(Vatican News) Pope Francis encourages us not to be afraid as our lives are firmly in God's loving and provident care, but we must 'be ready' at all times, vigilant and attentive to serving God and our brothers and sisters.
Greeting pilgrims on a hot and humid August Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about the Gospel reading in today's liturgy that recalls when Jesus reassured His disciples to not be afraid, but also to "be ready" at all times.
Do not be afraid
Jesus had finished speaking about the loving and provident care of God, the Pope explained, and encouraged His disciples therefore to have no worries as "our lives are firmly in God's hands."
This reasurance of Jesus is heartening for us, he continued, as at times we can feel closed in on ourselves with anxieties, worries, distrust, fears of failure or not being loved. This can lead to focusing only on oursleves and a desire to accumulate goods and wealth that give us a false sense of security, he added.
“Jesus reassures us: Do not be afraid! Trust in the Father who wants to give you all that you truly need. He has already given you His Son, His Kingdom, and He will always accompany you with His providence, taking care of you every day.”
Be alert, vigilant
While we can be rest assured the Lord always watches over us, that does not entitle us to "fall asleep" or "succumb to laziness," the Pope warned, saying we must be alert and vigilant always.
Love requires it, as we also should be attentive always to the needs and good of others, available to listen and welcome.
The need to be alert and ready, both in good times and bad times, reflects Christian wisdom, the Pope explained, and Jesus repeats this invitation several times in the parables He tells with the message that we must "stay awake," that is, to avoid distraction or giving in to inner idleness, "because the Lord comes even in situations in which we do not expect Him."
“At the end of our life, He will call us to account for the goods He has entrusted to us. Therefore, being vigilant also means being responsible, that is, safeguarding and administering those goods faithfully.”
The Pope encouraged us to reflect on our life and what we have received, such as faith, family, relationships, and community, and ask ourselves whether we appreciate and treasure these gifts from the Lord or if we keep them all for ourselves without thinking of others.
At the same time, the Pope concluded, "let us walk without fear," knowing that the Lord accompanies us, while we keep vigilant always "lest we be asleep when the Lord passes by."