Pope Francis on Sunday told the faithful that in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must be ready to meet with the Lord.
Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer, the Pope also said that it is not sufficient to lead a life of faith; a Christian must also be fueled by charity.
The parable of the ten virgins
Recalling the parable of the ten virgins the Pope said one must not wait for “the last moment of our lives to collaborate with God’s grace: you must do it now!” he said.
Quoting from the liturgical reading in which the Lord said to the foolish virgins “Stay awake for you know neither the day nor the hour” Francis explained that Jesus is telling us that ‘staying awake’ does not mean only not to fall asleep: it is an exhortation to be prepared.
Charity fuels and safeguards faith
The lamp, the Pope said, is “the symbol of faith that illuminates our lives”. Oil, he continued, “is the symbol of charity which fuels the lamp making the light of faith fruitful and credible”.
“A life that is poor in charity is devoid of true light” he said.
“If we let ourselves be guided by what appears to be most convenient, seeking only to protect and nurture our interests, our lives become sterile and incapable of giving life to others; in this way we do not store a stock of oil for the lamp of our faith which will be extinguished at the time of the Lord’s coming, or even before that” he said.
“The condition to be ready to meet with the Lord, Pope Francis said, is not only faith, but a Christian life full of love and charity for our neighbour.”
Always be prepared to meet the Lord
He urged Christians always to “be vigilant and to try to do good through actions of love, sharing and service” to our brothers in difficulty so we can serenely await the arrival of the groom.
We know, he continued that “the Lord may come at any time, but even the slumber of death will not scare us if we have a supply of oil that we have accumulated through good works every day”.
“Faith inspires charity and charity safeguards faith” he said.
Giving thanks for Spanish martyrs
After the Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled the beatification ceremony that took place in Madrid on Saturday during which Vicente Queralt LLoret and 20 of his martyred companions and José Maria Fernández Sánchez and 38 of his martyred companions were proclaimed blessed.
“They were all killed in hatred for the faith during the religious persecution that took place during the 1936 – 1937 Spanish Civil War” he said.
Pope Francis concluded giving thanks to God for the great gift of these witnesses of Christ and of the Gospel.