The most beautiful inheritance we can leave to others is the faith: that was Pope Francis’ message during Holy Mass on Thursday morning at the Casa Santa Marta. In his homily, he invited us to not fear death, because the course of life continues.
The day’s first reading tells the story of the death of King David. “In every life there is an ending,” the pope said. This is a thought “that is not pleasing to us,” that we always pass over, but “it is an everyday reality.” Thinking about death is “a light that illuminates life” and “a reality that we should always have before us”:
“In one of the Wednesday audiences there was among those who were sick a very old sister, but with face of peace, a luminous countenance: ‘But how old are you, sister?’ With a smile she said, ‘Eighty-three, but I am finishing my course in this life, to begin another with the Lord, because I have pancreatic cancer.’ And so, in peace, that woman had lived her consecrated life with great intensity. She did not fear death: ‘I am finishing my course of life, to begin another.’ It is a passage. These things do us good.”
David ruled over Israel for 40 years, the pope noted. Before dying, David exhorted his son Solomon to observe the Law of the Lord. David had sinned often in life, but had learned to ask for forgiveness – and the church calls him holy, “a sinner, but a Saint!” Now, at the point of death, David left to his son “the most beautiful and greatest inheritance a man or a woman can leave to their children: He left them the faith”:
“When a will is made, people say, ‘I leave this to one person, this to another, to another person I leave this.’ Yes, that’s fine, but the most beautiful inheritance, the greatest inheritance a man, a woman, can leave to their children is the faith. And David remembered the promises of God, he remembers his own faith in them, and he reminds his son of them, leaving the faith as an inheritance. When in the ceremony of Baptism, we give the parents the lighted candle, the light of the faith, we are saying to them, ‘Preserve it, make it grow in your son and in your daughter, and leave it to them as an inheritance.’ Leaving the faith as an inheritance – this is what David teaches us. And he died, simply, like any man. But he knew well what to leave to his son, and what was the best inheritance he could leave: not the kingdom, but the faith!”
We would do well to ask ourselves a question, the pope concluded: “What is the inheritance I will leave with my life?”
“Will I leave the inheritance of a man, a woman of faith? Will I leave this inheritance to my children? Let us ask two things of the Lord: to not be afraid of this final step, like the sister at the Wednesday audience (‘I am ending my course, but beginning another'), not being afraid. And the second thing, that with our life, we might all be able to leave, as the better inheritance, the faith, faith in this faithful God, this God who is always close to us, this God who is a Father, and who never disappoints.”