|"On Awaiting the End Times"
November 13, 2016
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The Gospel for today gives us the first part of Jesus’ words on the end times, as related by St. Luke. Jesus speaks about this while in front of the Temple of Jerusalem, drawing from the people’s exclamations of admiration at the beauty of the sanctuary and its decorations. Jesus then says, “All that you see here — the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”
We can imagine the effect of these words on Jesus’ disciples. He doesn’t want to offend the temple but rather to make them understand, and us today as well, that human constructions — even the most sacred — are passing, and we shouldn’t place our securities in them.
How many supposed certainties in our lives have we thought were definitive and then they turned out to be ephemeral. On the other hand, how many problems we’ve faced that seemed to have no way out, and then they were overcome!
Jesus knows that there are always people who speculate in the need that people have of securities. That’s why he says: “See that you not be deceived,” and puts them on guard against all the false messiahs who present themselves. Today we still have these. And Jesus adds that there is no need to become terrified or disoriented by wars, revolutions and calamities, because these are also part of the reality of this world.
The history of the Church is rich in examples of people who endured tribulations and terrible sufferings with serenity, because they were aware that they were safely in the hands of God. He is a faithful and attentive father who never abandons his children. Never. And we should have this certainty in our hearts. God never abandons us.
To stay firm in the Lord, to walk in the hope that he never abandons us, to work to build a better world despite the difficulties and the sad events that mark our collective and personal existence — this is what really counts.
That is what the Christian community is called to do to go out to meet the “day of the Lord.”
Precisely in this context we want to place the efforts that begin after these months in which we’ve lived with faith the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, which today is wrapping up in the dioceses of the world with the closing of the Holy Doors in the cathedral churches. The Holy Year has called us, on one hand, to have our gaze set on the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, and on the other hand, to build the future on this earth, working to evangelize the present, to bring about a time of salvation for all.
Jesus in the Gospel exhorts us to have clear in our minds and hearts the certainty that God guides our history and knows the ultimate end of things and events.
History — with its uncertain progression and the interweaving of good and evil — develops under the merciful gaze of the Lord. Everything that happens is conserved in Him. Our life cannot be lost because it is in his hands.
Let us pray to the Virgin Mary, so that she helps us through the good and the sad events of this world to stay firm in the hope of the eternity of God. Let us pray to the Virgin that she helps us to deeply understand the truth that God never abandons his children.[Angelus]
Dear brothers and sisters, this week the oldest wooden crucifix of St. Peter’s basilica has been reinstated for the devotion of the faithful; it dates from the 14th century. After a laborious work of restoration it’s been returned to its former splendor and will be hung in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, to recall the Jubilee of Mercy.
Today in Italy is celebrated the traditional day of Thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and human work. I unite myself to the bishops in their desire that mother earth always be cultivated in a sustainable manner. The Church, with understanding and recognition, is beside the world of agriculture and does not forget those who in various parts of the world are deprives of essential gifts such as food and water.
I greet everyone, families, parishes, associations and faithful, who have come from Italy and so many other parts of the world. In particular, I greet and thank the associations that in these days have supported the jubilee for excluded peoples.
I greet the pilgrims from Río de Janeiro, Salerno, Piacenza, Veroli and Acri, and also “The Family” service of Milan, and the Italian fraternities of the secular Order of the Trinity.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and see you soon![Translation by ZENIT]
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