5. Everyday you should ask: Lord, what do you wish me to do? What is your will for us as family, as parents and as children. What do you expect from me as a young person who is open to life and wants to live with and for you? Only in answering such personal questions will you fully realize the will of God: to be the "light" and "salt" that enlightens and gives savour to our beloved City.
May Mary be your support and your guide. She is the faithful Virgin who can teach us ever to "rejoice in the service of the Lord", as we prayed at the beginning of Mass and she can obtain for us the grace "to persevere in our dedication to God", the author of every good thing. Thus we shall achieve "a full and lasting happiness". Amen.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Blessed Pope John Paul II, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
St Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In today's Gospel passage, St Luke re-proposes the Biblical view of history for our reflection and refers to Jesus' words that invite the disciples not to fear, but to face difficulties, misunderstandings and even persecutions with trust, persevering through faith in him. The Lord says: "When you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once" (Luke 21: 9). Keeping this admonition in mind, from the beginning the Church lives in prayerful waiting for her Lord, scrutinizing the signs of the times and putting the faithful on guard against recurring messiahs, who from time to time announce the world's end as imminent. In reality, history must run its course, which brings with it also human dramas and natural calamities. In it a design of salvation is developed that Christ has already brought to fulfilment in his Incarnation, death and Resurrection. The Church continues to proclaim this mystery and to announce and accomplish it with her preaching, celebration of the sacraments and witness of charity.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us welcome Christ's invitation to face daily events by trusting in his providential love. Let us not fear the future, even when it can appear with bleak colours, because the God of Jesus Christ, who entered history to open it to its transcendent fulfilment, is the alpha and the omega, the first and the last (cf. Revelations 1: 8). He guarantees that in every little but genuine act of love there is the entire sense of the universe, and that the one who does not hesitate to lose his own life for him finds it again in fullness (cf. Matthew 16: 25).
With remarkable effectiveness, consecrated persons, who have placed their lives completely at the service of the Kingdom of God, invite us to keep this perspective alive. Among these I would like to particularly recall those called to contemplation in cloistered monasteries. The Church dedicates a special day to them this Wednesday, 21 November, Memorial of the Presentation in the Temple of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We owe much to these people who live on what Providence provides them through the generosity of the faithful. "As a spiritual oasis, a monastery reminds today's world of the most important, and indeed, in the end, the only decisive thing: that there is an ultimate reason why life is worth living: God and his unfathomable love" (Pope Benedict XVI, Heiligenkreuz, Austria, 9 September 2007). Faith, which is active in charity, is the true antidote against a nihilistic mentality that is spreading its influence in the world even more in our time.
May Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word, accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage. We ask her to sustain the witness of all Christians, so that it is always based on a solid and persevering faith.
After the Angelus :
A few days ago a tremendous cyclone struck southern Bangladesh, causing many victims and severe destruction. Renewing the expression of my profound condolences to the families and entire Nation, so dear to me, I appeal for international solidarity, which has already begun in the face of the immediate needs. I encourage the use of every possible effort to assist these sorely tried brethren.
Today, the eighth Assembly of States opens in Jordan, which signed the Agreement on the prohibition of the use, storage, production and transfer of inhuman anti-land mines and called for their destruction. The Holy See is among the principal promoters of this Agreement, adopted about 10 years ago. I therefore whole-heartedly express my wish and encouragement for the good outcome of the conference, so that these explosives, which continue to claim victims, many of whom are children, may be completely outlawed.
This afternoon in Novara [Italy], the Venerable Servant of God Antonio Rosmini will be beatified, a great priestly figure and illustrious man of culture, inspired by a fervent love for God and the Church. He witnessed the virtue of charity in all its dimensions and at a high level, but what made him most famous was his generous commitment to what he called "intellectual charity", which means the reconciliation of reason with faith. May his example help the Church, especially the Italian Ecclesial Communities, to grow in the awareness that the light of human reason and that of Grace, when they journey together, become a source of blessing for the human person and for society.
I wish all of you a good Sunday!
