YEAR OF FAITH CATECHESIS, 24TH APRIL, 2013
THEME: On Christ’s Second Coming
Pleas find the original translation of this text on the Year of Faith Page of thie Blog. Here below is an overview of the original text by Fr. Febian Pikiti Mulenga.
During the Year of Faith Catechesis of 24th April, 2013, Pope Francis looked at the theme: On Christ’s Second Coming. This is one ot the articles of the Creed we profess that Jesus “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” Our human history begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and ends with the final judgment of Christ that leads to eternal life with God. In order to amplify this theme, Pope Francis reflects on some Parables and teachings of Jesus from the Gospels: that of the ten virgins, the talents and the final judgment. In actual fact, all the three texts are part of the Jesus’ discourse on the end of times, in the Chapter 25 of the Gospel of St. Matthew.
- Be Prepared for the the coming of the Lord: To explain this topic, the Pope refers to “The Parable of the Ten Virgins’ (cf. Mt 25:1-13). In this Parable, Jesus speaks about the ten girls who are waiting for the arrival of the bridegroom, but he delays and they fall asleep. At the sudden announcement that the bridegroom is coming, all prepare to welcome him, but while five of them, who were wise, have oil to trim their lamps, the others, who are foolish, are left with unlit lamps because they have no oil. They go out to find some when the groom arrives and the foolish virgins find the door closed that leads to the bridal feast. They start knocking persistently but the groom replies, I do not know you.
Pope Francis applies this to our life of faith that “the groom is the Lord, and the waiting time of arrival is the time He gives us, all of us with mercy and patience, before his final coming.” As we live our daily life, we are challenged to be vigilant. It is a time in which we need to keep lit the lamps of the faith, hope and charity. It is a time to keep alive our faith through prayer, with the sacraments, to be vigilant in order not to sleep, not to forget God. The Christian life asleep is a sad life, it isn’t a happy life. To be a Christian is to be happy and have the joy of Jesus. Let’s not fall asleep!
- We are answerable to God for our Vocation: Here, the Pope refers to the Parable of Talents in Mt 25:14-30. He makes us reflect on the relationship between how we use the gifts received from God and his return, when he will ask how we used them. In the Parable, the master departs to some foreign land and leaves each servant some talents, to use well during his absence. To the first he gives five, to the second, two, and to the third, one. While he was away, the first two servants multiply their talents/money, while the third prefers to bury his and deliver it intact to the master. When the master returned, he commends the first two for generating more talents/money and condemns the third who is kicked out into the darkness, because he kept his talent hidden out of fear.
Pope Francis wants to emphasise that a Christian who closes in on himself, who hides everything that the Lord has given him isn’t worth the name Christian! He is a Christian that does not thank God for all that he has given him! Therefore, we need to live our Christian life of action today and use the talents/gifts God has given us for for Him, for the Church and for others. It is time we commit ourselves to try to increase the good in the world amid the times of crises that surround us. Have you thought about the talents that God has given you? Have you thought about how you can put them at the service of others? Don’t bury your talents!
- The Lord will come to Judge the Living and the Dead: In this final part of the Catechesis, the Pope looks at the Parable of the second coming of the Lord in Mt 25:31-46). This is popularly refereed to as the parable of the last judgement. Jesus uses the image of Shepherd separating sheep from goats. On the right hand are thos who adhered to the divine command of loving God and neighbour. They acted according to the will of God by helping their neighbor who was hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick or imprisoned. While on the left are those who haven’t come to the aid of their neighbour.
Pope Francis is challenging us that we will be judged by God on charity, on how we loved him in our brothers, especially the weakest and neediest. But at the same time keep in mind that we are justified and saved by grace. That is, by an act of God’s gratuitous love which always precedes us; we alone can do nothing. Faith is first of all a gift that we have received. But to bear fruit, God’s grace always requires our openness, our free and concrete response. Christ comes to bring us the mercy of God who saves.
Dear brothers and sisters, may we never be afraid to look to the final judgment; may it push us rather to live better lives. God gives us with mercy and patience this time so that we may learn every day to recognize him in the poor and in the little ones, may we strive for good and we are vigilant in prayer and love. May the Lord, at the end of our existence and history, may recognize us as good and faithful servants. Thank you!