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Monday, November 16, 2015

Angelus: the prospect of the end of the world should not distract us from the present

Vatican City, 15 November 2015 (VIS) – At midday today Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, and to reflect on the Gospel reading of the day's liturgy in which Jesus, before his last Passover, spoke of the final events of human history, marked with apocalyptic signs: wars, famine, cosmic catastrophes. However, he said, these elements are not the essential part of the message. The central nucleus around which the words of Jesus revolve is Him: He Himself, the mystery of His person, His death and His resurrection, and his coming at the end of time”.

“Our final destination is the encounter with the risen Lord”, Francis explained. “We do not await a time or a place; rather, we are going to encounter a person: Jesus. Thus the problem is not 'when' these premonitory signs of the last days will occur, but rather that we find ourselves prepared. It is also not about knowing how these things will happen, but instead how we have to act today, in awaiting them. We are called to live in the present, building our future with serenity and trust in God. … The prospect of the end does not distract us from the present life, but instead leads us to regard our current days with hope. … And our hope has a face: the face of the Risen Lord. … The triumph of Jesus at the end of time will be the triumph of the cross, the demonstration that the sacrifice of oneself out of love for one's neighbour, in imitation of Christ, is the only victorious power, the only stable point in the midst of the upheavals of the world”.

The Lord Jesus “is not only the destination point of our earthly pilgrimage, but also a constant presence in our lives ... and this is why when we speak of the future and project ourselves toward it, it always leads us back to the present. He counters the false prophets, the fortune-tellers who predict that the end of the world is near; He counters fatalism. … He wishes to direct His disciples in every age away from curiosity about dates, predictions, horoscopes, and concentrate their attention on today in history. … This presence of Jesus calls us to anticipation and vigilance that excludes both impatience and lethargy; both refuge in the future and imprisonment in the current moment and in worldliness”.

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