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Angelus Address: On Keeping Watch and Awaiting the Lord

“Jesus today reminds us that awaiting eternal blessedness does not free us from the commitment to make the world more just and more inhabitable”

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Here is a ZENIT translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after praying the midday Angelus today with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In the passage of the Gospel for today (Luke 12:32-48), Jesus speaks to his disciples about the attitude they should have regarding the final encounter with him, and explains how the expectation of this encounter should push us toward a life full of good works. Among other things, he says, “Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy” (v 33).
This is an invitation to give value to almsgiving as a work of mercy, to not place our confidence in fleeting things. To use things, without attachment and egotism, but rather according to the logic of God, the logic of attention to others, the logic of love. We can have many things, be very attached to money, have a lot. But after the end, we can’t take it with us. Remember that the shroud doesn’t have pockets.
Jesus’ teaching continues with three brief parables on the theme of vigilance. Vigilance is important — being attentive, vigilant in life.
The first is the parable of the servants who await the return of the master during the night. “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival” (v 37): It is the blessedness of waiting for the Lord with faith, of being prepared, with an attitude of service. He makes himself present every day. He knocks at the door of our hearts. And he who opens to him will be blessed, because he will have a great reward. In fact, the Lord himself will be the servant of his servants — this is a beautiful reward. In the great banquet of his Kingdom, he himself will pass by to serve.
With this parable, set in the night, Jesus portrays life as a vigil of active awaiting, which precedes the luminous day of eternity. To have access [to this day], it’s necessary to be prepared, awake and busy with the service of others, with the comforting perspective that “there,” it will no longer be us that serve God, but he himself will welcome us to his table. Considering this carefully, we see that this happens already each time that we find the Lord in prayer, or in serving the poor, and above all in the Eucharist, where he prepares a banquet to nourish us with his Word and his Body.
The second parable uses the image of the unforeseen arrival of a thief. This situation requires vigilance. In fact, Jesus exhorts, “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come” (v 40). The disciple is he who awaits the Lord and his Kingdom.
The Gospel clarifies this perspective with the third parable, on the administrator of a house after the departure of the master. In the first scene, the administrator faithfully does his duty and receives his reward. In the second scene, the administrator abuses his authority and strikes the servants, and for this, upon the unforeseen return of the lord, he will be punished. This scene describes the frequent situation of our day as well: Many injustices, much violence and daily evils arise from the idea of behaving like lords of life and of others. And we have only one lord, although he does not prefer to be called lord, he prefers that we call him Father. We are servants, all of us are sinners, sons, but he is the only Father.
Jesus today reminds us that awaiting eternal blessedness does not free us from the commitment to make the world more just and more inhabitable. In fact, precisely our hope of possessing the Kingdom in eternity drives us to work to improve the condition of our earthly life, especially that of our weakest brothers. May the Virgin Mary help us to be people and communities who are not limited to the present, or worse, nostalgic for the past, but rather, projected toward the future of God, toward the encounter with him, our life and our hope.
[Angelus] Dear brothers and sisters,
Lamentably, from Syria we continue getting news of civilian victims of the war, particularly from Aleppo. It is unacceptable that so many innocent people — even many children — must pay the price for this conflict, the price for the closed hearts of the powerful and their lack of a will for peace. We are close to our Syrian brothers and sisters with prayer and with solidarity and we entrust them to the maternal protection of the Virgin Mary. Let us pray together, first in silence and then with a Hail Mary.
[Prayer] I greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from various countries! We can see a lot of flags!
Today, various groups of children and youth are present. I greet you with special affection. In particular the group from youth ministry of Verona, the youth of Padua, Sandrigo and Brembilla. And the group of youth from Fasta, who’ve come from Argentina. These Argentinians cause a ruckus all over the place! I also greet the adolescents from Campogalliano and San Mateo de la Decima, who are in Rome for volunteer work in shelters. I also greet the faithful of Sforzatica, a diocese of Bergamo.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Don’t forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch, and until soon!
[Translation by ZENIT]

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