At the General Audience Francis urges people to "touch the excluded" and the poor who need us. "Every night I pray: 'Lord, if you want you can make me clean' and I say five Our Fathers, one for each of Jesus’ wounds". "The grace working in us does not seek sensationalism. Usually it moves quietly and without fanfare".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The Christian does not exclude anyone, but gives a place to all". Pope Francis once again returned to the issue of welcoming migrants, with a small group sitting right beside his chair this Wednesday as he gave his general audience, the last before the summer break. "Today - he said - these guys are with me here: so many of them think that it would have been better to stay in their land, but there was suffering so much, they are our refugees, but many consider them to be excluded, please: they are our brothers, Christians do not exclude anyone, we give a place to all, let them all come. "
After touring among the 30 thousand people present in St Peter's Square – and inviting four children around ten years of age, two girls and two boys, in their first Communion dress, to join him on his open topped jeep -Francis spoke of welcoming and building a relationship with the poor. Inspired by the Gospel passage of the healed leper and the man's question to Jesus "who not only asks to be healed, but to be 'purified', in other words fully healed in body and heart," the Pope confided that "In the evening I pray: 'Lord if you want you can make me clean' and I say 5 our Fathers, one for each of Jesus’ wounds. That’s what I do and you can too in your own homes, say an our Father one for each of Jesus’ wounds”.
Earlier, commenting on the Gospel passage he stressed that "the leper does not resign himself to his disease or to laws that make him an outcast. He was not afraid to break the law and enter the city, in order to reach Jesus (he had to... it was forbidden for him) and when he found him "he fell down before him, begging him: Lord, if you want, you can make me clean" ( v. 12). Everything that this man, regarded as unclean, does and says is an expression of his faith! He recognizes the power of Jesus, he is sure [Jesus] has the power to heal him and that everything depends on his will. This faith is the power that allowed him to break every convention and to seek an encounter with Jesus and, kneeling before him, call him 'Lord'. The supplication of the leper shows that when we present ourselves to Jesus, long speeches are not necessary. Just a few words, provided they are full of faith in his omnipotence and goodness. Trusting God means losing ourselves in his infinite mercy. "
"Jesus - he continued - is deeply impressed by this man. The Gospel of Mark emphasizes that "he felt compassion, stretched out his hand, touched him and said," You! "(1:41) I am willing; be clean. Jesus accompanies his words with a gesture in an explicit teaching. Against the provisions of the Law of Moses, which prohibited people from approaching a leper (cf. Lv 13,45-46), Jesus stretches out his hand, and even touches him. How many times have we meet a poor man who comes to meet us! We can also be generous, we can have compassion, but we never usually touch him. We offer money, but avoid touching his hand. And we forget that this is the body of Christ! Jesus teaches us not to be afraid to touch the poor and the excluded, because He is in them. Touching the poor can cleanse us from hypocrisy and disquieted by his condition".
"After healing the leper, Jesus commands us not to tell anyone, but he says:"Go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them"(v. 14). This provision of Jesus shows at least three things. First, the grace working in us does not seek sensationalism. Usually it moves quietly and without fanfare. To dress our wounds and guide us along the path of holiness it works patiently shaping our hearts on the Lord's heart, so as to assume more and more his thoughts and feelings. Second, by his healing officially verified by the priests and celebrating by making an offering, the leper is readmitted into the community of believers and social life. His reintegration completes his healing. Just as he had he pleaded, he is now completely purified! Finally, introducing himself to the priests the leper gives testimony about Jesus and his messianic authority. The strength of compassion with which Jesus healed the leper brought the faith of this man to open up to mission. He was excluded, but it is now one of us"
"We think of ourselves, of our miseries ... everyone has their own !, Sincerely. How many times do we cover them with the hypocrisy of 'good manners'. And then you need to be alone, to kneel before God and pray, "Lord, if you want, you can make me clean '".