Celebrating Mass at Rome’s Prima Porta cemetery, Francis said "We walk on the path" that Jesus undertook for first and "opened the door for us to get to where we shall contemplate God".
Rome (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis travelled to the Roman cemetery of Prima Porta, where he marked All Souls’ Day with a Mass.
Cemeteries are places of sadness because they remind us of those who left us and of the death that awaits all, but it is also a place of hope. "We walk on the path" that Jesus undertook for first and "opened the door for us to get to where we shall contemplate God," Francis said in his homily.
Speaking without a written text, the pontiff turned to Book of Job who was in darkness, right at the door of death. Yet, in his moment of anguish, pain and suffering, Job proclaims hope: ‘I know that my vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust. I will see for myself, my own eyes, not another’s, will behold him’.”
“The commemoration of the dead has this dual meaning,” the Holy Father explained. It is “A sense of sadness. A cemetery is sad and reminds us that our loved ones are gone. It also reminds us of the future, death. But in this sadness, we bring flowers as a sign of hope, even celebration one might say, later, not now. Sadness is mixed with hope and this is what we all feel today, in this celebration.
“The memory of our loved ones, in front of their remains, and hope. But we also feel that this hope can help us, because we have to undertake this journey. All of us shall undertake this journey. Sooner or later, everyone. With pain, with greater or lesser pain, but everyone. Yet, with the flower of hope, with that strong thread that is anchored to the afterlife. Thus, this anchor does not disappoint; [it is] the hope of the resurrection."
"The one who undertook this journey first is Jesus,” he said. “We walk on the path that he has undertaken. Jesus is the one who opened the door for us. With his cross he opened the door of hope; he has opened the door for us to get where we shall contemplate God.
“I know that my vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust. [And] I will see for myself, my own eyes, not another’s, will behold him’.
“Let us go home today with this dual memory: the memory of the past, of our loved ones who are gone; and the memory of the future, of the path we shall take. With the certainty, the sureness, that certainty that came from the lips of Jesus: I shall raise him on the last day."
After returning to the Vatican, Francis will visit the Caves of the Vatican Basilica for a moment of private prayer for the repose of the popes buried therein and for all the dearly departed.