Pope Francis says "Let us ask ourselves: do I live what I say in the Creed, "I await - that is - the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come"?" FULL TEXT Homily All Souls' Day Mass

 St. Peter's Basilica - Altar of the Chair
Wednesday, November 2, 2022
The readings we have heard arouse in us, in me, two words: expectation and surprise.
Attesa expresses the meaning of life, because we live in anticipation of the encounter: the encounter with God, which is the reason for our intercessory prayer today, especially for the Cardinals and Bishops who have died in the last year, for whom we offer this Eucharistic Sacrifice in suffrage.
We all live in expectation, in the hope of one day hearing those words of Jesus addressed to us: "Come, blessed of my Father" (Mt 25:34). We are in the waiting room of the world to enter paradise, to take part in that "banquet for all peoples" of which the prophet Isaiah spoke to us (cf. 25: 6).

He says something that warms our hearts because it will fulfill our greatest expectations: the Lord "will eliminate death forever" and "wipe the tears from every face" (v. 8). It is beautiful when the Lord comes to dry the tears! But it is so bad when we hope that it is someone else, and not the Lord, who wipes them. And worse still, not having tears. Then we will be able to say: «This is the Lord in whom we have hoped - the one who dries the tears -; let us rejoice, let us rejoice in his salvation "(v. 9). Yes, we live in expectation of receiving goods so great and beautiful that we cannot even imagine them, because, as the Apostle Paul reminded us, "we are heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ" (Rom 8:17) and "we are waiting to to live forever, we await the redemption of our body "(cf. v. 23).
Brothers and sisters, let us nourish the expectation of Heaven, let us practice the desire for heaven. It does us good today to ask ourselves if our desires have anything to do with Heaven. Because we risk continually aspiring to things that pass, confusing desires with needs, putting the expectations of the world before waiting for God. But losing sight of what matters to chase the wind would be the biggest mistake in life. We look up, because we are on our way to the top, while the things down here will not go up there: the best careers, the greatest achievements, the most prestigious titles and awards, the accumulated wealth and the earthly gains, all will vanish in an instant. , everything. And every expectation placed in them will be disappointed forever. And yet, how much time, how much effort and energy do we spend worrying and saddening ourselves for these things, letting the tension towards home fade away, losing sight of the meaning of the journey, the goal of the journey, the infinity we tend to, the joy for which let's breathe! Let us ask ourselves: do I live what I say in the Creed, "I await - that is - the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come"? And how is my wait? Am I able to go to the essentials or do I get distracted by so many superfluous things? Do I cultivate hope or do I go on complaining, because I give too much value to so many things that do not count and that will then pass?
In anticipation of tomorrow, today's Gospel helps us. And here emerges the second word that I would like to share with you: surprise. Because the surprise is great every time we listen to chapter 25 of Matthew. It is similar to that of the protagonists, who say: «Lord, when did we see you hungry and gave you to eat, or thirsty and gave you to drink? When have we ever seen you as a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and dressed you? When have we ever seen you sick or in prison and came to visit you? " (vv. 37-39). When ever? Thus is expressed the surprise of all, the amazement of the just and the dismay of the unjust.
When ever? We could say it too: we would expect that the judgment on life and the world will take place under the banner of justice, before a solving court that, by examining every element, clarifies situations and intentions forever. Instead, in the divine tribunal, the only piece of merit and accusation is mercy towards the poor and the discarded: "Everything you did to one of these least of my brothers, you did it to me", sentences Jesus (v. 40). The Most High seems to be in the little ones. Those who live in the heavens are among the most insignificant to the world. What a surprise! But the judgment will take place like this because it will be issued by Jesus, the God of humble love, the One who, born and died poor, lived as a servant. His measure is a love that goes beyond our measures and his yardstick is gratuitousness. So, to prepare ourselves, we know what to do: love for free and without repaying, without waiting for a return, those who are included in their list of preferences, those who cannot give us back anything, those who do not attract us, those who serve the little ones.
This morning I received a letter from a chaplain in a children's home, a Protestant Lutheran chaplain in a children's home in Ukraine. Children orphans of war, children alone, abandoned. And he said: “This is my service: accompanying these rejected ones, because they have lost their parents, the cruel war has made them remain alone”. This man does what Jesus asks of him: to cure the little ones of the tragedy. And when I read that letter, written with so much pain, I was moved, because I said: "Lord, you can see that you continue to inspire the true values ​​of the Kingdom".
When ever? This pastor will say when he meets the Lord. That "when" amazed, which returns four times in the questions that humanity addresses to the Lord (cf. vv., arrives late, only "when the Son of man comes in his glory" (v. 31) ). Brothers, sisters, let us not be surprised too. We are very careful not to sweeten the flavor of the Gospel. Because often, for convenience or for convenience, we tend to attenuate the message of Jesus, to water down his words. Let's face it, we've gotten pretty good at compromising with the gospel. Always up to here, up to there ... compromises. Feeding the hungry yes, but the issue of hunger is complex, and I certainly can't solve it! Helping the poor, yes, but then injustices must be dealt with in a certain way and then it is better to wait, also because if you commit yourself then you risk always being disturbed and maybe you realize that you could have done better, better wait a bit. Being close to the sick and prisoners, yes, but on the front pages of the newspapers and on social media there are other more urgent problems and so why should I be interested in them? Welcoming migrants yes, of course, but it is a complicated general issue, it concerns politics… I don't mix myself in these things… Always compromises: “yes, yes…”, but “no, no”. These are the compromises we make with the gospel. All "yes" but, in the end, all "no". And so, by dint of "but" and "but" - many times we are men and women of "but" and "but" - we make life a compromise with the Gospel. From simple disciples of the Master we become masters of complexity, who argue a lot and do little, who seek answers more in front of the computer than in front of the Crucifix, on the internet rather than in the eyes of brothers and sisters; Christians who comment, debate and expose theories, but do not know even a poor person by name, have not visited a sick person for months, have never fed or clothed someone, have never made friends with someone in need, forgetting that "the Christian's program is a heart that sees "(Benedict XVI, Deus caritas est, 31).
When ever? - the big surprise: surprise from the right side and from the unjust side - When ever? Both the just and the unjust ask surprised. The answer is only one: the when is now, today, at the exit of this Eucharist. Now, today. It is in our hands, in our works of mercy: not in clarifications and refined analyzes, not in individual or social justifications. In our hands, and we are responsible. Today the Lord reminds us that death comes to make the truth about life and removes any extenuating circumstances to mercy. Brothers, sisters, we can't say we don't know. We cannot confuse the reality of beauty with artificially made makeup. The Gospel explains how to live in expectation: we go to meet God by loving because He is love. And, on the day of our farewell, the surprise will be happy if now we allow ourselves to be surprised by the presence of God, who awaits us among the poor and wounded of the world. We are not afraid of this surprise: we go forward in the things the Gospel tells us, to be judged righteous in the end. God waits to be caressed not with words, but with deeds.
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