By Christopher Wells
Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica for the Solemnity of Christ the King, observed annually on the last Sunday of the liturgical year.
The Holy Father used the day’s Gospel, with Jesus’ discourse on the Last Judgement, as the starting point for his homily. “Before pouring out His love for us on the Cross, Jesus shares his final wishes,” the Pope said. “He tells us that the good we do to one of our least brothers and sisters – whether hungry or thirsty, a stranger, in need, sick or in prison – we do to Him.”
Making God’s dreams come true
We can all ask ourselves whether we put these works into practice, the Pope continued, emphasising Jesus’ words “I am here”; that is, Jesus is present in “the least of these.”
Speaking especially to young people, Pope Francis said, “Let us not give up on great dreams. Let us not settle only for what is necessary.” He reminded them that we are created “to make God’s dreams come true in this world.
Making great choices
We can do this, the Pope said, “with great choices.” Returning to the Gospel, he said that Jesus will judge us based on our choices. If we choose hatred and evil we can never be happy; but “if we choose God, we grow daily in His love, and if we choose to love others, we find true happiness,” said Pope Francis.
The Holy Father acknowledge the “obstacles that can make our choices difficult,” including “fear, insecurity, unanswered questions.” Love, however, helps us move past these obstacles, to the point where we no longer ask, “Why am I alive?” but “For whom” do I live?
“Choosing life,” Pope Francis said, “means resisting the ‘throwaway culture’ and the desire to have everything now, in order to direct our lives towards the goal of heaven, towards God’s dreams.”
What is best for you?
Pope Francis had one final piece of advice for those striving for goodness and happiness. When making daily choices, we must ask ourselves not, “What do I feel like doing,” but rather, “What is best for me?” This, the Pope said, is the question the Holy Spirit places in hearts.
“This interior discernment can result either in frivolous choices, or in decisions that shape our lives,” Pope Francis said in conclusion. “Let us look to Jesus and ask Him for the courage to choose what is best for us, to enable us to follow Him in the way of love. And in this way, we discover joy.”