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The Master of time

· The Pope's Mass at Santa Marta ·

We may be the masters of the moment, but we would be greatly deceived were we to believe that we are masters of time, for time belongs to God alone. This was the focus of Pope Francis' homily this morning during the Holy Mass he celebrated at the Chapel of Santa Marta.

In his homily, the Pope commented on the day's Reading from the Gospel of St Luke (Lk 21:5-11), in which Jesus prophecies the destruction of the temple. “The readings” he noted, “often speak to us of destruction, of the end, of calamity”. However he said, “it is one thing to live in the moment and it is quite another to live in time. A Christian is a man or woman who knows how to live in the moment and also knows how to live in time”.

The moment, Pope Francis observed, is what we have in hand at this instant. “Perhaps we might feel that we are masters of the moment,” the Pope said. “But” he added, “it is a trap to believe that we are masters of time. Time is not our own. Time belongs to God.... We may be masters of the moment, but there is only one Sovereign over time: Jesus Christ. Therefore, the Lord counsels us: 'Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, I am he! and, The time is at hand! Do not go after them' (Luke 21:8-9), do not be allow yourselves to be led astray into confusion”.

How is it possible to avoid being led astray? Through prayer and discernment, the Pope said. “Jesus admonishes those who did not know how to discern the present moment,” citing as an example the parable of the fig tree (Mk 13:29-29), in which Jesus reproves those who are able to intuit Spring's arrival in the blossoming of the fig tree and yet are unable to recognize the signs of the times.

Discernment, Pope Francis said, helps us “to recognize true signs and to know the way we should take at this moment”. And prayer is necessary in order to live each moment well. “Yet the only Lord and Master” of time is God, he said, “and we can do we nothing about this. There is no human virtue with the least power to exert influence over time. The only virtue that can help us to confront the mystery of time must be given to us by the Lord: it is hope”.

The Pope therefore recommended prayer and discernment for the present moment, and hope for time. “In this way,” he said, “the Christian is able to move on the road of the moment, with prayer and discernment. But he hopes in the Lord as he awaits the end of time. Men and women of the moment and of time, of prayer and discernment and hope”.

Pope Francis concluded, praying: “May the Lord grant us the grace to walk in wisdom. This, too, is a gift: that wisdom which, in the moment, leads us to pray and discern and which, in time, is God's messenger that helps us to live with hope”.

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