Encourage one another, don’t gossip, pope says at morning Mass

By Sam Lucero

VATICAN CITY — The Bible instructs Christians to encourage and comfort one another, not to get together to gossip, Pope Francis said at morning Mass in the chapel of his residence.

Resuming Sept. 1 his daily celebrations with a small congregation in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, Pope Francis focused on how Christians are called to help one another prepare to meet God at the end of time.

Pope Francis smiles during his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Aug. 26. (CNS photo | Ettore Ferrari, EPA)

In the day’s reading from 1 Thessalonians, St. Paul tells the people that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night,” but he reminds them also that Jesus will save those who believe in him, the pope said.

“It is true that he will come to judge,” the pope said. “When we go into the Sistine Chapel and see that beautiful scene of the final judgment, it’s true. But do we also think about how he comes to find me so that I can see him with these eyes, embrace him and be with him forever?”

“This is the hope that the Apostle Paul tells us to explain to others with our lives — to give witness to hope,” the pope said. “This is true comfort, this is the true certainty: ‘I believe that I shall see the bounty of the Lord,'” he said, quoting the day’s passage from Psalm 27.

The apostle wants Christians to be talking to each other about their hope and confidence in Jesus, the pope said. “But I ask you, is this what we talk about? That the Lord will come? That we will meet him? Or do we talk about many other things, about theology, church things, about priests and nuns and monsignors?”

In parishes, he said, do people talk about their faith “or do they gossip about this, about that person or this one to pass the time and not get too bored?”

Pope Francis ended his brief homily with a prayer suggestion as he usually does. “Let us ask the Lord for this grace: That the seed of hope he has sown in our hearts would develop and grow until our definitive encounter with him” and that God would help Christians comfort one another “with good works and kind words.”