Pope Francis speaks during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Jan. 11. CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope's homily: Make the most of each day to grow in faith and love

By  Vatican Radio
  • January 12, 2017

Pope Francis celebrated Mass in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on Thursday morning. In remarks to the faithful following the readings of the day, the Holy Father reflected on the unique and unrepeatable opportunities each day offers to grow in faith and love of God.

The day in which we have received God's love

Pope Francis took as the focal point of his reflections the text from Psalm 95, which the author of the Letter to the Hebrews took up in the 3rd chapter, a portion of which was read at Mass. There is “only one ‘today’, in our lives,” – only one real, concrete today. Our temptation and everyone’s temptation is to say: “Yes, I will do tomorrow,” though this is the temptation of a “‘tomorrow’ there will not be,” as Jesus says in the parable of the ten virgins – the five foolish ones who had not taken oil with them along with their lamps, then find the door locked when they go to buy it. Francis also referred to the parable of the man who knocks on the door saying to the Lord, “I ate with you, I was with you,” and hear him respond, “I do not know you, you came late.”:

“I say this not to scare you, but simply to say that our life is today: now or never. I think of this: tomorrow will be the eternal tomorrow that never sets, with the Lord forever – if I am true to this day; and the question that I put to you is the same the Holy Spirit is putting to all of us, i.e. ‘How ought I to live, this day?”

Let our hearts be open to the Lord

The second word that is repeated in the Reading is “heart”. For with the heart “we meet the Lord” and many times Jesus rebukes people saying they are “slow of heart”, late to understand. The call is therefore not to harden the heart and to wonder whether it is not “without faith” or “deceived by sin”:

“‘Today’ is played out in our hearts. Are our hearts opened to the Lord? To me it always strikes me when I find an older person – often priests or nuns – who tell me, ‘Father, pray for my final perseverance’ – ‘But, you did well all your life long, all the days of your ‘today’ are in the service of the Lord, and still you are afraid?’ ‘No, no, my life has not yet waned: I want to live it fully, I pray that the day arrives full, full, with a heart strong in faith, and not ruined by sin, vices, corruption.’”

To ask about our day and our hearts

Pope Francis went on to urge the faithful present – and all of us – to question ourselves about our own time and our own heart. Today is “full of days” but “we will not repeat” any one of them. Days go by until the Lord says “enough”:

“Today does not repeat itself: this is life. –and the heart, the open heart, open to the Lord, not closed, not hard, not hardened, not without faith, not perverted, not deceived by sin. The Lord has met so many of these, who had closed their hearts: the doctors of the law, all these people who persecuted him, put him to the test to convict him – and in the end they managed to do it. We go home with these two words only: how is my ‘today’? The sunset can be today, this day or many days later. But how are you, my today, in the presence of the Lord? And how is my heart? Is it open? Is it firm in the faith? is it led by the Lord? With these two questions we ask the Lord for the grace which each of us needs.”

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