After celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope appeared at the window of his study in the Apostolic Palace to pray the Sunday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
The Holy Father commented on the passage from the Gospel of St. Luke in which Jesus, before the Temple of Jerusalem, speaks about the end times and affirms that one day not a stone will remain that will not be thrown down. However, Francis observed, He seeks not to offend the temple but rather to explain that human constructions, even the most sacred, are fleeting, and we should not base our security on them. “How many supposed certainties in our lives have we thought were definitive and then they turned out to be ephemeral!” he exclaimed. “On the other hand, how many problems we have faced that we seemed to have no way out of, but then we overcame them”.
Jesus knows that there are always people who speculate on the human need for security, and puts them on guard against the many false messiahs who present themselves. “We still have them today!” said the Pope. “But the Lord says that there is no need to become terrified or disoriented by wars, revolutions and calamities, because these are also part of the reality of this world. The history of the Church is rich in examples of people who endured tribulations and terrible sufferings with serenity, because they were aware that they were safely in the hands of God … Who never abandons us”.
“To remain steadfast in the Lord, in the certainty that He never abandons us, to journey on in hope, to work to build a better world despite the difficulties and the sad events that mark our collective and personal existence, is what truly counts; it is what the Christian community is called to do, to towards the ‘day of the Lord’”, he added, emphasising that it is in this context that we must view the experience of the Jubilee of Mercy, which today concludes in dioceses throughout the world as they close the Holy Doors in the cathedral churches. “The Holy Year has called us, on one hand, to look towards the fulfilment of the Kingdom of God, and on the other hand, to build the future on this earth, working to evangelise the present, to bring about a time of salvation for all”.
Jesus in the Gospel exhorts us to “keep clear in our minds and hearts the certainty that God guides our history and knows the ultimate end of things and events. History, with its uncertain progression and the interweaving of good and evil, unfolds under the merciful gaze of the Lord. Everything that happens is conserved in Him. Our life cannot be lost because it is in His hands. Let us pray to the Virgin Mary to help us, amid the happy and the sad events of this world, to remain steadfast in the hope of eternity and the Kingdom of God. Let us pray to the Virgin that she might help us fully understand the truth that God never abandons His children”.
After praying the Angelus, the Holy Father mentioned that this week the most ancient wooden crucifix in St. Peter’s basilica, which dates from the 14th century, has been reinstated for the devotion of the faithful, following its restoration. It will be placed in the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, to commemorate the Jubilee of Mercy.
“Today Italy celebrates the traditional day of Thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and of human labour. I join the bishops in expressing my desire that the mother earth always be cultivated in a sustainable manner. The Church, with understanding and recognition, stands side by side with the world of agriculture and does not forget those who in various parts of the world are deprived of essential items, such as food and water”.
Finally, he gave special thanks to the associations that have worked during these days in support of the Jubilee for Socially Excluded Persons.