St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 18 November 2018
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In the Gospel passage of this Sunday (cf. Mk 13: 24-32), the Lord wants to instruct his disciples about future events. It is not primarily a discourse on the end of the world, rather it is an invitation to live well the present, to be vigilant and always ready for when we are called to account for our lives. Jesus says: "In those days, after that tribulation, the sun will darken, the moon will no longer give its light, the stars will fall from the sky" (verses 24-25). These words make us think of the first page of the Book of Genesis, the story of creation: the sun, the moon, the stars, which from the beginning of time shine in their order and bring light, sign of life, here they are described in their decay, falling into darkness and chaos, sign of the end. Instead, the light that will shine on that last day will be unique and new: it will be that of the Lord Jesus who will come in glory with all the saints. In that meeting we will finally see his Face in the full light of the Trinity; a radiant face of love, in front of which every human being will appear in total truth.
The history of humanity, like the personal history of each one of us, can not be understood as a simple succession of words and facts that do not make sense. It can not even be interpreted in the light of a fatalistic vision, as if everything were already pre-established according to a destiny that subtracts every space of freedom, preventing the making of choices that are the result of a true decision. In today's Gospel, rather, Jesus says that the history of peoples and of individuals have a goal and a goal to be reached: the definitive encounter with the Lord. We do not know the time nor the ways in which it will happen; the Lord has reiterated that "nobody knows, neither the angels in the sky nor the Son" (v. 32); everything is kept in the secret of the mystery of the Father. We know, however, a fundamental principle with which we must confront: "Heaven and earth will pass away - says Jesus - but my words will not pass" (v. 31). The real crucial point is this. On that day, each of us will have to understand if the Word of the Son of God has enlightened his personal existence, or if he has turned his back on it, preferring to trust in his own words. It will be more than ever the moment in which to abandon ourselves definitively to the love of the Father and entrust us to his mercy.
Nobody can escape this moment, none of us! The cleverness, which we often put into our behavior to credit the image we want to offer, will no longer be needed; in the same way, the power of money and economic means with which we presume to purchase everything and everyone, can no longer be used. We will have with us nothing but what we have achieved in this life by believing in his Word: all and nothingness of what we have experienced or neglected to accomplish. With us only we will bring what we have donated.
We invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary, so that the ascertainment of our temporariness on earth and of our limitation does not make us sink into anguish, but calls us back to responsibility towards ourselves, towards our neighbor, towards the whole world.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
on the occasion of today's World Day of the Poor, I celebrated a Mass in the Basilica of St. Peter this morning in the presence of the poor, accompanied by associations and parish groups. Soon I will attend lunch in the Paul VI Hall with so many indigent people. Similar initiatives of prayer and sharing are promoted in the dioceses of the world, to express the closeness of the Christian community to those living in poverty. This Day, which involves more and more parishes, associations and ecclesial movements, wants to be a sign of hope and a stimulus to become instruments of mercy in the social fabric.
With pain I learned the news of the massacre carried out two days ago in a displaced camp in the Central African Republic, in which two priests were also killed. To this people dear to me, where I opened the first Holy Door of the Year of Mercy, I express all my closeness and my love. We pray for the dead and the wounded and why stop all violence in that beloved country that is in great need of peace. Let us pray together Our Lady ... [Ave, o Maria]
A special prayer goes to those affected by the fires that are scourging California, and now also to the victims of frost on the east coast of the United States. May the Lord welcome the dead into his peace, comfort the family members and support those who commit themselves to help.
And now I greet you, families, parishes, associations and individual faithful, who have come from Italy and from many parts of the world. In particular, I greet the pilgrims of Union City and Brooklyn, those of Puerto Rico with the Bishop of Ponce and the group of priests of Campanha (Brazil) with their Bishop; as well as the companions to the Marian shrines in the world, the Italian Confederation of the Catholic schools, the faithful of Crotone and the choir of Roncegno Terme.
I wish everyone a good Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!