3. Finally, Christ is the centre of the history of humanity and also the centre of the history of every individual. To him we can bring the joys and the hopes, the sorrows and troubles which are part of our lives. When Jesus is the centre, light shines even amid the darkest times of our lives; he gives us hope, as he does to the good thief in today’s Gospel.
Whereas all the others treat Jesus with disdain – “If you are the Christ, the Messiah King, save yourself by coming down from the cross!” – the thief who went astray in his life but now repents, clings to the crucified Jesus and begs him: “Remember me, when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Jesus promises him: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43), in his kingdom. Jesus speaks only a word of forgiveness, not of condemnation; whenever anyone finds the courage to ask for this forgiveness, the Lord does not let such a petition go unheard. Today we can all think of our own history, our own journey. Each of us has his or her own history: we think of our mistakes, our sins, our good times and our bleak times. We would do well, each one of us, on this day, to think about our own personal history, to look at Jesus and to keep telling him, sincerely and quietly: “Remember me, Lord, now that you are in your kingdom! Jesus, remember me, because I want to be good, but I just don’t have the strength: I am a sinner, I am a sinner. But remember me, Jesus! You can remember me because you are at the centre, you are truly in your kingdom!” How beautiful this is! Let us all do this today, each one of us in his or her own heart, again and again. “Remember me, Lord, you who are at the centre, you who are in your kingdom”.
Jesus’ promise to the good thief gives us great hope: it tells us that God’s grace is always greater than the prayer which sought it. The Lord always grants more, he is so generous, he always gives more than what he has been asked: you ask him to remember you, and he brings you into his kingdom!
Let us ask the Lord to remember us, in the certainty that by his mercy we will be able to share his glory in paradise. Let us go forward together on this road!
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.
1 December 2013
Extracted from Psalm 122:1-2,4-5,6-9:
I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’
I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’
And now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
It is there that the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord.
For Israel’s law it is, there to praise the Lord’s name.
There were set the thrones of judgement of the house of David.
For the peace of Jerusalem pray: ‘Peace be to your homes!
May peace reign in your walls, in your palaces, peace!’
For love of my brethren and friends I say: ‘Peace upon you!’
For love of the house of the Lord I will ask for your good.
Extracted from the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 13:11-14:
You know ‘the time’ has come: you must wake up now: our salvation is even nearer than it was when we were converted.
The night is almost over, it will be daylight soon – let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark; let us arm ourselves and appear in the light.
Let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy.
Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ.
It was the 1st Sunday of Advent on 1 December 2013.
Here are the Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day (see above):
1st Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5,
Responsorial: Psalm 122:1-2, 4-5, 6-9,
2nd Reading: Romans 13:11-14 &
Gospel Reading: Matthew 24:37-44.
We have extracted the Homilies of Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
PRESENTATION OF THE BULL OF INDICTION
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Sunday, 29 November 1998
1. “Let us go joyfully to meet the Lord” (refrain, Responsorial Psalm; Italian Lectionary).
These are the words of the Responsorial Psalm for today’s liturgy of the First Sunday of Advent, a liturgical season which from year to year renews our expectation of Christ’s coming. Advent has taken on a new, unique aspect in these years as we look forward to the third millennium. Tertio millennio adveniente: 1998, which is coming to an end, and 1999, now close at hand, bring us to the threshold of a new century and a new millennium.
Our celebration today also began “on the threshold”: on the threshold of the Vatican Basilica, in front of the Holy Door, with the presentation and reading of the Bull of Indiction of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.
“Let us go joyfully to meet the Lord” is a refrain perfectly in tune with the Jubilee. It is, so to speak, a “jubilee refrain”, according to the etymology of the Latin word iubilare, which in itself contains a reference to joy. Let us go joyfully, then! Let us walk with joy and watchfulness, as we wait for the season that recalls God’s coming in human flesh, a time which reached its fullness when Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem. It is then that the time of waiting was fulfilled.
In Advent we await an event which occurs in history and at the same time transcends it. As it does every year, this event will take place on the night of the Lord’s Birth. The shepherds will hasten to the stable in Bethlehem; later the Magi will arrive from the East. Both the one and the other in a certain sense symbolize the entire human family. The exhortation that rings out in today’s liturgy: “Let us go joyfully to meet the Lord” spreads to all countries, to all continents, among every people and nation. The voice of the liturgy — that is, the voice of the Church — resounds everywhere and invites everyone to the Great Jubilee.
2. The last three years preceding the Year 2000 form a very intense period of waiting, aimed at meditation on the meaning of the forthcoming spiritual event and on its necessary preparation.
The content of this preparation is modeled on the Trinitarian formula which is repeated at the end of every liturgical prayer. Let us therefore go with joy to the Father, through the way which is our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with him in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
That is why the first year was dedicated to the Son, the second to the Holy Spirit, and the one that begins today — the last year before the Great Jubilee — will be the year of the Father. Invited by the Father, we are going to him through the Son, in the Holy Spirit. This three-year period of immediate preparation for the new millennium, because of its Trinitarian character, speaks to us not only of God in himself, as an ineffable mystery of life and holiness, but also of God who comes to us.
3. For this reason the refrain “Let us go joyfully to meet the Lord” sounds so appropriate. We can meet God, because he has reached out to us. He did so as the father in the parable of the prodigal son (cf. Luke 15:11-32), because he is rich in mercy, dives in misericordia, and wants to meet us from wherever we come and wherever our journey is taking us. God comes to us whether we have sought him, ignored him and or even avoided him. He reaches out to us first, his arms open wide like a loving and merciful father.
If God is moved to reach out to us, can we turn our backs on him? But we cannot go alone to meet the Father. We must join the company of all who are members of “God’s family”. To prepare for the Jubilee properly, we must be ready to accept everyone. They are all our brothers and sisters because they are all children of the same heavenly Father.
We can interpret the Church’s 2,000year history in this perspective. It is comforting to note how, in this passage from the second to the third millennium, the Church is experiencing a fresh missionary impulse. This is one of the results of the continental Synods held in recent years, including the current one for Australia and Oceania. It can also be seen in the information received by the Committee for the Great Jubilee about activities planned by the local Churches in preparation for this historic event.
I would like to offer a special greeting to the Cardinal President of the Committee, the General Secretary and their staff. I also extend my greeting to the Cardinals, Bishops and priests present, as well as to all of you, dear brothers and sisters who are taking part in this solemn liturgy. And I offer a particular greeting to the clergy, religious and committed lay people of Rome, who together with the Cardinal Vicar and the Auxiliary Bishops are here this morning to open the final phase of the City Mission, directed to various social contexts.
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