Where Is My Life Headed, Pope Invites Us to Ask

Warns of Seeking Security in Passing Things, Forgetting That People Are God’s True Treasures

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Where do I look for security? This is the question posed by today’s liturgy, Pope Francis said as he celebrated Mass this morning in St. Peter’s Basilica during the jubilee for the socially excluded.
Are we looking for security in the Lord, he asked, “or in other forms of security not pleasing to God? Where is my life headed, what does my heart long for? The Lord of life or ephemeral things that cannot satisfy?”
The Pope drew from the 21st chapter of Luke to discuss how Jesus’ message is that all earthly things will pass away, even sacred things like the Temple of Jerusalem or St. Peter’s Basilica.
“Even the strongest kingdoms, the most sacred buildings and the surest realities of this world do not last for ever; sooner or later they fall,” the Pontiff affirmed.
Jesus’ disciples were alarmed by his message and asked when this would happen and what the sign would be.
“When and what… We are constantly driven by curiosity: we want to know when and we want to see signs,” Francis reflected. “Yet Jesus does not care for such curiosity. On the contrary, he exhorts us not to be taken in by apocalyptic preachers. Those who follow Jesus pay no heed to prophets of doom, the nonsense of horoscopes, or terrifying sermons and predictions that distract from the truly important things.”
Amid this din, the Pope continued, Jesus asks us to “distinguish between what is from him and what is from the false spirit” and he firmly tells us “not to be afraid of the upheavals in every period of history, not even in the face of the most serious trials and injustices that may befall his disciples.”

Straining away

This awareness of the ephemeral nature of earthly things does lead to a question, the Holy Father suggested, a question about the meaning of our lives.
“Using an image,” he explained “we could say that these readings [of the Mass] serve as a ‘strainer’ through which our life can be poured: they remind us that almost everything in this world is passing away, like running water. But there are treasured realities that remain, like a precious stone in a strainer. What endures, what has value in life, what riches do not disappear? Surely these two: the Lord and our neighbour. These two riches do no disappear!
“These are the greatest goods; these are to be loved. Everything else – the heavens, the earth, all that is most beautiful, even this Basilica – will pass away; but we must never exclude God or others from our lives.”
The Pope emphasized that exclusion refers to “concrete people.”
“The human person, set by God at the pinnacle of creation, is often discarded, set aside in favour of ephemeral things,” he lamented. “This is unacceptable, because in God’s eyes man is the most precious good.”
Reiterating one of his frequent warnings, the Pope said it is “ominous that we are growing used to this rejection.”
“We should be worried when our consciences are anaesthetized and we no longer see the brother or sister suffering at our side, or notice the grave problems in our world, which become a mere refrain familiar from the headlines on the evening news,” he said.
The Pope said that we must open our eyes “to our neighbour, especially to our brothers and sisters who are forgotten and excluded, to the ‘Lazarus’ at our door. That is where the Church’s magnifying glass is pointed,” he said. “May the Lord free us from turning it towards ourselves. May he turn us away from the trappings that distract us, from interests and privileges, from attachment to power and glory, from being seduced by the spirit of the world.”
After the Mass, during his address before praying the midday Angelus, Francis reiterated the same message:
“Jesus in the Gospel exhorts us to have clear in our minds and hearts the certainty that God guides our history and knows the ultimate end of things and events.
“History — with its uncertain progression and the interweaving of good and evil — develops under the merciful gaze of the Lord. Everything that happens is conserved in Him. Our life cannot be lost because it is in his hands.”

On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full text of homily: https://zenit.org/articles/popes-homily-at-jubilee-for-socially-excluded/
Translation of Angelus address: https://zenit.org/articles/angelus-address-on-awaiting-the-end-times/

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Kathleen Naab

United States

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