Jesus’ clear certainty about the Resurrection is based entirely on the fidelity of God, Who is the God of life. In fact, behind the question of the Sadducees lies a deeper question: not only whose wife the widow of the seven husbands will be, but whose will her life be. It is a doubt that touches the man of all times and also us: after this earthly pilgrimage, what will become of our lives? Will it belong to nothing, to death?
Jesus answers that life belongs to God, Who loves us and cares so much about us, to the point of linking His name to ours: He is “the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him”. (vv. 37-38). Life exists where there is bond, communion and brotherhood; and it is a stronger life than death when it is built on true relationships and bonds of fidelity. On the contrary, there is no life where one has the pretension of belonging only to oneself and of living as an island: in these attitudes death prevails. It is selfishness. If I live for myself, I am sowing death in my heart.
Read full version of The Pope’s words at the Angelus prayer, 10.11.2019; https://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2019/11/10/191110a.html
In a video-message to those gathered in Lourdes for the event 3rd World Day of the Poor on 17 November 2019, the Pope reminds those who suffer want and are abandoned to always bear in mind that God loves them and hears their prayers.
“You who are little, who are poor, fragile, you are the Church’s treasure. You are in the Pope’s heart, in Mary’s heart, in God’s heart”, the Pope says in the video message sent on Friday. In his message, Pope Francis goes on to encourages the pilgrims in Lourdes to care for those who are sick.
He points out that there is “no one so poor to have nothing to give”. He notes that love saves the world and that God wants us to be the vessels through which love flows.
“Finally, when you return,” he says, “do not leave as you came. Return with hope, be witnesses of God’s love around you. Tell the world what your treasure is: Jesus. Go with Mary, that she may make you apostles of God’s tenderness. The Pope loves you and trusts you”.
The increase of pilgrims and tourists to Bethlehem continues, the Palestinian city where Jesus was born, and also for this reason the Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine announced on Monday 11 November that it has decided to extend the opening hours of the holy site by an extra 3 hours, from 5 am until 8 pm, in preparation for Advent and Christmas. Ramzy Khoury, President of the Committee, pointed out that these efforts are being carried out in response to the increase in the numbers of pilgrims and tourists, both locally and those coming from far afield, visiting Bethlehem and the Church of Nativity. This increase in numbers, especially to the Church of Nativity, has resulted in long queues of people who have to wait from 45 minutes to 2 hours to get a glimpse of the Grotto, where according to tradition baby Jesus was born. To add to that, the church has been undergoing restoration since 2012. Restoration works are still expected to continue until next year.
In the first half of 2019, tourist and Holy Sites in the West Bank had received 1,726,560 visits, an increase of 17% compared to the same period of 2018. The statistical data confirm Bethlehem as a favorite destination for pilgrims, especially during Advent and the time of Christmas.