8 Cardinals and a Patriarch passed away over the last year and 154 Bishops from nearly 40 countries. All of them were remembered by His Holiness Pope Francis at a Requiem Mass celebrated in St Peter’s Basilica, at the Altar of the Chair. In his homily the Pontiff reflected on the parable of the Ten Bridesmaids at the wedding banquet.

As reported by Vatican news, His Holiness Pope Francis drew a parallel between this “going out” and our own lives which, he said, are a “constant call to go forth” – from the womb to the tomb. We are always on the move, he added, “until we make our final journey”. His Holiness Pope Francis described our life as a constant preparation for the wedding banquet, for meeting Jesus, the Bridegroom. This is the encounter that alone “gives meaning and direction to our lives”, he said.

“Oil gives light only when it is burned”, said the Pontiff. Our own lives radiate light only if they “spend themselves in service”. “Service”, said His Holiness Pope Francis, “is the ticket to be presented at the door of the eternal wedding banquet”. Serving others, he continued, comes at a cost: “it involves spending ourselves, letting ourselves be consumed”.