“The greed of a few is adding to the poverty of many others”, Pope Francis has denounced.
Driving the news
The Pope was speaking November 17 in the homily for his Mass for the 3rd World Day of the Poor, accompanied in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican by poor people of Rome and volunteers who help the homeless and the needy.
In his sermon, the Pope warned against two “temptations” that distract us from “what really counts in life”.
The first, he said, “is the temptation of haste, of the right now“.
“We must not follow the alarmists who fuel fear of others and of the future, for fear paralyzes the heart and mind”, Francis warned.
“Yet how often do we let ourselves be seduced by a frantic desire to know everything right now, by the itch of curiosity, by the latest sensational or scandalous news, by lurid stories, by the screaming those who shout loudest and angriest, by those who tell us it is ‘now or never'”.
However, “this haste, this everything right now, does not come from God”, the Pope cautioned, adding that “drawn by the latest outcry, we no longer find time for God or for our brother and sister living next door”.
“How true this is today! In the frenzy of running, of achieving everything right now, anyone left behind is viewed as a nuisance. And considered disposable.
“How many elderly, unborn, disabled and poor persons are considered useless. We go our way in haste, without worrying that gaps are increasing”.
Why it matters
The second “illusion” the Pope warned against in his sermon was “the temptation of self-centredness“.
“Christians, since we do not seek the right now but the forever, are not concerned with the me but with the you“, Francis explained.
“Wearing the label “Christian” or “Catholic” is not enough to belong to Jesus”, the Pope said, adding that “we need to speak the same language as Jesus: that of love, the language of the you“.
“Those who speak the language of Jesus are not the ones who say I, but rather the ones who step out of themselves.
“And yet how often, even when we do good, does the hypocrisy of the self take over?
“I do good so that I can be considered good; I give in order to receive in turn; I offer help so that I can win the friendship of some important person”.
And yet, the Pope said, the Christian is one who must ask him or herself: ” “Do I help someone who has nothing to give me in return? Do I, a Christian, have at least one poor person as a friend?”
For the record
Francis concluded his homily recalling that “the poor are valuable in the eyes of God because they do not speak the language of the self: they do not support themselves on their own, by their own strength; they need someone to take them by the hand”.
“The poor remind us how we should live the Gospel: like beggars reaching out to God. […]
“Instead of feeling annoyed when they knock on our doors, let us welcome their cry for help as a summons to go out of ourselves, to welcome them with God’s own loving gaze.
“How beautiful it would be if the poor could occupy in our hearts the place they have in the heart of God! Standing with the poor, serving the poor, we see things as Jesus does; we see what remains and what passes away”.