Pope's Morning Homily: Even If Reality Is Ugly, Keep Heads Held High

Warns That Distancing From God Eventually Leads One to ‘Rot’

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Even at the worst of times, Christians cannot give into depression, but rather must live in hope.

During his morning Mass today in Casa Santa Marta, the Holy Father affirmed this, as he said that in order to be at peace, we must allow room for God to rescue and convert us from our worldly ways. He said we must welcome, not «close the door,» to God, reported Vatican Radio. 

«When we think of the end of time, with all of our sins, with our history,» he said, «let us think of the banquet which will be freely offered us and let us lift up our heads.»

«Do not give way to depression. Hope!» the 77-year-old Pontiff exclaimed.

Admitting «reality is ugly,» he noted that there are many people who are suffering: many wars, hatred, envy, spiritual worldliness and corruption. 

Since «all of this will fall» he again urged faithful to ask the Lord «for the grace to be prepared for the banquet that awaits us, always with our heads held high.»

While warning against distancing ourselves from the Lord, he warned that “corruption” and “distraction” take us away from the Lord.

Recalling the cities of Babylon and Jerusalem, discussed in today’s reading and Luke’s Gospel, respectively, Francis reflected that both readings turn one’s attention to the end of the world by depicting how both cities “drifted away” from God and then collapsed.

The cities fell for different reasons, he said, stressing Babylon epitomized evil, sin, and falling to corruption, while Jerusalem didn’t allow space for God.

Jerusalem, he noted, «made the Lord weep.» Not only did Jerusalem fail to «welcome the Lord who comes to her rescue» and «not feel in need of salvation,» it left no room for salvation: «Her door was closed to the Lord!»

«The Lord was knocking at her door,» he added, «but there was no willingness to receive Him, to listen, to be rescued by Him. And so she falls,» he said.

“When one accumulates sin,” he warned, “you lose your ability to react and you start to rot.” Even if corruption seems to give you some happiness, power and makes you feel satisfied with yourself, he said, it ultimately doesn’t because it «leaves no room for the Lord, for conversion.»

This word «corruption,» the Pope noted, speaks not only in the economic sense, but that of many different sins. «The worst [form of] corruption,» the Pontiff exclaimed, «is the spirit of worldliness!»

Even if this «corrupt culture» makes you feel «as if you were in Heaven, right here,» it’s an illusion because «the corrupt culture is a rotten culture.»

“Every society, every culture, every person who has distanced themselves from God, who has distanced themselves from love of neighbor,» he stated, «eventually leads to rot.»

The Holy Father called for the faithful to not be scared or fearful, but to lift up their heads to see our Lord who is ready to «rescue.»

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Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, often from the Papal Flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has also asked him questions on the return-flight press conference on behalf of the English-speaking press present. Lubov has done much TV & radio commentary, including for NBC, Sky, EWTN, BBC, Vatican Radio, AP, Reuters and more. She also has contributed to various books on the Pope and has written for various Catholic publications. For 'The Other Francis': http://www.gracewing.co.uk/page219.html or https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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