Pope Benedict XVI has reminded the faithful to heed today's Gospel reading by detaching themselves from material goods and instead preparing interiorly for Christ's return.
Continuing on from last Sunday's Gospel reading, which warned of attachment to worldly goods that are “for the most part illusory”, the Pope invited the faithful to instead direct themselves to “the heights of heaven”. The believer, he added, “stays awake and keeps watch so as to be ready to welcome Jesus when he comes in all His glory”.
“Through examples found in daily life, the Lord exhorts his disciples to live with such an interior disposition, like the servants in the parable who await the return of their owner”, the Pope said, referring to today's reading from Luke 12:37. “We must therefore keep watch, praying and working for good”.
The Holy Father also referred to another of the day's readings, from the book of Hebrews. In the passage, St. Paul describes how Abraham obeyed God's call to go to the place of his inheritance, without knowing where he was to go. Through faith, he journeyed as a pilgrim, “looking toward the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God”, the Pope said. “The city St. Paul alludes to is not in this world, but is in
paradise”, the Pope added. He explained that the early Christians “expressed a most important characteristic of the Church, which is, of course, attention to all that comes from on high, to the life that is to come, which we repeat each time we pray the Creed when we profess our faith.”
The Pope said today's Liturgy of the Word and these quiet days of summer are therefore an invitation and an opportunity to spend our lives in a “wise and prudent manner, attentively considering our destiny, those realities that we call the last things: death, final judgment, eternity, hell and heaven.”
Looking ahead to the Feast of the Assumption on August 15th, the Holy Father drew attention to Our Lady, who “preceded us into paradise”. From heaven, he said, “she keeps watch over us, helps not to forget that here, on earth, we are on a path, and teaches and prepares us to meet Jesus who sits at the right hand of the Omnipotent God the Father.”
After reciting the Angelus, the Pope also remembered the many who are suffering from severe flooding in South East Asia. “While I share in the profound pain of those who
have been affected,” the Pope said, “I urge Church communities to pray for the victims and to support all charitable initiatives which aim to alleviate the suffering of those many people who have been so heavily put to the test.” He also called for help from the international community.
The Holy Father was visibly delighted by the presence of a Bavarian marching band from Neukirchen am Inn, and sang along with them as they played an old German hymn.