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Pope Francis at General Audience: “Old age is a blessing and testimony of hope”


In his catechesis on the value of old age, Pope Francis reflected on Saint John's account of the Last Supper, in which Jesus encourages the disciples to “persevere in faith and assures them that he is going to prepare a place for them in the house of the Father.”

The Pope said that people of all ages are called to live in the joyful expectation of the fulfillment of that promise in every age, and that old age in particular can be a “fruitful time for bearing witness to the message of hope proclaimed by the Gospel.”

In this way, Pope Francis says the elderly are examples for others, in that they “show us that our time on earth is meant to be lived as a preparation for something immensely greater.”

Dear brothers and sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on old age, we now consider Jesus’ words of farewell to his disciples, as recorded in Saint John’s account of the Last Supper (Jn 14:1-3).

On the eve of his death, our Lord encourages the disciples to persevere in faith and assures them that he is going to prepare a place for them in the house of the Father.

Like the first disciples, Christ’s followers in every age live in joyful expectation of the fulfillment of that promise. Old age can be an especially fruitful time for bearing witness to the message of hope proclaimed by the Gospel.

By their serene faith and trust in Christ’s promises, the elderly can show us that our time on earth is meant to be lived as a preparation for something immensely greater: the joy of eternal life in the company of our Lord and all the saints in the heavenly Jerusalem.

The passing of the years can thus become a blessing, not a threat, and a testimony to the good news that life, at every stage, points beyond itself to a fullness that is God’s gracious gift to his beloved children.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience. Upon you and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!