Vatican City ( AsiaNews ) - In a era where "the elderly do not count", where they are often "discarded", "a nation that does not respect grandparents, has no future , because it has no memory", it forgets that "often they had a heroic role in the transmission of the faith in times of persecution". This is Pope Francis' lesson during Mass celebrated at Casa Santa Marta, inspired by the biblical story of the Elder Eleazar , who chose martyrdom for consistency with his faith.
The Pope noted that Eleazar, as recounted in the Book of Maccabees, "faced with the choice between apostasy and fidelity has no doubts", rejecting "pretense, pretence of mercy, of fake religiosity ... " . Indeed, instead of worrying about himself, "he thinks of the young people" of those for whom his act of courage "could leave a memorable impression".
As reported by Vatican Radio in Italian, the Pope pointed to "the consistency of this man, the consistency of his faith, but also the responsibility of leaving behind a noble legacy, true legacy. We live in a time in which the elderly do not count. It's a horrible thing to say, but they are discarded, is it not so? Why bother with them. The elderly people are the ones who carry history within them, who bring us doctrine, who bring us the faith and give it to us as a legacy. They are the ones who, like the good old wine, they have this inner strength to give us a noble inheritance".
In this regard, the Pope recalled a story he heard as a child. The protagonist is a family - "dad, mom, many children" - and a grandfather, who when he ate soup at the table "dirtied his face". Annoyed, the father buys a coffee table to isolate his parent. One day that same dad comes home and sees one of the children playing with wood. "What are you making?" , he asks . "A table ," replied the child. "And why ? " . "For you, Dad, for when you get old like Grandpa".
"This story did me a lot of
good, all my life. Grandparents are a treasure. The Letter to the Hebrews, the
twelfth chapter tells us: ' Remember your leaders, who have preached to you,
those who have preached the Word of God. And considering their outcome imitate
their faith. The memory of our ancestors
brings us to the imitation of faith. At times old age many is a little hard, is
it not? The illnesses that it brings and all that, but the wisdom that
our grandparents custody is the legacy that we must receive. A people who do
not cherish their grandparents, a people who do not meet their grandparents,
has no future, because it has no memory, it has lost its memory . "
"We will do well to think of the many old and elderly people, many who are in nursing homes , and even many - it is the ugly word, but let's say it - who are abandoned to themselves. They are the treasure of our society":
"We pray for our grandfathers, our grandmothers, who often have had a heroic role in the transmission of the faith in times of persecution . When mom and dad were not at home and also had strange idea , that the policies of that time taught, the grandmothers were the ones who passed on the faith. The fourth commandment is the only one that promises something in return. It is the commandment of mercy. Be compassionate with our ancestors. Today let us petition the old Saints - Simeone , Anna , Polycarp and Eleazar - so many old Saints : Let us ask for the grace to cherish, to listen to and venerate our elderly, our grandparents . "