Pope Francis celebrates a Requiem Mass in St Peter’s Basilica for Cardinals and Bishops who have died during the past year. In his homily, he provides three stimuli for reflecting on the Resurrection.
The Pope’s homily focused on the liturgical readings for the Mass, all of which remind us “we were not born for death, but for resurrection”. He began by asking how we respond to the call “to rise again”, and then provided three points for reflection, starting with the St John’s Gospel, and Jesus’ promise that “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out”.
Going to Jesus
The invitation to “go to Jesus” may seem both predictable and generic, said the Pope. But we need to make it concrete, asking ourselves questions like: “Did I involve Jesus in the people I met today, did I bring them to Him in prayer? What is the direction of my journey? Do I simply try to make a good impression, to safeguard my role, my times, and my spaces?” There is no middle ground for those who believe, said the Pope. “Whoever belongs to Jesus lives by going forth toward Him”.
All of life is a “going forth”, continued Pope Francis, from the womb to when we leave this world. “As we pray for our brother Cardinals and Bishops, who have gone forth from this life to meet the Risen One”, he said, “we cannot forget the most important and difficult going forth, which gives meaning to all the others: the ‘going out’ from ourselves”. Only by going out of ourselves do we open the door that leads to the Lord, said the Pope.
Going toward others
Pope Francis’ second reflection found its inspiration in the First Reading, where Judas Maccabeus performs a merciful gesture for the dead. “Compassion toward others opens wide the door to eternity. Bending down toward the needy to serve them is an antechamber to paradise”, said the Pope. If charity is the bridge that connects earth to Heaven, we must ask ourselves if we are moving forward on this bridge. “Am I touched by the situation of someone in need? Can I weep for those who suffer? Do I pray for those whom no one thinks about? These are questions of life, questions of resurrection”, said Pope Francis.
Going toward the end
The Pope’s third stimulus in view of the Resurrection came from the Spiritual Exercises. Saint Ignatius suggests that, “before making an important decision, one should imagine oneself before God at the end of days”. This is the call that cannot be postponed, said the Pope, the point of arrival for all of us. “Just as the sowing is judged from the harvest, so life is judged well from its end”. A useful exercise is seeing reality with the eyes of the Lord and not only with our own, added Pope Francis: looking to the future, the Resurrection, making choices “that taste of eternity, that taste of love”.
Going out from myself
“Do I go out from myself to go to the Lord every day? Do I perform acts of compassion towards those in need? Do I make important decisions before God?” The Pope concluded his homily, inviting us to “be moved by at least one of these three stimuli”.
“Among the many voices of the world that make us lose our sense of existence, let us tune in to the will of Jesus, risen and alive”, said Pope Francis. If we do, “we will make of our life today a dawn of Resurrection”.