Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis made an appeal after the Angelus prayer to the faithful present in St Peter's Square, calling for "our prayer" and "actual help" for the people of the Philippines.
Typhoon Haiyan hit the Filipino archipelago - in particular the provinces of Leyte and Cebu (central Philippines) - with winds of up to 300 km per hour. Filipino authorities estimate that up to 10,000 people may have died.
"I wish to reassure my closeness to the people of the Philippines and those of the region hit by a terrible typhoon," the pope said. "Unfortunately, there are so many victims and such massive damage. Let us silently pray to Our Lady for our brothers and sisters, and let us also send them actual help." After a brief period of silence, the Pope sang the Ave Maria.
Before the Angelus, the pope spoke about the Gospel of the day (Lk, 20:27-38), which "shows Jesus dealing with the Sadducees, who had denied the resurrection," ridiculing it with examples taken from earthly life.
"Eternal life," Francis said, "is another life in another dimension where, among other things, there will be no marriage, which is related to our existence in this world. The resurrected, Jesus told us, will be like angels, living in a different state, one that we now cannot even imagine and experience."
"Jesus found the proof of the resurrection," he went on to say, "in the episode of Moses and the burning bush (cfr Ex, 3:1-6), in which God revealed himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God's name is connected to the names of the men and women to whom he is bound, and this bond is stronger than death. This is why Jesus said, 'and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive"(Lk, 20:38). The decisive bond, the fundamental alliance is to Jesus. He is the Covenant - He is the Life and the Resurrection, because through his crucified love he conquered death. Through Jesus, God gives us eternal life, gives it to everyone, and thanks to him everyone has hope for a life that is even truer than this one. The life God prepares for us is not just an embellishment of the current one: it goes beyond our imagination because God continually amazes us with his love and his mercy."
"This life does not serve as a reference to eternity;" he concluded, "it is eternity that enlightens and gives hope to the earthly life of each one of us. If we only look through human eyes, we are led to say that a man's path goes from life to death. Jesus overturns this view and states that our pilgrimage goes from death to life: full life! Thus, death is behind us, behind and not in front of us. The God of the living is in front of us, the God that bears my name, and yours, yours, yours . . . the final defeat of sin and death, the beginning of a new time of joy and endless light. But on this earth, in prayer, in the sacraments, in brotherhood, we already find Jesus and his love, and so we can foretaste something of the risen life. The experience we have of his love and his faithfulness lights up like a fire in our hearts and increases our faith in the resurrection. Indeed, if God is faithful and loves, he cannot be so for a limited time. Faithfulness is eternal. God's love is not limited in time - it is forever. He is forever faithful, and He awaits us and accompanies each one of us with this eternal fidelity."
Right after the Marian prayer before his greetings to the various communities and groups present in the square, where at least 50,000 people had gathered, Francis said that this afternoon, Maria Theresia Bonzel, founder of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, who lived in the 19th century, would be proclaimed Blessed in Paderborn, Germany. "The Eucharist," the pope said, "was the source from which she drew spiritual energy, devoting herself with tireless charity to the weakest. Let us praise the Lord for her witness."
The pontiff also mentioned that today marks the 75th anniversary of the so-called 'Night of Broken Glass'. "The violence of the night between 9 and 10 November 1938 against Jews, synagogues, homes, and shops marked a sad step towards the tragedy of the Holocaust," he said. "Let us renew our support and solidarity towards the Jewish people, our elder brothers. Let us pray to God that the memory of the past, of past sins, help us be ever vigilant against all forms of hatred and intolerance."