“It’s not, in the first place, an address on the end of the world; rather, it’s an invitation to live the present well, and to be vigilant and always ready for when we are called to give an account of our life.”
Those words were the reminder Pope Francis presented in his comments on the day’s gospel (Cf. Mark 13:24-32) before praying the noonday Angelus with some 30,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Indeed, the day’s gospel includes sobering words:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
“And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’
with great power and glory,
and then he will send out the angels
and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.
“Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,
you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Amen, I say to you,
this generation will not pass away
until all these things have taken place.
Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will not pass away.
“But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
“In the passage of this Sunday’s Gospel (Cf. Mark 13:24-32), the Lord wishes to instruct His disciples on future events,” the Holy Father explained. “These words make us think of the first page of the Book of Genesis — the account of the creation: the sun, the moon, the stars, which at the beginning of time shine in their order and bring light, sign of life, are described here in their decay, while they plummet down into the darkness and chaos, sign of the end. Instead, the light that will shine on that last day will be unique and new: it will be that of the Lord Jesus who will come in glory with all the Saints. In that encounter we will finally see His Face in the full light of the Trinity; a Face radiant with love, before which every human being will also appear in total truth.”
Pope Francis goes on to portray the history of humanity – like the history of each person- isn’t just a succession of meaningless words and events. It isn’t something pre-established according to some fatalistic destiny.
“Rather, in today’s Gospel Jesus says that the history of peoples and that of the individual have an end and a goal to reach: the definitive encounter with the Lord. We don’t know the time or the way in which it will happen; the Lord confirmed: ‘no one knows, not even the Angels in Heaven nor the Son’ (v. 32); everything is guarded in the secret of the mystery of the Father. ”
Francis reminds us of the crucial point, that the world will pass away. And each person will have to account for how well they have allowed the “Word of the Son of God” to illuminate their lives.
“It will be more than ever the moment in which we abandon ourselves definitively to the Father’s love and trust in His mercy,” Francis concludes “No one can flee from this moment, not one of us!”