Pope at Mass for departed Bishops: Learn to trust in the Lord
By Christopher Wells
Pope Francis presided at Holy Mass offered in suffrage for the souls of prelates who have died over the course of the past year.
Seventeen Cardinals, including Australian Edward Cassidy, and almost two hundred Bishops, have passed away in the twelve months since November 2020. In his homily, the Holy Father noted that some of them died as a result of Covid-19, “in difficult situations that compounded their suffering.” He prayed that they might now feel the joy of the Lord’s invitation to His faithful servants: “Come, O blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
The journey from suffering to hope
Pope Francis focused in his homily on the first reading, from the book of Lamentations, where the sacred author describes a journey through suffering to trusting patience and hope in the Lord who saves.
All of us, he said, have to learn how to face suffering – not only the final suffering of death, but trials and crosses we face here and now. In fact, the Pope said, the difficulties of life can lead us to pessimism and bitterness. However, it is precisely in our darkest moments, “in the anguish of non-meaning” that hope flourishes. “In the midst of sorrow,” the Pope said, “those who cling to the Lord see that He unlocks suffering, opening it and transforming it into a door through which hope enters.”
The mystery of grief
Pope Francis emphasized that this does not mean that our problems will disappear, but that our suffering “becomes a mysterious opportunity for inner purification.” Grief and suffering, the Pope said, “remains a mystery, but in this mystery, we can discover in a new way the paternity of God who visits us in trial.”
Today, the Pope said, “before the mystery of redeemed death, we ask for the grace to look at adversity with different eyes.” He invited to faithful to respond to trials and suffering, not with complaining or grumbling, but with confident trust in God.