In his homily on Thursday Pope Francis said that although sin and corruption often seem to win out over good, Jesus gives us a promise of hope which enables us to keep “our heads held high.” “Do not give way to depression: Hope! Reality is ugly: there are many, many cities and people, so many people who are suffering; many wars, so much hatred, so much envy, so much spiritual worldliness and so much corruption. Yes, it's true, (but) all of this will fall!” the Pope said on Nov. 27. The Roman Pontiff offered his reflections to those present in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse for his daily mass. He began by turning to the day’s readings, which recount the ill fate of the biblical cities of Babylon and Jerusalem. Both cities fell for different reasons, he said, explaining that Babylon “falls because of its corruption” and warned that when sin accumulates, “you lose the ability to react and you start to rot.” Corruption gives a person a certain level of happiness, so they feel that they have power and that they are satisfied with themselves, the Pope said, however it leaves no room for God or for conversion. “(The) word 'corruption' says a lot to us today: not only economic corruption, but corruption with many different sins; the corruption of that pagan spirit, that worldly spirit. The worst (form of) corruption is the spirit of worldliness!” A corrupt culture makes you feel like you are already in heaven, however the truth is that “the corrupt culture is rotten.” Babylon, the Bishop of Rome said, is an example of every person and society who have distanced themselves from God, leading to corruption that eventually gives way to rot. Jerusalem, on the other hand, falls because she fails to welcome her Bridegroom, the pontiff said. The city was “distracted,” and because of this it fails “to welcome the Lord who comes to her rescue.” Pope Francis noted that although Jerusalem had the writings of Moses and all the prophets, “She did not feel in need of salvation. She left no room for salvation: her door was closed to the Lord!” Although the Lord was knocking on Jerusalem’s door, her people were not willing to let him in, listen to him or be rescued by him, the Roman Pontiff observed, so she falls. He then took the fate of the cities to a personal level, and asked those present which city they identified with: the “corrupt and self-sufficient Babylon (or the) distracted Jerusalem?” Pope Francis continued, alluding to how the coming end of the Church’s liturgical calendar is a reminder of the end of times and of the Lord’s second coming. Despite the fate of the two cities in the day’s reading, the pontiff stressed that “the message of the Church in these days does not end with destruction: in both texts, there is a promise of hope,” and Jesus urges us to lift our heads and not to be afraid. “When we think of the end of time, with all of our sins, with our history, let us think of the banquet which will be freely offered us and let us lift up our heads,” he said, noting that while the world is still full of suffering and hatred, we know it will come to an end. The Pope explained that the different evils and trials that we face “have their time,” which is now, and that we must endure this time with patience, like Jesus endured his passion and death. He concluded his homily by praying that the Lord would give to all “the grace to be prepared for the banquet that awaits us, always with our heads held high.”
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