Friday, November 1, 2013

Pope Francis' Spontaneous Homily for the Feast of All Saints

Pope Francis  at the Verano Cemetery, Rome, Italy  

Pope Francis visited Verano Cemetery on the Feast of All Saints, which was the first papal visit in over twenty years.  The Pontiff abandoned his prepared remarks and spoke spontaneously:

At this moment before sunset, we are gathered in this cemetery to think about our future and all those who are no more, those who have gone before us in life and are in Lord. The vision we heard in today's first reading is so beautiful.

We can expect full love. Those who have gone before us in the Lord are there and proclaim that they were saved not by their deeds, but by the Lord. 'Salvation comes from our God and from the Lamb.  He is the One who saves us, like a father, by bringing us to the other shore at the end of our life.

An elder asked, 'Who are these?  These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb'  We can only enter Heaven through the blood of the Lamb. It is the blood of Christ that justified us.  If today, we remember our departed brothers and sisters, it is because they were cleansed by the blood of Christ.  He is our hope. He never disappoints.

John told his disciples, 'See what love the Father has bestowed on us … we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed.' That is, 'we shall be like him'. That is our hope.

Today on the feast of All Saints, before the day of All Souls, we need to think about hope, the hope that accompanies us in life . . . . Early Christians represented hope as an anchor, as if hope was anchored in God's life, on the other shore. To have our life anchored where our dearly departed, Jesus Christ, and God are brings the hope that does not disappoint.

Hope is the yeast that widens the soul even in difficult times, hope, the soul go on. Today is a day of hope. Our brothers and sisters are in God's presence. We too shall be there if we walk along Jesus' road . . . .  Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure'. Hope purifies; it lightens us; it makes it go faster.

As sun starts to set today, let each of us think of our own sunset. Am I looking at it with hope? . . . Where is my heart anchored? If it is anchored on the shore, hope cannot disappoint because Jesus does not disappoint.

h/t: La Stampa

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