Here is a ZENIT working translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
In today’s Gospel (Lk 12: 32-48), Jesus calls His disciples to constant vigilance. Why? To grasp the passage of God in one’s life, because God continually passes into one’s life. He indicates the ways to live this vigilance well: “Be ready, gird your loins and light your lamps” (v. 35). This is the way. First of all «gird your loins», an image that recalls the attitude of a pilgrim, ready to set out. It is a matter of not taking root in comfortable and reassuring dwellings, but of abandoning oneself, of being open, with simplicity and trust to the passing of God in our life, to God’s will, which guides us towards the next objective. The Lord always walks with us and often accompanies us by the hand, guiding us, so we do not make mistakes in this difficult journey. In fact, those who trust in God know well that the life of faith is not something static, but it is dynamic! The life of faith is a continuous journey, to head toward ever new stages, which the Lord, Himself, indicates day after day. Because He is the Lord of surprises, the Lord of novelties, of real newness.
And then – the first way was ” gird your loins” – then we are required to keep “the lamps lit“, to be able to lighten the darkness of the night. We are invited, that is, to live an authentic and mature faith, capable of illuminating the many “nights” of life. We know, we all had days that were true spiritual nights. The lamp of faith requires being constantly nourished, with the meeting– heart to heart–with Jesus, in prayer and listening to His Word. I reiterate something I have said many times: always carry a small Gospel in your pocket, in your bag, to read it. It is an encounter with Jesus, with the Word of Jesus. This lamp of the encounter with Jesus in prayer and in His Word is entrusted to us for the good of everyone: no one, therefore, can retreat into the certainty of his own salvation, disinterested in others . It is a fantasy to believe that one can ‘light’ themselves up from inside. No, it’s a fantasy. True faith opens our hearts to others and spurs us towards concrete communion with our brothers, especially those in need.
And Jesus, to make us understand this attitude, tells the parable of the servants who await the return of the master when he returns from the wedding (v. 36-40), thus presenting another aspect of vigilance: to be ready for the final and definitive meeting with the Lord. Each of us will meet Him, finding himself with the Lord, on that day. Each of us has his or her own date of the definitive meeting. The Lord says: “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he returns; … And if he arrives in the middle of the night or before dawn, he will find them thus, blessed them! “(Vv. 37-38). With these words, the Lord reminds us that life is a journey towards eternity; therefore, we are called to make all the talents we have bear fruit, without ever forgetting that “we do not have the stable city here, but we go in search of the future” ( Heb 13:14). In this perspective, every moment becomes precious, so it is necessary to live and act on this earth having a longing for heaven: feet on earth, walking on earth, working on earth, doing good on earth, and the nostalgic heart of heaven.
We cannot really understand what this supreme joy consists of, yet Jesus makes us guess with the similitude of the master that by finding the servants still awake upon his return: “he will put on his garments, put them on the table and serve them” (v. 37). The eternal joy of heaven is thus manifested: the situation will turn upside down, and the servants, that is, us, will no longer serve God, but God himself will put Himself at our service. And this is what Jesus does right now: Jesus prays for us, Jesus looks at us and prays to the Father for us, Jesus serves us now, He is our servant. And this will be the definitive joy. The thought of the final encounter with the Father, rich in mercy, fills us with hope, and stimulates us to constant commitment to our sanctification and to build a more just and fraternal world.
May the Virgin Mary, with her maternal intercession, support this commitment of ours.
[Original text: Italian] [Working translation by ZENIT Sr Vatican Correspondent, Deborah Castellano Lubov]
After the Angelus:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Tomorrow marks the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions, important international legal instruments that impose limits on the use of force and are aimed at protecting civilians and prisoners in time of war. May this anniversary make states increasingly aware of the indispensable need to protect the life and dignity of victims of armed conflicts. All are required to observe the limits imposed by international humanitarian law, protecting unarmed populations and civil structures, especially hospitals, schools, places of worship, refugee camps. And let’s not forget that war and terrorism are always a serious loss for all humanity.
They are the great human defeat!
I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from various countries: families, church groups, associations.
Even today there are many children and young people. I greet you with affection! In particular, the adolescents of Saccolongo and also those of Creola; and the youth pastoral group of Verona; and the young people of Cittadella.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!