Vatican City, 17 November 2013 (VIS) – At midday today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with the faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square. Before the Marian prayer, the Pope commented on Jesus' discourse in Jerusalem about the end of time. Jesus exhorted the apostles not to be deceived by false messiahs and not to be paralysed by fear, but rather to live this moment of waiting in hope, as a time of witness and perseverance.
The Holy Father emphasised the relevance of these words even to us now in the twenty-first century. “It is a call to discernment”, he said. “Even nowadays, in fact, there are false 'saviours' who seek to take Jesus' place: leaders of this world, gurus, holy men, people who want to attract hearts and minds, especially of young people. Jesus warns us: 'do not follow them'. And the Lord also helps us not to be afraid when faced with wars and revolutions, natural disasters and epidemics: Jesus liberates us from fatalism and false apocalyptic visions. … He reminds us that we are entirely in God's hands! The adversity we encounter on account of our faith and our adhesion to the Gospel are opportunities for witness; they should not turn us away from the Lord but rather encourage us to abandon ourselves more fully to Him, to the strength of His Spirit and His grace”.
“In this moment”, he continued, unscripted, “let us think of the many Christian brothers and sisters who suffer persecution for their faith. There are many of them. Perhaps more than in the first centuries. Jesus is with them. Let us also be united with them by our prayer and our affection. Let us admire their courage and their witness. They are our brothers and sisters, who in many parts of the world suffer for being faithful to Jesus Christ. Let us extend our heartfelt and affectionate greetings to them”.
Francis highlighted Jesus' promise to us as a guarantee of victory: “'Stand firm, and you will win life'. … This is a call to hope and patience, to know how to await the certain fruits of salvation, trusting in the deep meaning of life and history; the trials and difficulties form part of a greater design, and the Lord, the master of history, guides all to its fulfilment. Despite the disorder and catastrophes that afflict the world, God's plan of goodness and mercy will prevail”.