The Homily of Pope Benedict XVI on 14 November 2010 - Encouragements-323
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Pope Benedict XVI, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
Saint Peter's Square
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
This Sunday’s Gospel passage (Luke 21:5-19) is the first part of Jesus’ discourse on the end times. He delivers it in Jerusalem, close to the Temple, prompted by people discussing the Temple and its beauty. The Temple was very beautiful. Jesus says: “As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another” (Luke 21:6). Of course they asked him: When will this happen? What will the signs be? But Jesus moves the focus from these secondary aspects — i.e. when will it be? What will it be like? — to the truly important questions. Firstly, not to let oneself be fooled by false prophets nor to be paralyzed by fear. Secondly, to live this time of expectation as a time of witness and perseverance. We are in this time of waiting, in expectation of the coming of the Lord.
Jesus’ words are perennially relevant, even for us today living in the 21st century too. He repeats to us: “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name” (v. 8). This Christian virtue of understanding is a call to discern where the Lord is, and where the evil spirit is present. Today, too, in fact there are false “saviours” who attempt to replace Jesus: worldly leaders, religious gurus, even sorcerers, people who wish to attract hearts and minds to themselves, especially those of young people. Jesus warns us: “Do not follow them, do not follow them!”.
The Lord also helps us not to be afraid in the face of war, revolution, natural disasters and epidemics. Jesus frees us from fatalism and false apocalyptic visions.
The second aspect challenges us as Christians and as a Church: Jesus predicts that his disciples will have to suffer painful trials and persecution for his sake. He reassures them, however, saying: “Not a hair of your head will perish” (v. 18). This reminds us that we are completely in God’s hands! The trials we encounter for our faith and our commitment to the Gospel are occasions to give witness; we must not distance ourselves from the Lord, but instead abandon ourselves even more to him, to the power of his Spirit and his grace.
I am thinking at this moment, let everyone think together. Let us do so together: let us think about our many Christian brothers and sisters who are suffering persecution for their faith. There are so many. Perhaps more now than in past centuries. Jesus is with them. We too are united to them with our prayers and our love; we admire their courage and their witness. They are our brothers and sisters who, in many parts of the world, are suffering for their faithfulness to Jesus Christ. Let us greet them with heartfelt affection.
At the end Jesus makes a promise which is a guarantee of victory: “By your endurance you will gain your lives” (v. 19). There is so much hope in these words! They are a call to hope and patience, to be able to wait for the certain fruits of salvation, trusting in the profound meaning of life and of history: the trials and difficulties are part of the bigger picture; the Lord, the Lord of history, leads all to fulfillment. Despite the turmoil and disasters that upset the world, God’s design of goodness and mercy will be fulfilled! And this is our hope: go forward on this path, in God’s plan which will be fulfilled. This is our hope.
Jesus’ message causes us to reflect on our present time and gives us the strength to face it with courage and hope, with Mary who always accompanies us.
After the Angelus:
I greet all of you, families, associations and groups, who have come to Rome from other places in Italy and other parts of the world: Spain, France, Finland, and the Netherlands. In a particular way I greet the pilgrims who have come from Vercelli, Salerno, Lizzanello; the “Motoclub Lucania di Potenza” and the youth from Montecassino and Caserta.
Today the Eritrean community of Rome is celebrating the Feast of St Michael. Let us warmly greet them!
Today is the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. I assure you of my prayers, and I encourage you to continue in your efforts to prevent accidents, because regulated prudence and compliance are the first steps to protecting yourselves and others.
Now I would like to recommend a medicine to you. Some of you may be wondering: “Is the Pope a pharmacist now?”. It is a special medicine which will help you to benefit from the Year of Faith, as it soon will come to an end. It is a medicine that consists of 59 threaded beads; a “spiritual medicine” called Misericordin. A small box containing 59 beads on a string. This little box contains the medicine, and will be distributed to you by volunteers as you leave the Square. Take them! There is a rosary, with which you can pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, spiritual help for our souls and for spreading love, forgiveness and brotherhood everywhere. Do not forget to take it, because it is good for you. It is good for the heart, the soul, and for life in general!
I wish you all a blessed Sunday. Goodbye and have a good lunch!
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homily of Pope Francis I, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
24 November 2013