Pope Francis tells Christians that the good works of every day, inspired by the love of Christ, allow us to await with serenity the feast of life beyond death.
Addressing pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square and gathered through various media platforms for his Sunday Angelus, the Pope reflected on the Gospel reading of the day (Mt 25:1-13), the parable of the ten virgins. He recalled that in Jesus’ time, weddings were celebrated at night and therefore lit up with torches. In the parable, some of the bridesmaids, the “foolish” ones forget to bring extra oil for their lamps, whereas the “wise” ones do. When the foolish bridesmaids realise they do not have enough oil for their lamps they go and buy more, but return too late and are turned away from the wedding.
With this parable, the Pope explained, “Jesus wants to tell us that we must be prepared for His coming”. Not only the final coming, stressed the Pope, but also our daily commitment in view of that encounter, “for which the lamp of faith is not enough; we also need the oil of charity and good works.”
Faith works through love
Pope Francis said that the faith that truly unites us to Jesus is, “faith working through love”. This is what the wise virgins represent: “the spare oil they took with them along with their lamps, indicates the good deeds carried out in cooperation with grace”.
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, said the Pope.
Pope Francis noted that, unfortunately, “we forget the purpose of our life”, which is the “definitive appointment with God”, and that we, therefore, lose the sense of expectation.
This attitude, he said, precludes any view of the hereafter: “people do everything as if they will never depart for the other life”.
It is for this reason, he continued, that “people care only about possessing, of going about, establishing themselves…”, and explained that “if we allow ourselves to be guided by what seems most attractive to us, by the search for our interests, our life becomes sterile; we do not accumulate any reserve of oil for our lamp, and it will be extinguished before the Lord’s coming.”
Correspond to God’s grace by doing good
On the other hand, concluded the Pope, if we are vigilant and correspond to God’s grace by doing good, “the Lord will be able to come even while we are sleeping”, as the bridesmaids were, and this will not worry us, because we have the reserve of oil accumulated through our daily good works.
With thanks to Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.