Sunday, 10 November 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today’s Gospel reading (Lk 20:27-38) offers us a wonderful teaching of Jesus on the resurrection of the dead. Jesus is asked by some Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection and therefore provoke Him with an insidious question: in resurrection, whose wife would a woman be if she had seven successive husbands, who were all brothers, who all died one after the other? Jesus does not fall into the trap and replies that in the hereafter the risen “neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection” (vv. 35-36). This is how Jesus responds.
With this response, first and foremost, Jesus invites His interlocutors — and us too — to consider that this earthly dimension in which we now live is not the only dimension, but that there is another, no longer subject to death, which will fully manifest that we are children of God. It is of great comfort and hope to listen to this simple and clear word of Jesus about life beyond death; we need it very much especially in our time, so rich in knowledge about the universe but so lacking in wisdom about eternal life.
Jesus’ clear certainty about resurrection is based entirely on the fidelity of God, Who is the God of life. In fact, behind the question of the Sadducees is hidden a more profound question: not only whose wife will be the widow of the seven husbands, but to whom will her life belong. This is a doubt that touches mankind of every age and also us: after this earthly pilgrimage, what will become of our life? Will it belong to nothing, to death?
Jesus responds that life belongs to God, who loves us and cares very deeply about us, to the point of linking His name to ours: He is “the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him” (vv. 37-38). Life exists where there is [a] bond, communion, brotherhood; and it is a life stronger than death when it is built on true relationships and bonds of fidelity. On the contrary, there is no life where one has the presumption of belonging only to oneself and of living as an island: death prevails in these attitudes. It is selfishness. If I live for myself, I am sowing death in my heart.
May the Virgin Mary help us to live every day from the perspective of what we affirm in the final part of the Creed: “ We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come”. Awaiting the hereafter.
Following the Angelus, the Pope continued:
Dear brothers and sisters, yesterday in Granada, Spain, María Emilia Riquelme y Zayas, Foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Most Blessed Sacrament and Mary Immaculate, was proclaimed Blessed. And today, in Braga, Portugal, a Mass of thanksgiving will be celebrated for the equipollent Canonization of Saint Bartolomeu Fernandes dos Mártires. The new Blessed was an example of fervour in Eucharistic adoration and was generous in his service to those most in need; while the new Saint was a great evangelizer and pastor of his people. An applause for both the Blesseds!
I address a special thought to the dear people of South Sudan, whom I will visit this [next] year. With the memory, still vivid, of the spiritual retreat which took place in the Vatican last April for the Authorities of the country, I wish to renew my invitation to all those involved in the national political process, in a spirit of true brotherhood, to seek that which unites and to overcome that which divides. The South Sudanese people have suffered too much in recent years, and they look forward with great hope to a better future, especially the definitive end to conflicts and a lasting peace. I therefore urge those responsible to continue tirelessly in their commitment to an inclusive dialogue in the search for consensus for the good of the nation. I also express the hope that the international community will not neglect to accompany South Sudan on the path to national reconciliation. I invite you all to pray together for this country, for which I feel particular affection.
I also wish to entrust to your prayers the situation of beloved Bolivia, close to my homeland. I invite all Bolivians, particularly political and social actors, to await in a constructive spirit and unconditionally, in a climate of peace and serenity, for the results of the process of the revision of the elections, which is currently underway. In peace.
In Italy today, we are celebrating the National Day of Thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and work. I join with the bishops in recalling the strong link between bread and work, in the hope that courageous employment policies take into account dignity and solidarity and prevent the risks of corruption. May workers not be exploited; may there be work for all: but real work, not slave labour.
I thank all of you who have come from Rome, from Italy and from many other parts of the world. I greet the pilgrims of Haaren, Germany; Darwin, Australia; and the students of Neuilly, France; as well as the faithful of the diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio, and those from Bianzè and Burano.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Thank you. Enjoy your lunch and Arrivederci!
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