Pope Francis: “It goes beyond our imagination”

By Robert Moynihan from The Moynihan letters:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pope Francis: death is behind us, in front of us the God of the living

Pope Francis today expressed his deepest sympathy for those in the Philippines who have suffered from a terrible typhoon which has taken more than 10,000 lives.

Francis also reflected during his midday Angelus on the Gospel reading for this Sunday, setting forth powerfully his understanding of the meaning and reality of eternal life.

His words may offer some comfort, perhaps, to those who are in sorrow over these events in the Philippines, and similar tragic events.

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Pope Francis: heartfelt solidarity with those affected by Philippines typhoon

Pope Francis today ordered that a telegram of condolence be sent to the President of the Philippines, expressing his solidarity with those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

The typhoon, one of the worst on record, is feared to have killed as many as 10.000 people on Leyte island, which bore the brunt of the storm.

According to Reuters, “one of the most powerful storms ever recorded killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines, a senior police official said on Sunday, with huge waves sweeping away coastal villages and devastating one of the main cities in the region.”
Philippine Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, who had been in Tacloban, where the storm hit, since before the typhoon struck the city, told Reuters: “From a helicopter, you can see the extent of devastation. From the shore and moving a kilometer inland, there are no structures standing. It was like a tsunami. I don’t know how to describe what I saw. It’s horrific.”

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Below is the full text of the Pope’s telegram, signed by Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State.

His Excellency
Benigno Aquino III
President of the Republic of the Philippines
Manila

Deeply saddened by the destruction and loss of life caused by the super typhoon, His Holiness Pope Francis expresses his heartfelt solidarity with all those affected by this storm and its aftermath.

He is especially mindful of those who mourn the loss of their loved ones and of those who have lost their homes.

In praying for all the people of the Philippines, the Holy Father likewise offers encouragement to the civil authorities and emergency personnel as they assist the victims of this storm.

He invokes divine blessings of strength and consolation for the Nation.
Archbishop Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State

(Vatican Press Office)

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Pope Francis also prayed for the victims of the typhoon after the Sunday Angelus in St Peter’s Square.

He firstly called for silent prayer, and then led the faithful in a recitation of the Hail Mary.

Furthermore, he urged those present to help their brothers and sisters in the Philippines concretely, as well as through prayer.

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Reflection on Eternal Life

In front of us is the God of the living, the definitive defeat of sin and death, the start of a new time of joy and endless light.”

Pope Francis, reflection on today’s Gospel during his noon Angelus

During the Angelus in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis focused on Sunday’s Gospel reading, in which Jesus tackled the Sadducees, those who denied that there could be a resurrection, Vatican Radio reports.

(The text below is from the Vatican Radio report.)

The Sadducees, Pope Francis said, put the following question to Jesus, in an attempt to ridicule the belief in resurrection: “A woman has had seven husbands, who died one after the other. Now at the resurrection, whose wife will that woman be?”

First of all, the Pope said, Jesus explains that life after death has different parameters from our life on earth: eternal life is a different life, in a different dimension where, among other things, matrimony will no longer exist.

The risen, Jesus says, will be like angels, and they will live in a different state of being, which we cannot achieve or even imagine right now.

But then, Pope Francis continued, Jesus counterattacks, so to speak: He finds proof of the resurrection in the episode of Moses and the burning bush, where God reveals himself as the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob.

The name of God, Pope Francis explained, is tied to the names of the men and women to whom He ties Himself, and this tie is stronger than death.

This is why Jesus affirms: “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to Him” (Luke 20:38).

And the most important tie is with Jesus: He is the Alliance, He is the Life and the Resurrection, because with His crucified love He defeated death.

In Jesus, the Pope said, God gives us eternal life: He gives it to everyone, and everyone, thanks to Him, can hope to live a life even more real than this one.

The life that God has in store for us is not simply a better version of this one: it goes beyond our imagination, because God continually surprises us with His love and mercy.

Therefore, Pope Francis explained, what will happen is exactly the opposite of what the Sadducees expected.

This life cannot be the standard for eternity: it is eternity, on the contrary, that illuminates our life on earth, and gives each of us hope.

If we only look through human eyes, the Pope continued, we tend to say that the path of man goes from life towards death.

But Jesus turns this perspective on its head, and affirms that our pilgrimage goes from death towards a fuller life.

So, the Pope concluded, death is behind us, not in front of us. In front of us is the God of the living, the definitive defeat of sin and death, the start of a new time of joy and endless light.

But already on this earth – in prayers, in Sacraments, in fraternity – we encounter Jesus and his love, and so we can get a small taste of the risen life

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Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescant in pace. Amen.

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