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”.
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
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
Pope Francis appealed October 13, 2019, for peace in Ecuador, where violence in recent days has included riots and attacks on government buildings. His remarks came during the Angelus prayed with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square.
“Together with all the members of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian Region, especially those from Ecuador, I follow with concern all that is happening in the last weeks in that country,” the Holy Father said. “I entrust it to our common prayer and to the intercession of the new Saints, and I unite myself to the grief for the dead, the wounded and the dispersed. I encourage the seeking of social peace, with particular attention to the most vulnerable populations, to the poor and to human rights.”
“…The Apostles create seven deacons, and among the seven “deacons”, Stephen and Philip in distinguish themselves in particular. Stephen evangelizes with strength and parrhesia, but his word encounters the most obstinate resistance. As they find no other way of making him desist, what do his adversaries do?
…Stephen is condemned to death, condemned to stoning. But he manifests the true “fabric” of the disciple of Christ. He does not seek loopholes, he does not appeal to people who can save him, but rather places his life back into the hands of the Lord, and Stephen’s prayer is beautiful at that moment: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7: 59) – and he dies as a son of God, forgiving: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7: 60).
These words of Stephen teach us that it is not beautiful speeches that reveal our identity as children of God, but rather that the abandonment of one’s life in the hands of the Father and forgiveness for those who offend us make us see the quality of our faith.
Today there are more martyrs than at the beginning of the Church’s life, and martyrs are everywhere. Today’s Church is rich in martyrs, it is irrigated by their blood which is “the seed of new Christians” (Tertullian, Apologetic, 50,13) and ensures growth and fruitfulness for the People of God. The martyrs are not “holy men”, but men and women in flesh and blood who – as the Revelation says – “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7: 14). They are the true winners.
Let us also ask the Lord that, looking at the martyrs of yesterday and today, we can learn to live a full life, welcoming the martyrdom of daily fidelity to the Gospel and conformation to Christ.”
Full version; The General Audience concluded with the recitation of the Pater Noster and the Apostolic Blessing.
“…Be careful when faced with this bitterness! Be careful!
The Lord is the first to tell you no! This is not the way to go. He is alive and he also wants you to be alive. He wants you to share all your gifts and charisms, all your dreams and your talents (cf. ibid., 1). The Lord calls each of us by name and says: Follow me! He does not call us to run after mirages, but to become missionary disciples here and now. He is the first to reject all those voices that would lull you to sleep, make you passive, numb and apathetic, and thus prevent you from seeking new horizons. With Jesus, there are always new horizons to be sought. He wants to change us and to make our lives a mission. But he tells us one thing: he tells us not to be afraid to get our hands dirty.
The Lord is not looking for lone adventurers. He gives us a mission, yes, but he does not send us out alone to the front lines….”
Read the Pope’s address to those present at the prayer vigil with young people during his trip in Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius (4 to 10 September 2019); http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2019/09/07/190907e.html