Pope says we shall only bring with us what we have given, appeals for Central Africa and the victims of fires and cold snap in the US

Francis mentioned today’s Mass for World Day of the Poor and lunch with "indigent people" in Pope Paul VI Hall. "None of us can escape” the moment when we meet Jesus. " Shrewdness" and "the power of money and economic means" will be useless.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In his comment on today’s liturgy, (33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, B, Mark 13:24-32), Pope Francis spoke about the mystery of the end, of the time when we shall present ourselves to the Son on Man, the moment when “We will bring with us only what we have given.”

After the comment, the Holy Father addressed the pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the recitation of the Angelus, offering prayers for the victims of a massacre in the Central African Republic in which two priests were killed, as well as for the victims of fires and a cold snap in the United States.

Sunday’s Gospel, the Pope explained, "is not primarily about the end of the world. It is rather an invitation to live well the present, to be vigilant and always ready for when we are called to account for our life".

"The history of humanity, like the personal history of each of us, cannot be understood as a simple succession of words and facts that do not make sense. It cannot even be interpreted in a fatalistic fashion, as if everything were already pre-established according to a fate that takes away every room of freedom, preventing the making of choices that are the result of a true decision. Instead, in today's Gospel, Jesus says that the history of peoples and that of individuals have one aim and goal: the final encounter with the Lord."

"None of us can escape that moment. The shrewdness, which we often put into our behaviour to credit the image we want to offer, will no longer be needed; likewise, the power of money and economic means with which we presume to buy everything and everyone can no longer be used. We shall have with us nothing but what we have achieved in this life through belief in his Word: everything and anything we experienced or neglected to accomplish. We shall only bring with us what we have given."

"Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary so that the realisation of our temporariness on earth and of our limitation do not plunge us into anguish but awake us to our responsibility towards ourselves, our neighbours and the whole world".

Following the Angelus, after mentioning the Mass he celebrated this morning for World Day of the Poor, he announced that he was going to have lunch today in the Paul VI Hall with hundreds of "indigent people".

"Similar initiatives of prayer and sharing have been promoted in various dioceses around the world, to express the closeness of the Christian community to those living in poverty. This Day, which involves more and more parishes, associations and Church movements, wants to be a sign of hope and an incentive to become tools of mercy in society."

The Holy Father also asked for a Hail Mary for the victims of last Thursday’s massacre of 42 Christians in the Alindao refugee camp (Central African Republic) by anti-government militias. The latter also looted and burnt the nearby cathedral. Some survivors have complained that the UN forces, instead of defending civilians, pulled back before the attacks.

" I express all my closeness to this people dear to me,” the pope said. When he visited the country, he  “opened the first holy door in the Year of Mercy.” Now “Let us pray for the dead and for the wounded and for an end to the violence in that beloved country that is in great need of peace."

Lastly, before the final greetings, Francis offered a "special prayer" for "those affected by fires that have plagued California, and now also for the victims of the cold snap on the east coast of the United States. May the Lord receive the dead in His peace, comfort their families and support those who are engaged in rescue efforts.”