Pope at Santa Marta: ‘Death Is An Encounter with the Lord’
The certainty of death is written in the Bible and in the Gospel, reminded Pope Francis in his homily in this morning’s Mass at Saint Martha’s, “however, the Lord always presents it to us as an ‘encounter with Him’ and He accompanies it with the word ‘hope.’”
Early in the morning of Friday, November 29, 2019, the Bishop of Rome reflected on death and described it has the moment of the Lord’s embrace, inviting us to prepare ourselves for that moment, and to pray for one another, reported “Vatican News” in Spanish.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away,’ was the quote from Saint Luke’s Gospel, proposed in today’s liturgy, in the last week of the Liturgical Year. The Church invites us to reflect on the end, the end of the world, the end of each one of us, in this month of November, month of the deceased.
“The Lord tells us to be prepared for the encounter; death is an encounter: it is He who comes to meet us; it is He who comes to take us by the hand with Him,” he explained. “I don’t want this simple sermon to be a funeral announcement! It’s simply the Gospel, it’s simply life; it’s simply to say to one another: we are all vulnerable and we all have a door at which the Lord will call one day.”
We Are All Vulnerable
“We all have this weakness of life, this vulnerability,” clarified the Pontiff. We are all vulnerable and in some moment this vulnerability leads us to death. That’s why we go to the doctor to see how my physical vulnerability is going; others go to a psychologist to cure some psychic vulnerability.”
Pope Francis recounted in the homily how he meditated on this yesterday, in a lovely article that has come out in the Civilta Cattolica Review, “which says that what we all have in common is vulnerability: we are the same in vulnerability.”
“When Will I Die?”
The Holy Father reminded that it’s necessary to prepare oneself well “for the moment that the bell will ring; the moment the Lord will call at our door,” and he encouraged us to “pray for one another.”
“Of all the things we have collected, that we have saved, legally good, we won’t take anything,” he reminded. “However, we will have the Lord’s embrace. Think of your own death: when will I die? It’s not marked in the calendar, but the Lord knows it.” So, the Pope recommended that we pray to the Lord, saying: “Lord, prepare my heart to die well, to die in peace, to die with hope.”
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester