"Do not wait for the last minute to respond to God's grace, do it right now, right away". "If we allow ourselves to be guided by what appears most attractive to us, by the pursuit of our interests, our life becomes sterile". Applause for Juan Roig, a layman who died a martyr at the age of 19, beatified yesterday in Barcelona. Concerns for Central America, hit by Hurricane Age. Ethiopia and the Forum of dialogue for peace in Libya.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - We must wait for "the arrival of the bridegroom", to obtain "the lamp of faith" and "the oil of charity and good works". This is how Pope Francis summarized the message of the Sunday Gospel (Matthew 25.1-13, 32nd Sunday per year, A), speaking to several hundred faithful in St Peter's Square for the Angelus prayer.
After the prayer, Francis recalled a new blessed Catalan martyr, Juan Roig, a martyr at 19 during the Spanish Civil War, beatified yesterday in Barcelona. The pontiff asked to for "a round of applause for this blessed young man, who was so brave". He also expressed closeness to the people of Central America affected by Hurricane Age.
The Pope then mentioned the tensions in Ethiopia, on the brink of civil war due to the clashes in the Tigray region. And finally he also called for peace - and asked for prayers - for the Forum of dialogue on Libya which opens tomorrow in Tunis, gathering together all the warring parties
The Gospel explained by the pope narrates the parable of the 10 virgins, five foolish and five wise. The former, "take the lamps but do not take oil with them"; the latter "also take some oil". In this way, when the bridegroom, who has been late, arrives - the last ones enter the wedding banquet with him; the others, looking for oil for their lamps, arrive late and find the door closed.
“With this parable - explained the pope - Jesus wants to tell us that we must be prepared for the encounter with him. An encounter, for which the lamp of faith is not enough, the oil of charity and good works is also needed…. Being wise and prudent means not waiting for the last moment to respond to God's grace, but actively doing it right away ... Yes, yes, later on I will convert ... no do it now, not tomorrow. If we want to be ready for the last encounter with the Lord, we must from now on cooperate with him and carry out good actions inspired by his love ".
The pontiff also emphasized the fact that we often forget "the goal of our life, that is, the definitive appointment with God, thus losing the sense of expectation and making the present absolute".
"This attitude - he continued - precludes any perspective of the beyond: you do everything as if you never had to leave for the other life. And then we are concerned only with possessing, achieving, settling down ... If we let ourselves be guided by what appears most attractive to us, by the pursuit of our interests, our life becomes sterile; we do not accumulate any reserves of oil for our lamp, and it will go out before the encounter with the Lord. We must live today, but always projected towards tomorrow. Today of hope ... If, on the other hand, we are vigilant and do good by corresponding to the grace of God, we can calmly await the arrival of the bridegroom. The Lord will be able to come even while we sleep: this will not worry us, because we have the reserve of oil accumulated with the good works of every day ”.