Pope Francis said Sunday that it is important not to forget that at the end of one’s life there will be “a definitive appointment with God.”
“If we want to be ready for the final encounter with the Lord, we must cooperate with Him now and perform good deeds inspired by His love,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus address Nov. 8.
“Being wise and prudent means not waiting until the last moment to correspond to God’s grace, but to do so actively and immediately, starting right now,” he told pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
The pope reflected on Sunday’s Gospel from chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus tells a parable of ten virgins invited to a wedding feast. Pope Francis said that in this parable the wedding feast is a symbol of the Kingdom of heaven, and that at Jesus’ time it was customary for weddings to be celebrated at night, which is why the virgins needed to remember to bring oil for their lamps.
“It is clear that with this parable, Jesus wants to tell us that we must be prepared for His coming,” the pope said.
“Not only the final coming, but also for the everyday encounters, great and small, with a view to that encounter, for which the lamp of faith is not enough; we also need the oil of charity and good works. As the apostle Paul says, the faith that truly unites us to Jesus is, ‘faith working through love.’”
Pope Francis said that people unfortunately often forget “the purpose of our lives, that is, the definitive appointment with God,” and thus lose a sense of expectation and make the present absolute.
“When one makes the present absolute, he or she looks only to the present, losing the sense of expectation, which is so good, and so necessary,” he said.
“If, on the other hand, we are vigilant and correspond to God’s grace by doing good, we can serenely await the bridegroom’s coming. The Lord will be able to come even while we are sleeping: this will not worry us, because we have the reserve of oil accumulated through our daily good works, accumulated with that expectation of the Lord, that He may come as soon as possible and that He may come to take us with Him,” Pope Francis said.
After praying the Angelus, Pope Francis said that has been thinking of the people in Central America affected by the recent hurricane. Hurricane Eta, a category 4 hurricane, killed at least 100 people and left thousands more displaced in Honduras and Nicaragua. Catholic Relief Services has been working to provide shelters and food to the displaced.
“May the Lord welcome the deceased, comfort their families and sustain those most in need, as well as all those who are doing all they can to help them,” the pope prayed.
Pope Francis also appealed for peace in Ethiopia and Libya. He asked for prayers for the “Libyan Political Dialogue Forum” taking place in Tunisia.
“Given the importance of the event, I very much hope that at this delicate time a solution to the long suffering of the Libyan people will be found, and that the recent agreement for a permanent ceasefire be respected and implemented. Let us pray for the delegates of the Forum, for peace and stability in Libya,” he said.
The pope also asked for a celebratory round of applause for Blessed Joan Roig Diggle, who was beatified at a Mass at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona on Nov. 7.
Blessed Joan Roig was a 19-year-old Spanish martyr who gave his life while protecting the Eucharist during the Spanish Civil War.
“May his example arouse in everyone, especially the young, the desire to live the Christian vocation to the full. A round of applause to this young Blessed, so brave,” Pope Francis said.