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Angelus Address: Jesus’ Discourse on the End of Time

‘The Lord Calls Us to Collaborate in the Construction of History Becoming, Together with Him, Agents of Peace and Witnesses of Hope in a Future of Salvation and Resurrection’

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At the end of the Holy Mass celebrated in the Vatican Basilica, on the occasion of the World Day of the Poor, the Holy Father Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Apostolic Vatican Palace to pray the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s address before and after praying the Angelus.

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 Before the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

The Gospel of this penultimate Sunday of the Liturgical Year (Cf. Luke 21:5-19) presents to us Jesus’ discourse on the end of time, in the version proposed by Saint Luke. Jesus pronounces it in front of the Temple of Jerusalem, a building admired by the people because of its prominence and its splendor; but He prophesizes that of all that beauty of the Temple, of that grandiosity, “not one stone will be left here upon another that will not be thrown down” (v. 6). The destruction of the Temple pre-announced by Jesus is the figure not so much of the end of history, as of the end of history. In fact, in the face of those listeners that want to know how and when these signs will occur, Jesus responds with the typical apocalyptic language of the Bible.

He uses two images that are seemingly opposed: the first is a series of frightening events: disasters, wars, famines, riots and persecutions (vv. 9-12); the other is reassuring: “Not a hair of your head will perish” (v. 18). At first, there is a realistic look on history, marked by calamities and also violence, traumas that wound creation, our common home, and also the human family that inhabits it, and the Christian community itself. We think of the many wars of today, of the many calamities of today. The second image — enclosed in Jesus’ reassurance — tells us the attitude a Christian must assume in living this history, characterized by violence and adversity.

And what is the attitude of a Christian? It is the attitude of hope in God, which enables one not to be beaten down by the tragic events. Rather, they are occasions “to bear testimony” (v. 13). Christ’s disciples cannot remain slaves of fear and anguish; instead, they are called to dwell in history to stem the destructive force of evil, with the certainty that their good action is always accompanied by the provident and reassuring tenderness of the Lord. This is the eloquent sign that the Kingdom of God is coming to us, namely, that the realization of the world as God wills it is approaching. It is He who leads our existence and who knows the ultimate end of things and of events.

The Lord calls us to collaborate in the construction of history becoming, together with Him, agents of peace and witnesses of hope in a future of salvation and resurrection. Faith makes us walk with Jesus on the torturous ways of this world, in the certainty that the force of His Spirit will subdue the forces of evil, subjecting them to the power of God’s love. Love is superior, love is more powerful because it is God: God is love. Examples of this are the Christian martyrs — our martyrs, also of our times, who are more than those of the beginning  — who, despite the persecutions, are men and women of peace. They give us an inheritance to protect and imitate: the Gospel of love and of mercy. This is the most precious treasure that has been given to us, and the most effective testimony that we can give to our contemporaries: responding to hatred with love, to an offense with forgiveness. As in daily life: when we receive an offense, we feel pain, but it’s necessary to forgive from the heart. When we feel hated, we must pray for the person that hates us. May the Virgin Mary sustain, with Her maternal intercession, our daily journey of faith, following the Lord who guides history.

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

After the Angelus:

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Riobamba in Ecuador was Father Emilio Moscoso, martyr priest of the Society of Jesus, killed in 1897 in the persecutory atmosphere against the Catholic Church. May his example of humble religious, apostle of prayer and educator of youth, support our journey of faith and of Christian witness. Applause for the New Blessed!

Today we celebrate the World Day of the Poor, whose theme is the words of the Psalm “The hope of the poor shall not perish forever” (Psalm 9:18). My grateful thought goes to all those, in the dioceses and in the parishes of the whole world, that have promoted initiatives of solidarity, to give concrete hope to more disadvantaged persons. I thank the doctors and nurses who have served during there days in the Medical Sector here in St. Peter’s Square. I am grateful for the many initiatives in favor of suffering people, of the needy, and this must give witness to the care that must never be lacking in dealing with our brothers and sisters. I recently saw, a few minutes ago, some statistics on poverty. They make one suffer! The indifference of society towards the poor . . . Let us pray [prayer in silence].

I greet all of you pilgrims from Italy and from different countries. In particular, I greet the Ecuadorian Community of Rome, which is celebrating the Virgin of Quinche; the faithful of New Jersey and those of Toledo, Spain; the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians from various countries and the Italian Association of Accompaniers of Marian Shrines in the World. I greet the groups of Porto d’Ascoli and of Angri; the participants in the pilgrimage of the La Salle Schools of Turin and Vercelli for the closing of the third centenary of the death of Saint John Baptist de la Salle.

On Tuesday I will begin my trip to Thailand and Japan: I ask you for a prayer for this Apostolic Journey. And I wish you all a happy Sunday. And, please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!

[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Virginia Forrester

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