Pope: Pray for authorities facing unpopular choices amid coronavirus crises

Indifference is “forgetting the hungry children, forgetting those poor people massed on the borders of our countries, looking for freedom, these forced migrants who flee from hunger and war and only find a wall, a wall made of iron, a wall of barbed wire, but a wall that does not let them pass. We know this exists, but it doesn't reach our heart ... We are indifferent."


Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis this morning asked for prayers for the authorities: "who have to make decisions and often decide on measures that the people do not like," as he introduced Mass today at Casa Santa Marta.

He asked those watching the broadcast to pray for those who must make decisions, as well as for the sick, "for family members, for parents with children at home ... but above all I would like to ask you to pray for the authorities who have to make decisions and often decide on measures that the people do not like. But it's for our sake. And often, those in authority feel alone, it doesn't happen. We pray for our leaders who must make the decision on these measures: that they feel accompanied by the prayers of the people ".

In his homily, inspired by the passage from the Gospel of the rich man and the poor Lazarus (Lk 16,19-31), he exhorted us not to be indifferent to the tragedy of those, especially children, who suffer from hunger or flee from wars and who find only walls in front of them.

“This account of Jesus - he said - is very clear; also, it may seem like a children’s story in its simplicity.  Jesus wants to point out not only a story, but the possibility that all humanity lives like this, that we too all live like this. Two men, one satisfied, who knew how to dress well, perhaps he was sought out the greatest designers of the time for his clothes; he wore purple and fine linen. He was doing very well, because every day he went to lavish banquets. He was happy like this. He had no worries, he took some precautions, maybe some cholesterol pills for those banquets, but life was fine. It was peaceful."

“At his door stood a poor man, called Lazarus. He knew there was the poor man there: he knew it. But it seemed natural to him: 'I am doing well and he isn’t ... but that's life.' At best, perhaps - the gospel does not say it - he sometimes sent something, a few crumbs. And so the life of these two passed. Both passed through the Law of us all: to die. The rich man died and Lazarus died. The Gospel says that Lazarus was brought to Heaven, next to Abraham ... Of the rich man it only says: 'He was buried'. Full stop. And it ends".

"There are two things that are striking - highlighted Francis - the fact that the rich man knew that there was this poor man and that he knew his name, Lazarus. But it didn't matter, it seemed natural to him. The rich man perhaps also did his business which eventually went against the poor. He clearly knew, he was informed of this reality. And the second thing that touches me so much is the word 'great abyss' that Abraham says of the rich. 'There is a great chasm between us, we cannot communicate; we can't go from one side to the other ". It is the same abyss that existed in life between the richman and Lazarus: the abyss did not begin there, the abyss began here. I thought about what the drama of this man: the drama of being very, very informed, but having a closed heart. The information did not reach the rich man’s heart, he could not be moved, he could not be moved in the face of the drama of others. Not even to call one of the boys who served in at the table to say 'but, bring him here, that other man...' ... The drama of information that does not reach our heart. This happens to us too. We all know, because we have heard it on the news or we have seen it in the newspapers, how many children suffer from hunger today in the world; how many children do not have the necessary medicines; how many children cannot go to school. Continents, with this drama: we know about it. Eh, poor people ... and we carry on. This information does not touch our heart, and many of us, many groups of men and women live in this separation between what we think, what we know and what we feel: Our heart is cut off from our mind. We are indifferent. Like the rich man was indifferent to Lazarus' pain. There is the abyss of indifference ".

"In Lampedusa, when I went the first time, these words came to my mind: the globalization of indifference. Maybe we today, here in Rome, are worried because the shops are closed, I have to go buy that, and it seems that I can't go for a walk every day, and it looks like this ...': I am worried about my things. And we forget the hungry children, we forget those poor people who on the borders of the countries, looking for freedom, these forced migrants who flee from hunger and war and only they find a wall, a wall made of iron, a wall of barbed wire, but a wall that does not let them pass. We know that this exists, but it doesn't reach our heart ... We live in indifference: indifference is this drama of being well informed but not feeling the reality of others. This is the abyss: the abyss of indifference ".

"Then there is another thing that strikes me. Here we know the name of the poor man: we know it. Lazarus. The rich man knew it too, because when he was in hell he asked Abraham to send Lazarus: he recognized him there. "But, send me him." But we don't know the name of the rich man. The Gospel does not tell us what this gentleman was called. He had no name. He had lost his name: he only had the adjectives of his life. Rich, powerful ... many adjectives. This is what selfishness does to us: it makes us lose our real identity, our name, and only leads us to evaluate adjectives. Worldliness helps us in this. We have fallen into the culture of adjectives where your value is what you have, what you can do ... But not 'what's your name?': You have lost your name. Indifference leads to this. Losing our name. Only we are rich, we are this, we are the other. We are adjectives".

Pope Francis concluded: "Today, let us ask the Lord for the grace not to fall into indifference, the grace that all information of human pain that we have, reach our heart and move us to do something for others".

cq5daml.cropped.750.422.jpeg