At 11.30 this morning, at the Altar of the Chair of the Vatican Basilica, the Holy Father Francis presided over the Holy Mass in memory of the deceased Cardinals and Bishops during the year.
We publish below the homily that the Pope gave after the proclamation of the Gospel
Homily of the Holy Father
The readings we have heard remind us that we came into the world to be resurrected: we were not born for death, but for the resurrection. In fact, as he writes in the second Saint Paul Reading, even now “our citizenship is in heaven” ( Phil 3:20) and, as Jesus says in the Gospel, we will be resurrected on the last day (see Jn 6,40). And it is still the thought of the resurrection that suggests to Judas Maccabeus in the first reading “a very good and noble action” ( 2 Mac 12.43). Today we too can ask ourselves: what does the thought of the resurrection suggest to me? How do I respond to my call to rise again?
A first help comes to us from Jesus, who in today’s Gospel says: “He who comes to me, I will not drive him out” ( Jn 6:37). Here is his invitation: “come to me” (see Mt.11:28). Go to Jesus, the Living One, to get vaccinated against death, against the fear that everything will end. Going to Jesus: it may seem a discounted and generic spiritual exhortation. But let’s try to make it concrete, asking ourselves questions like these: Today, in the practices that I had in my hands in the office, did I approach the Lord? Have I made any reason for dialogue with him? And in the people I met, did I involve Jesus, did I bring them to Him in prayer? Or did I do everything while remaining in my thoughts, only rejoicing in what was good for me and complaining about what was wrong with me? In short, do I live by going to the Lord or revolving around myself? What is the direction of my journey? Am I just trying to make a good impression, to safeguard my role, my times and my spaces, or am I going to the Lord?
The sentence of Jesus is disruptive: he who comes to me, I will not drive him out. As if to say that the expulsion is foreseen for the Christian who does not go to Him. For those who believe there are no middle ways: one cannot be of Jesus and rotate on oneself. Who is of Jesus lives in exit towards Him.
Life is all an exit: from the womb of the mother to come to light, from childhood to enter adolescence, from adolescence to adult life and so on, up to the exit from this world. Today, while we are praying for our brother Cardinals and Bishops, who have come out of this life to go to meet the Risen One, we cannot forget the most important and most difficult exit, which gives meaning to all the others: that of ourselves. Only by coming out of ourselves do we open the door that leads to the Lord. We ask for this grace: “Lord, I wish to come to You, through the streets and everyday companions. Help me to get out of myself, to go to meet you, who are life “.
I would like to take a second thought, referring to the resurrection, from the first reading, from the noble gesture made by Judas Maccabeus to the dead. In doing so he, it is written, “thought of the magnificent reward reserved for those who fall asleep in death with feelings of piety ” ( 2 Mac 12.45). That is, feelings of pity to generate magnificent rewards. Pity towards others opens the doors of eternity. To bend down on the needy to serve them is to make an antechamber for paradise. If indeed, as Saint Paul reminds us, “charity will never end” ( 1 Cor13,8), then it is precisely the bridge that connects the earth to Heaven. We can, therefore, ask ourselves if we are advancing on this bridge: do I let myself be moved by the situation of someone in need? Can I cry for those who suffer? I pray for those to whom nobody thinks? Do I help someone who doesn’t have to give me back? It is not doing good, it is not petty charity; they are questions of life, questions of resurrection.
Finally, a third stimulus in view of the resurrection. I take it from the Spiritual Exercises, where St. Ignatius suggests, before making an important decision, to imagine oneself before God at the end of days. That is the call to appear not postponable, the point of arrival for everyone, for all of us. Then, every life choice faced in that perspective is well oriented, because it is closer to the resurrection, which is the meaning and purpose of life. As the departure is calculated from the goal, as the sowing is judged by the harvest, so life is judged well starting from its end, from its end. Saint Ignatius writes: “Considering how I will find myself the day of judgment, to think as I would have decided then about the present thing; and the rule I would like to have kept then, take it now “( Spiritual Exercises, 187). It can be a useful exercise to see reality with the eyes of the Lord and not only with ours; to have a look projected on the future, on the resurrection, and not only on the present that passes; to make choices that have the flavor of eternity, the taste of love.
Do I go out to go to the Lord every day? Do I have feelings and acts of pity for the needy? Do I make important decisions before God? Let us be provoked by at least one of these three stimuli. We will be more in tune with Jesus’ desire in today’s Gospel: to lose nothing of what the Father has given him (see Jn 6:39). Among the many voices of the world that make us lose the meaning of existence, let us tune in to the will of Jesus, resurrected and alive: we will make today that we live a dawn of resurrection.
[01749-IT.02] [Original text: Italian]
© Libreria Editrice Vatican