "the Son of man comes" (Mt 24.44). Jesus comes: Advent reminds us of this certainty already from the name, because the word Advent means coming. The Lord comes: here is the root of our hope, the assurance that the consolation of God reaches us among the tribulations of the world, a consolation that is not made of words but of presence, of his presence that comes among us.
The Lord comes; Today, the first day of the liturgical year, this announcement marks our starting point: we know that, beyond any favorable or contrary event, the Lord does not leave us alone. It came two thousand years ago and will come again at the end of time, but it also comes into my life today, into your life. Yes, this life of ours, with all its problems, its anguishes and its uncertainties, is visited by the Lord. Here is the source of our joy: the Lord has not tired and will never get tired of us, he wants to come, visit us.
Today the verb to come is not only for God but also for us. In fact in the first reading Isaiah prophesies: "Many peoples will come and will say:" Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord "" (2,3). While the evil on earth derives from the fact that each one follows his own path without the others, the prophet offers a wonderful vision: all come together to the mountain of the Lord. On the mountain there was the temple, the house of God. Isaiah therefore sends us an invitation from God to his home. We are God's guests, and those who are invited are expected, desired. "Come - God says - because at home there is room for everyone. Come, because in my heart there is not one people, but every people ".
Dear brothers and sisters, you have come from afar. You left your homes, you left loved ones and dear things. Once here, you have found acceptance along with difficulties and unexpected events. But for God you are always welcome. For Him we are never strangers, but expected children. And the Church is the house of God: here, therefore, always feel at home. Here we come to walk together towards the Lord and carry out the words with which Isaiah's prophecy concludes: "Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord" (v. 5).
But in the light of the Lord we can prefer the darkness of the world. The Lord who comes and his invitation to go to Him can be answered "no, I do not go". Often it is not a direct, brazen, but subtle "no". It is the no from which Jesus warns us in the Gospel, urging us not to do as in the "days of Noah" (Mt 24:37). What happened in the days of Noah? It happened that, while something new and shocking was about to arrive, nobody paid attention to it, because everyone thought only of eating and drinking (see v. 38). In other words, they all reduced their lives to their needs, they were content with a flat, horizontal life, without momentum. There was no expectation of anyone, only the pretense of having something for oneself, to consume. Waiting for the Lord who comes, and does not claim to have something to consume us. This is consumerism.
Consumerism is a virus that affects the faith at its root, because it makes you believe that life depends only on what you have, and so you forget about God who comes to you and those around you. The Lord comes, but rather follow the appetites that come to you; the brother knocks on your door, but it bothers you because it disturbs your plans - and this is the selfish attitude of consumerism. In the Gospel, when Jesus signals the dangers of faith, he does not care about powerful enemies, hostilities and persecutions. There has been all this, there is and will be, but it does not weaken faith. The real danger, on the other hand, is that which anesthetizes the heart: it depends on consumption, it is letting oneself be burdened and dissipated by needs (see Lk 21:34).
Then one lives of things and one no longer knows for what; one has many goods but no good is done; houses fill with things but are empty of children. This is the drama of today: houses full of things but empty of children, the demographic winter that we are suffering. Time is thrown away in pastimes, but there is no time for God and for others. And when you live for things, things are never enough, greed grows and others become obstacles in the race and so you end up feeling threatened and, always dissatisfied and angry, you raise the level of hatred. "I want more, I want more, I want more ...". We see it today where consumerism reigns: how much violence, even if only verbal, how much anger and desire to look for an enemy at all costs! Thus, while the world is full of weapons that cause death, we do not realize that we continue to arm our hearts with anger.
From all this Jesus wants to awaken us. He does this with a verb: "Watch" (Mt 24.42). "Be careful, watch". Watching was the job of the sentinel, who kept watch while awake while everyone slept. Watching is not giving in to the sleep that surrounds everyone. In order to keep watch, we must have a certain hope: that the night will not last forever, that dawn will soon come. It is also so for us: God comes and his light will also illuminate the thickest darkness. But today it is up to us to watch, to watch: to overcome the temptation that the meaning of life is to accumulate - this is a temptation, the meaning of life is not to accumulate -, it is up to us to unmask the deception that we are happy if we have so many things , resist the dazzling lights of consumption, which will shine everywhere this month, and believe that prayer and charity are not lost time, but the greatest treasures.
When we open our hearts to the Lord and to our brethren, the precious good that things can never give us comes and that Isaiah announces in the first reading, peace: "They will break their swords and make them plows, of their spears they will make sickles; a nation will no longer raise the sword against another nation, they will no longer learn the art of war "(Is 2,4). These are words that make us think of your homeland too. Today we pray for peace, seriously threatened in the East of the country, especially in the territories of Beni and Minembwe, where conflicts erupt, fueled also from outside, in the complicit silence of many. Conflicts fueled by those who get rich selling weapons.
Today you remember a beautiful figure, Blessed Marie-Clémentine Anuarite Nengapeta, who was violently killed, not before telling her executioner, like Jesus: "I forgive you, because you don't know what you are doing!" We ask by his intercession that, in the name of God-Love and with the help of neighboring peoples, we renounce our weapons, for a future that is no longer against each other, but with each other, and we get converted from an economy that uses war to an economy that serves peace.
Pope Francis: Who has ears to hear
Pope Francis: Who has the heart to consent
Source: Full Text + Image : Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation