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Monday, November 2, 2015

0433: Reflections on the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time by Pope Francis



Entry 0433: 
Reflections on the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time   

 by Pope Francis (Updated) 




On 
three occasions during his pontificate, Pope Francis has delivered reflections on the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, on 10 November 2013, 9 November 2014, and 8 November 2015. Here are the texts of three brief addresses delivered prior to the recitation of the Angelus.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 10 November 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

This Sunday’s Gospel sets before us Jesus grappling with the Sadducees, who deny that there is a resurrection. They pose a question to Jesus on this very matter, in order to trip him up and ridicule faith in the resurrection of the dead. They begin with an imaginary case: “A woman had seven husbands, who died one after the other,” and they ask Jesus: “Whose wife will the woman be after her death?” Jesus, ever meek and patient, first replies that life after death does not have the same parameters as earthly life. Eternal life is another life, in another dimension where, among other things, there will be no marriage, which is tied to our existence in this world. Those who rise—Jesus says—will be like the angels and they will live in a different state, which now we can neither experience nor imagine. This is the way Jesus explains it.

But then Jesus, as it were, moves to the counterattack. And he does so by citing the Sacred Scripture with a simplicity and originality which leaves us full of admiration for our Teacher, the only Teacher! Jesus finds proof for the resurrection in the account of Moses and the burning bush (see Ex 3:1-6), where God reveals himself as the God of Abraham, and of Isaac and of Jacob. The name of God is bound to the names of men and women to whom he binds himself, and this bond is stronger than death. And we can also say this about God’s relationship with us, with each one of us: He is our God! He is the God of each one of us! As though he bore each of our names. It pleases him to say it, and this is the covenant. This is why Jesus states: “God is not the god of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him” (Lk 20:38). And this is the decisive bond, the fundamental covenant, the covenant with Jesus: He himself is the Covenant, he himself is the Life and the Resurrection, for by his crucified love he has triumphed over death. In Jesus, God gives us eternal life, he gives it to everyone, and thanks to him everyone has the hope of a life even truer than this one. The life that God prepares for us is not a mere embellishment of the present one: it surpasses our imagination, for God continually amazes us with his love and with his mercy.

Therefore, what will happen is quite the opposite of what the Sadducees expected. It is not this life that will serve as a reference point for eternity, for the other life that awaits us; rather, it is eternity—that life—which illumines and gives hope to the earthly life of each one of us! If we look at things from only a human perspective, we tend to say that man’s journey moves from life to death. This is what we see! But this is only so if we look at things from a human perspective. Jesus turns this perspective upside down and states that our pilgrimage goes from death to life: the fullness of life! We are on a journey, on a pilgrimage toward the fullness of life, and that fullness of life is what illumines our journey! Therefore death stands behind us, not before us. Before us is the God of the living, the God of the covenant, the God who bears my name, our names stand before us, as he said: “I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob,” and also the God with my name, with your name, with our names. The God of the living! Before us stands the final defeat of sin and death, the beginning of a new time of joy and of endless light. But already on this earth, in prayer, in the Sacraments, in fraternity, we encounter Jesus and his love, and thus we may already taste something of the risen life. The experience we have of his love and his faithfulness ignites in our hearts like a fire and increases our faith in the resurrection. In fact, if God is faithful and loves, he cannot be thus for only a limited time: faithfulness is eternal, it cannot change. God’s love is eternal, it cannot change! It is not only for a time: it is forever! It is for going forward! He is faithful forever and he is waiting for us, each one of us, he accompanies each one of us with his eternal faithfulness.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 9 November 2014

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today the liturgy commemorates the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica, which is the Cathedral of Rome and which tradition defines as “mother of all Churches of the city and of the world.” The term “mother,” refers not as much to the sacred building of the Basilica, as to the work of the Holy Spirit who is made manifest in this building, bearing fruit through the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, and in all communities which abide in unity with the Church over which he presides.

Each time we celebrate the dedication of a church, an essential truth is recalled: the physical temple made of brick and mortar is a sign of the living Church serving in history, that is to say, of that “spiritual temple,” as the Apostle Peter says, in which Christ himself is the “living stone, rejected by men but in God’s sight chosen and precious” (1 Pt 2:4). In the Gospel from today’s liturgy, Jesus, speaking about the temple, reveals a shocking truth: that the Temple of God is not only a building made of brick and mortar, but is his Body, made of living stone. Through the power of Baptism, every Christian takes part in “God’s building” (1 Cor 3:9), indeed they become the Church of God. The spiritual structure, the Church community of mankind sanctified by the Blood of Christ and by Spirit of the Risen Lord, asks each one of us to be consistent with the gift of the faith and to undertake a journey of Christian witness. And we all know that in life it is not easy to maintain consistency between faith and testimony; but we must carry on and be coherent in our daily life. “This is a Christian!” not so much in what he says, but in what he does, and the way in which he behaves. This coherence, which gives us life, is a grace of the Holy Spirit which we must ask for. The Church, at the beginning of her life and of her mission in the world, was but a community constituted to confess faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God and Redeemer of Man, a faith which operates through love. They go together! In today’s world too, the Church is called to be the community in the world which, rooted in Christ through Baptism, humbly and courageously professes faith in Him, witnessing to it in love.

