Francis: Everyone Goes to Heaven
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
A few days after the feasts of All Saints and All Souls Day, this Sunday’s Gospel invites us once again to reflect on the mystery of the resurrection of the dead. The Gospel (Lk 20.27-38) presents Jesus confronted with some Sadducees, who did not believe in resurrection, and conceived of the relationship with God as only in the dimension of earthly life. And then, to ridicule the resurrection and put Jesus in difficulty, they present him with a paradoxical and absurd case: a woman who had seven husbands, all brothers to one another, who died one after the other. And so the malicious question addressed to Jesus: ‘Now, at the resurrection, whose wife will that woman be? (v. 33)?
Jesus does not fall into the trap and reaffirms the truth of the resurrection, explaining that the existence after death will be different from that on Earth. He makes it clear to them that you cannot apply the categories of this world to the realities that go beyond and are larger than what we see in this life. For He says: “The children of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage”(vv. 34-35). With these words, Jesus intends to explain that in this world, we live in temporary realities, that end; while instead, in the afterlife, after the resurrection, we will not have the death as a horizon and we will live everything, even human bonds, in the dimension of God, in a transfigured way. Even marriage, a sign and instrument of the love of God in this world, [will be] transformed into the light that will shine in the glorious Communion of Saints in heaven.
The “children of heaven and resurrection” are not a privileged few, but they are all men and all women, because the salvation brought by Jesus is for everyone. [No, one must live the Commandments and die in the state of grace to go to Heaven. Hell exists for those who do not.] And the life of resurrection will be similar to that of the angels (cf. v. 36), that is, all immersed in the light of God, completely dedicated to His praise, in an eternity full of joy and peace. But be careful! The resurrection is not only the fact of resurrection after death, but it is a new kind of life that we experience in today already; It is victory over anything that we can already anticipate. The resurrection is the foundation of Christian faith and hope! If there were no reference to heaven and eternal life, Christianity would be reduced to ethics, a philosophy of life. Instead the message of the Christian faith comes from heaven, it is revealed by God and is beyond this world. To believe in the resurrection is essential, so that our every act of Christian love is ephemeral and an end in itself, and becomes a seed destined to bloom in the garden of God, and produces fruits of eternal life.
May the Virgin Mary, Queen of heaven and earth, confirm us in the hope of the resurrection, and help us to make fruitful, through good works, the Word of her Son, sown in our hearts.
After the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
On the occasion of today’s Jubilee of prisoners, I would like to make an appeal for the improvement of living conditions in prisons around the world, so that it fully respects the human dignity of detainees. In addition, I wish to reiterate the importance of reflecting on the need for criminal justice that is not only punitive, but is open to hope and the prospect of reinserting the offender into society. In a special way, I submit to the consideration of competent civil authorities of each country the opportunity to make, in this Holy Year of Mercy, an act of clemency towards those prisoners who will be considered eligible to benefit from this measure.
Two days ago, the Paris Agreement on the climate of the planet came into force. This breakthrough proves that humanity has the ability to work together for the protection of Creation (Laudato si‘ 13), to put the economy at the service of people and to build peace and justice. Then, tomorrow, in Marrakech, Morocco, a new session of a climate conference, aims to, along with other things, implement this agreement. I hope that awareness of our responsibility for the care of the common home guides this whole process.
Yesterday, in Shkodra, Albania, 38 martyrs were beatified: two bishops, many priests and religious, one seminarian and some lay people, [who were] victims of severe persecution of the atheist regime that dominated a long time in that country in the last century. They preferred to suffer imprisonment, torture and eventually death, in order to remain faithful to Christ and the Church. May their example help us find strength in the Lord who offers support in times of trouble, and inspires attitudes of kindness, forgiveness and peace.
I greet all of you pilgrims who have come from different countries: families, church groups, associations. In particular, I greet the faithful of Sydney and San Sebastián de los Reyes, the Centre Académico Romano Foundation and the Catholic Community in Venezuela in Italy; as well as groups of Adria-Rovigo, Mendrisio, Roccadaspide, Nova Siri, Pomigliano D’Arco and Picerno.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
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