"Let us pray, that during the Jubilee the Lord remove this desire to have more from all our hearts". "We should all ponder whether we have too much. But why not give something to those who have nothing? ".Condemnation of usury which leads so many “in desperation, to suicide."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis today express his hope that the Jubilee "will be an opportunity to convert, to make our hearts more generous, to be more like children of God," to "help others, the charitable institutions, hospitals, hospices, strangers, those who are strangers and who are fleeing, like Jesus fled through Egypt. "Because" if the jubilee does not reach our pockets, then it is not a true jubilee. It’s in the Bible, this Pope did not invent, it no it is in the Bible".
The Ash Wednesday general audience gave Pope Francis the occasion to earnestly appeal to" help achieve a land without poor ", a society without discrimination," in a sharing of resources founded on brotherhood and justice. "A society devoid of the serious sin of usury.
The Pope spoke to 25 thousand people in St. Peter's Square, of the Jubilee in the Bible, "the climax of the religious and social life of the people of Israel." Every 50 years, according to the Book of Leviticus, "each one shall return to his property." "According to these provisions, if anyone had been forced to sell his land or his home, he could reclaim them in the jubilee; and if anyone had contracted debts and was unable to pay them, had been forced to put themselves at the service of a creditor, he could return to his family and reclaim all of his properties. " "It was a kind of general amnesty, which allowed everyone to return to the original situation, with the cancellation of all debts, the restitution of the land, and the ability to enjoy their new freedom as members of God's people. A 'holy' people, where requirements such as the jubilee were needed to combat poverty and inequality, ensuring a decent life for all and a fair distribution of land on which to live and from which to draw sustenance. The central idea is that the land originally belongs to God and is entrusted to men and therefore no one can claim exclusive possession, creating situations of inequality. "
"Today - he added - we should think and rethink about; each one of us should ponder whether we have too many things. But why not give something to those who have nothing? Ten percent, fifty percent ... I say, let the Holy Spirit inspire each of you. "
"With the Jubilee, those who had become poor returned to having the necessities to live, and those who had become rich he gave back to the poor what they had taken from them. The goal was a society based on equality and solidarity, where freedom, land and money were restored to being a good for everyone and not just for some as is the case now ... ". "If I'm not mistaken ... the figures are not exact, but something similar to eighty percent of humanity's wealth is in the hands of less than twenty percent of the people. It is a jubilee - and I say this remembering our history of salvation - to convert so that our heart grows larger, more generous, we become more like children of God, with more love. But I tell you one thing: if this desire, if the jubilee does not reach our pockets, then it is not a true jubilee. Do you understand? And that's in the Bible, eh! This Pope did not invent it. It is in the Bible. The goal - as I said - it was a society based on equality and solidarity, where freedom, property and money were an asset for everyone and not just for some. "
"In fact the function of the jubilee was to help the people to live a real fraternity, made of mutual aid. We can say that the biblical jubilee was a "Jubilee of mercy", because experienced in the sincere search for the good of the poor. In the same line, even other institutions and other laws governed the life of God's people, so they might experience the mercy of the Lord through that of men. In those norms there are indications that are as valid today, that should make us think. For example, the Biblical law required the payment of the 'tithe' that were intended for the Levites, in charge of the cult, who were landless and poor, orphans and widows (cf. Dt 14.22 to 29). It was expected that the tenth part of the harvest, or the proceeds of other activities, might be given to those who were unprotected and in need, as well as to foster conditions of relative equality in a nation in which everyone had to behave as brothers".
There was also the law concerning the "first fruits". "That is the first part of the harvest, the most valuable part, was to be shared with the Levites and foreigners (cf. Dt 18.4 to 5; 26.1 to 11), who did not own fields, so that the earth was a source of nourishment and life for them. "Because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and guests," says the Lord (25:23). We are all guests of the Lord, waiting for the heavenly homeland (cf. Heb 11.13 to 16; 1 Peter 2:11), called to make the world that welcomes us a living and human. And how many 'first fruits' the most fortunate could donate to those in need! How many fruits! First fruits of not only the fruits of the fields, but any other product of labor, wages, savings, so many things that you own and that sometimes are wasted ".
"This also happens today! Apostolic Almonry many letters arrive with a bit 'of money, some small amounts some not so small:' This is a part of my salary to help others'. And this is nice; help others, charitable institutions, hospitals, nursing homes and tithes; also giving to strangers, those who are strangers and are in flight. Jesus was fleeing through Egypt. And just thinking about this, the Holy Scriptures insistently exhort us to respond generously to requests for loans, without petty calculations and without demanding impossible interests: " When one of your kindred is reduced to poverty and becomes indebted to you, you shall support that person like a resident alien; let your kindred live with you. Do not exact interest in advance or accrued interest, but out of fear of God let your kindred live with you. Do not give your money at interest or your food at a profit"(Lev 25.35 to 37). This teaching is always relevant. How many families are on the road, victims of usury! Please, please, during this Jubilee may the Lord remove from the heart of all of us this desire to have more. That you return be generous. How many situations of usury are we forced to see and how much suffering and anguish this brings to families! And often, in desperation many men end up committing suicide because they see no option have no hope, there is no outstretched hand to help them; only the hand that wants to make them pay interest. It is a grave sin, usury, it is a sin that cries out for justice before God. But the Lord has promised his blessing to those who open their hand to give generously (cf. Dt 15:10). He will give you twofold, maybe not in money but in other things, but the Lord will always give you twofold".
The biblical message - he concluded - is very clear: open up courageously sharing, and this is mercy! And if we want mercy from God we must begin to show mercy among each other. It is this: we begin among fellow citizens, families, peoples, continents. Heling to realize a land without poor, means building a society without discrimination based on solidarity that leads to share what you have, in a sharing of resources founded on brotherhood and justice ".
At the end of the audience, Francis also recalled that tomorrow we celebrate the Day of the Sick and the day after tomorrow, in Havana, he will meet "a beloved brother Kirill"