By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis celebrated morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta on Friday recalling that in this last week of the liturgical year the Church invites us to reflect on the end: the end of the world and the end of each of us.
This theme, he said, is echoed in the Gospel reading in which Luke repeats Jesus’s words: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
The Pope centered his homily on how “everything will end” but “He will remain” and he invited the faithful to reflect on the moment of their death.
None of us knows exactly when it will happen; indeed, he noted, we tend to put off that thought believing ourselves eternal, but it is not so.
“We all have this weakness, this vulnerability,” the Pope said and he mentioned an article just published in the Jesuit publication Civiltà Cattolica highlighting the fact that vulnerability is something we all have in common.
We are all equal in vulnerability, he said, and pointing out that at a certain point this vulnerability leads us to death, he commented on how we turn to doctors or to psychologists in search of healing for our bodies or for our minds.
Hope in the Lord
The Pope told those present that in his own country, people would pay for their own funerals in advance in the illusion of saving money for the family. But when it came to light that some funeral companies were scamming people, the trend ended.
“How many times are we cheated by an illusion?” the Pope said, like the illusion of being eternal.
The certainty of death, he said, is written in the Bible and in the Gospel, but the Lord always presents it to us as an “encounter with Him” and accompanies it with the word “hope.”
“The Lord tells us to be prepared for the encounter, death is an encounter: it is He who comes to visit us, it is He who comes to take us by the hand and take us with Him,” he said.
The Lord, he said, will knock on each of our doors one day.
Therefore, the Pope said, it is necessary to prepare well for that moment.
“My invitation,” he concluded, is to be ready for it: “think about your death, (…) pray for one another and, in order to be able to open the door with trust and confidence when the moment comes,” pray to God saying “Lord, prepare my heart to die well, to die in peace, to die with hope.”