Pope Says He Keeps Track of Death Anniversaries as Reminder Time Is Passing

At Casa Santa Marta, says death isn’t to be feared if we try to be faithful

© PHOTO.VA - Osservatore Romano

 

Pope Francis today dedicated his homily at morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta to a reflection on death.

Taking his cue from the day’s reading from the book of Revelation, the Pope’s homily focused on the reality of how all of us will face Jesus on the day of judgement, Vatican Radio reported.

The Holy Father acknowledged that death is not something we like to think about, but is a reality we all face. He said he keeps a diary in which he notes the date of a person’s death, so that as each year passes and he sees the anniversary, he reflects on how time has passed.

The Pope said this obliges us to think about what we’ll leave behind: “We’d do well to think: ‘But what will the day be like when I will be in front of Jesus? When He asks me about the talents that he gave me, what use I made of them, when He will ask me: how was my heart when the seed was dropped, like a path or like thorns: that Parable of the Kingdom of God. How did I receive His Word? With an open heart?  Did I make it germinate for the good of all or in secret?’”

Pope Francis quoted from the Gospel reading that warns Christians not to be deceived. And the deception being spoken about, he explained, is alienation, estrangement, the deception of superficial things that do not have transcendence, the deception of “living as though we never had to die.” When the Lord comes, the Pope asked, “how will he find me?  Waiting for Him or in the midst of the many ‘alienations’ of life?”

“I remember as a child, when we went to catechism we were taught four things: death, judgement, hell or glory.  After the judgement there is this possibility. ‘But Father, this is to frighten us…’ ‘No, this is the truth because if you do not take care of your heart, because the Lord is with you and (if) you always live estranged from the Lord, perhaps there is the danger, the danger of continuing to live estranged in this way from the Lord for eternity.’ And this is a terrible thing!”

Pope Francis concluded his homily by urging his listeners to think about their day of judgement and how they will fare but not to fear that moment because the Lord tells us, “remain faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life.”

“Fidelity to the Lord does not disappoint. If each one of us is faithful to the Lord, when death comes, we will say like Francis (of Assisi) ‘come sister death…’ we won’t be afraid. And when the day of judgement comes, we will look at the Lord: ‘Lord I have many sins but I have tried to be faithful.’ And our Lord is good.  I give you this advice: ‘be faithful until death – said the Lord – and I will give you the crown of life.’ With this fidelity we won’t be afraid of death, when we die we won’t be afraid of the day of judgement.”

Readings provided by the US bishops’ conference:

Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 504

Reading 1 RV 14:14-19

I, John, looked and there was a white cloud,
and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man,
with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.
Another angel came out of the temple,
crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud,
“Use your sickle and reap the harvest,
for the time to reap has come,
because the earth’s harvest is fully ripe.”
So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth,
and the earth was harvested.Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven
who also had a sharp sickle.
Then another angel came from the altar, who was in charge of the fire,
and cried out in a loud voice
to the one who had the sharp sickle,
“Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth’s vines,
for its grapes are ripe.”
So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth’s vintage.
He threw it into the great wine press of God’s fury.

Responsorial Psalm PS 96:10, 11-12, 13

R. (13b) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Alleluia RV 2:10C

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Remain faithful until death,
and I will give you the crown of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 21:5-11

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”

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