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.
In Saint Luke’s Gospel on Tuesday, Jesus tells the parable of a man who wants to give a great feast. But his guests offer various excuses and refuse his invitation. Instead, the man sends his servants to call the poor and the lame to fill his house and enjoy his hospitality.
The Lord’s reaction to our refusal is firm: he wants all sorts of people called to the feast, brought there, even forced to come, good people and bad. “Everyone is invited. Everyone. No one can say, ‘I am bad, I can’t …’. No. The Lord is waiting for you in a special way because you are bad.” Pope Francis recalled the response of the father to the prodigal son who returns home: the son starts a speech, but the father stops him and embraces him. “That’s the way the Lord is”, said the Pope, “He is lavishness”.
Turning to the First Reading where the Apostle Paul warns against hypocrisy, Pope Francis quoted Jesus’ response to the Jews who rejected Him because they believed themselves to be just: “I tell you that prostitutes and tax collectors will enter the kingdom of heaven before you”. The Lord loves those who are most disregarded, said the Pope, but He calls us. Faced with our closure, however, He keeps His distance and becomes angry, as we heard in the Gospel.
Read more Pope’s Homili at the morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta; https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope-francis/mass-casa-santa-marta/2019-11/pope-mass-santa-marta-lord-waits-for-everyone.html
In the last fifty years, 57 Jesuits have been assassinated for defending justice and reconciliation.
On the 50th anniversary of the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat, we want to pay a modest tribute to them with the publication “Jesuit Martyrs: Torches of Light and Hope” which contains a brief portrait of each of them as well as testimonies of people who knew them.
The fruits of their witness were fruitful: personal conversions, deepening of faith, increase in vocations, communities capable of facing their problems with dignity and living in peace. Their lives inspire others to fight for faith and justice. They also brought about structural changes, such as the acceleration of peace talks between the warring parties in El Salvador after the 1989 assassinations or the reconciliation work that took place in Rwanda after the assassination of the martyrs in that country.
Their assassins wanted to silence them by taking their lives. Paradoxically, their spirit is still alive and continues to bear fruit. Their light shines brightly.
Here you can have access to the publication Jesuit “martyrs”: Torches of Light and Hope.
Following an Oct. 9 attack by Turkey on northeast Syria, more than 160,000 people, mainly Kurds but also Christians and Yazidis, have fled, according to the relief agency of the United Nations. With many humanitarian organizations also running for cover, aid for those on the run has been limited.
The attacks came three days after a widely denounced decision by U. S. President Donald Trump to withdraw American troops, which had been aligned with Kurdish forces in the region against the Islamic State. The Kurds and their YPG (People’s Protection Unit) fighters had assured Christians they could safely remain in their towns and villages.
The bulk of Christians in the buffer zone are settled in villages along the Syrian-Iraqi border, which Iraqi authorities have closed to Syrians fleeing the fighting. There’s been little fighting in that part of Turkey’s self-declared buffer zone. However, there’s concern for the 60,000-strong Christian community in Al Hasakah, about 50 kilometres south of the buffer zone.
Hope is like throwing an anchor to the other shore. Pope Francis uses this image at morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta to exhort people to live “in tension” towards an encounter with the Lord, otherwise they will end up corrupted and Christian life will risk becoming a “philosophical doctrine”.
In order to make it clear how to live in hope, the Pope then refers to the teaching of Jesus in the passage from today’s Gospel (Lk 13:18-21) when He compares the Kingdom of God to the mustard seed thrown into the field. “Let’s wait for it to grow”. We don’t go every day to see how it goes, because otherwise “it will never grow”, the Pope points out, referring to “patience” because, as Paul says, “hope needs patience”. It is “the patience of knowing that we sow, but it is God who gives growth”. “Hope is artisanal, small,” he continues, “it is sowing a grain and letting the land give growth.”
Read more on Pope’s preaching about Hope: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2019-10/pope-at-mass-for-a-christian-hope-is-like-the-air-we-breathe.html