The institutional elements, the structures and the pastoral entities must also be directed toward this goal, this essential goal of bearing witness to the faith in love. Love is the very expression of faith and also, faith is the explanation and the foundation of love. Today’s celebration invites us to meditate on the communion of all Churches, that is, of this Christian community. By analogy she spurs us to commit ourselves in order that humanity may overcome the confines of enmity and indifference, to build bridges of understanding and dialogue, to make of the entire world one family of people reconciled among themselves, in fraternal solidarity. The Church herself is a sign and preview of this new humanity, as she lives and, through her witness, spreads the Gospel, the message of hope and reconciliation for all mankind.

Let us invoke the intercession of the Most Holy Mary, that she may help us to become like her, the “House of God,” the living temple of his love.


POPE FRANCIS

ANGELUS

Saint Peter’s Square, Sunday, 8 November 2015

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning, on this beautiful, sunny day!

This Sunday’s Gospel passage is composed of two parts: one that describes how not to be followers of Christ; the other offers an example of a Christian.

Let’s start with the first: what not to do. In the first part, Jesus accuses the scribes, the teachers of the law, of having three defects in their lifestyle: pride, greed and hypocrisy. They like “to have salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts” (Mk 12:38-39). But beneath such solemn appearances they are hiding falsehood and injustice.

While flaunting themselves in public, they use their authority—as Jesus says—to devour “the houses of widows” (see v. 40); those who, along with orphans and foreigners, were considered to be the people most vulnerable and least protected. Lastly, Jesus says that the scribes, “for a pretence make long prayers” (v. 40). Even today we risk taking on these attitudes. For example, when prayer is separate from justice so that God cannot be worshiped, and causing harm to the poor. Or when one claims to love God, but instead offers him only grandiosity for one’s own advantage.

The second part of the Gospel follows this line of thinking. The scene is set in the temple of Jerusalem, precisely in the place where people are tossing coins as offerings. There are many rich people putting in large sums, and there is a poor woman, a widow, who contributes only two bits, two small coins. Jesus observes the woman carefully and calls the disciples’ attention to the sharp contrast of the scene.

The wealthy contributed with great ostentation what for them was superfluous, while the widow, Jesus says, “put in everything she had, her whole living” (v. 44). For this reason, Jesus says, she gave the most of all. Because of her extreme poverty, she could have offered a single coin to the temple and kept the other for herself. But she did not want to give just half to God; she divested herself of everything. In her poverty she understood that in having God, she had everything; she felt completely loved by him and in turn loved him completely. What a beautiful example this little old woman offers us!

Today Jesus also tells us that the benchmark is not quantity but fullness. There is a difference between quantity and fullness. You can have a lot of money and still be empty. There is no fullness in your heart. This week, think about the difference there is between quantity and fullness. It is not a matter of the wallet, but of the heart. There is a difference between the wallet and the heart. There are diseases of the heart, which reduce the heart to the wallet. This is not good! To love God “with all your heart” means to trust in him, in his providence, and to serve him in the poorest brothers and sisters without expecting anything in return.

Allow me to tell you a story, which happened in my previous diocese. A mother and her three children were at the table, the father was at work. They were eating Milan-style cutlets. There was a knock at the door and one of the children—they were young, 5, 6 and the oldest was 7—comes and says: “Mom, there is a beggar asking for something to eat.” And the mom, a good Christian, asks them: “What shall we do?”—“Let’s give him something, mom.”—“Ok.” She takes her fork and knife and cuts the cutlets in half. “Ah no, mom, no! Not like this! Take something from the fridge”—“No! Let’s make three sandwiches with this!” The children learned that true charity is given, not with what is left over, but with what we need. That afternoon I am sure that the children were a bit hungry. But this is how it’s done!

Faced with the needs of our neighbors, we are called—like these children and the halved cutlets—to deprive ourselves of essential things, not only the superfluous; we are called to give the time that is necessary, not only what is extra; we are called to give immediately and unconditionally some of our talent, not after using it for our own purposes or for our own group.

Let us ask the Lord to admit us to the school of this poor widow, whom Jesus places in the cathedra and presents as a teacher of the living Gospel even to the astonishment of the disciples. Through the intercession of Mary, the poor woman who gave her entire life to God for us, let us ask for a heart that is poor, but rich in glad and freely given generosity. 

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


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For reflections on the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time 

 by Pope Benedict XVI,
please scroll down to the bottom of this page.


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