POPE’S MESSAGE | Nothing is in vain, nothing is resistant to love

Paul Haring | Catholic News Service
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VATICAN CITY — Christians are never pessimistic, resigned or weak, thinking life is an unstoppable train careening out of control, Pope Francis said.

Throughout history, every day is seen as a gift from God and "every morning is a blank page that Christians start writing on" with their good works and charity, the pope said Oct. 11 at his weekly general audience.

Continuing his series of audience talks on Christian hope, the pope reflected on a reading from the Gospel of St. Luke, in which the disciples are asked to be like faithful and vigilant servants, who stand ready for their master's return — the day Jesus will come again.

Jesus wants His followers to never let down their guard and to be on their toes, ready to welcome "with gratitude and amazement each new day God gives us," the pope said.

Even though "we have already been saved by Jesus' redemption," he said, the people of God are still awaiting His second coming in glory when He will be "all in all." Nothing in life is more certain than that — that He will come again, the pope said.

This time of expectant waiting, however, is no time for boredom, but rather for patience, he said.

Christians must be perseverant and life-giving, like wellsprings to irrigate a desert.

For that reason, "nothing happens in vain" and no situation is "completely resistant to love. No night is so long that the joy of dawn is forgotten," he said. In fact, the darker the night, the sooner the light will come, he added.

"We do not lose ourselves in the flow of events to pessimism, as if history were a train out of control. Resignation is not a Christian virtue. Just like it is not Christian to shrug your shoulders or lower your head before a seemingly unavoidable destiny."

Having hope means never being submissive or passive, but being a builder of hope, which demands courage, taking risks and personal sacrifice, he said.

"Submissive people are not peacebuilders, but they are lazy, they want to be comfortable," he said.

At the end of the general audience, the pope also launched an appeal for concrete study and action to safeguard creation and reduce the risks people face with natural disasters.

He asked that International Day for Disaster Reduction Oct. 13 encourage leaders and groups to promote a culture that aims to reduce people's exposure to natural disasters, particularly people who are already very vulnerable. 

Canon law must serve mission of the Church

VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law is an instrument that must serve the Church's pastoral mission of bringing God's mercy to all and leading them to salvation, Pope Francis stated.

Just as the first full codification of Catholic Church law was carried out 100 years ago "entirely dominated by pastoral concern," so today its amendments and application must provide for a well-ordered care of the Christian people, the pope stated in a message Oct. 6 to a canon law conference in Rome.

Leading canonists, as well as professors and students from all the canon law faculties in Rome, were meeting Oct. 4-7 to mark the 100th anniversary of the first systematic Code of Canon Law, which was promulgated by Pope Benedict XV in 1917.

Work on the code began under the pontificate of St. Pius X and was a response not only to the need to examine, systematize and reconcile often conflicting Church norms, Pope Francis said. After the Vatican lost its temporal power, he said, St. Pius knew it was time to move from "a canon law contaminated by elements of temporality to a canon law more conforming to the spiritual mission of the Church."

The 100th anniversary of the code, which was updated by St. John Paul II in 1983, should be a time to recognize the importance of canon law as a service to the Church, Pope Francis said.

When St. John Paul promulgated the new law, the pope said, he wrote that it was the result of an effort "to translate into canonical language ... the conciliar ecclesiology," that is, the Second Vatican Council's vision of the Church, its structure and relation to its members and the world.

"The affirmation expresses the change that, after the Second Vatican Council, marked the passage from an ecclesiology modeled on canon law to a canon law conforming to ecclesiology," Pope Francis said.

The Church's law must always be perfected to better serve the Church's mission and the daily lives of the faithful, which, he said, was the point of his amendments to canon law streamlining the Church's process for determining the nullity of a marriage.

Canon law, he said, can and should be an instrument for implementing the vision of the Second Vatican Council.

— Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service 

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