Pope Francis reflects on this Sunday’s Gospel and on Jesus’ call to be vigilant and to ‘light our lamps’ as we await the final encounter with the Father.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells His disciples to ‘gird your loins and light your lamps’. Speaking before the recitation of the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis described this image as one that ‘recalls the attitude of the pilgrim, ready to set out on a journey’. ‘It is a question of not putting down roots in comfortable and reassuring dwellings’, he said, ‘but of abandoning oneself with simplicity and trust to the will of God, who guides us towards the next goal’.
Light your lamps
By reminding us to ‘light our lamps’, Jesus invites us ‘to live an authentic and mature faith, capable of illuminating the many ‘nights’ of life’, continued the Pope. ‘The lamp of faith needs to be nourished continuously, with a heart to heart encounter with Jesus in prayer, and in listening to His Word’. ‘True faith opens the heart to one's neighbor’, he said, ‘and spurs us on to concrete communion with our brothers and sisters, especially with those in need’.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus describes the servants awaiting the return of their master as an example of remaining vigilant. We need to be ready ‘for the final and definitive encounter with the Lord’, added Pope Francis. ‘Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival’. With these words, ‘the Lord reminds us that life is a journey towards eternity’, said the Pope. ‘Every moment becomes precious, so we must live and act on this earth having a longing for Heaven in our hearts’.
‘If we live in harmony with the Gospel and God's commandments’, continued Pope Francis, ‘He will allow us to share in His eternal happiness’. Although ‘we cannot really understand what this supreme joy will be like’, said the Pope, Jesus offers us an image of the master who, finding his servants still awake on his return, ‘will have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them’. It is as though everything in Heaven will be reversed, said the Pope: ‘It will no longer be the servants, namely, us, who will serve God, but God will put Himself at our service’.
Hope and holiness
May the thought of the final encounter with the Father ‘fill us with hope’, concluded Pope Francis. May it stimulate us to a constant commitment to becoming holy, ‘and to building a more just and fraternal world’.