Archbishop D’Souza: Mother Teresa, the pandemic and the lockdown
by Mons. Thomas D'Souza

The encounter with Jesus is in the Eucharist and the poor. Mother Teresa taught with words, deeds, and the example of her life. The archbishop of Calcutta spoke on the feast day of the foundress of the Missionaries of Charity. Here is an excerpt from his homily.

Kolkata (AsiaNews) – Last Saturday, Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Calcutta, led a Mass to honour St Teresa of Calcutta, the saint of the poor, on her feast day. In his homily, the prelate said that “Death, hunger and poverty are around us” because of “an unprecedented pandemic and many lockdowns affecting”. In this situation, it is important to turn to Mother Teresa and ask ourselves what she would have done. At the request of our readers, we offer here an excerpt from his homily.

Dear brothers and sisters,

St. Mother Teresa’s focus was on Jesus and His love for all, especially the poor. Her spirituality was based on the person of Jesus who loved us and gave Himself for us. She believed in the dignity of every person as created in the image and likeness of God. To see Jesus in every person and love Him very specially in the poor, needy, sick, destitute and suffering through care and service, became the foundation of her life as a Missionary of Charity. Having been called to be a light in darkness, St. Teresa lived her vocation to the fullest bringing light, love, life and joy of Jesus in the lives of thousands.

We are experiencing an unprecedented pandemic and many lockdowns affecting life of all sections of people, especially the poor. Death, hunger and poverty are around us. If Mother Teresa were alive today, she would tell us: “See Jesus in every suffering person, needy person, poor person, dying person, and care for him or her in whatever way you can share what you have with the needy do not be indifferent; Jesus will work miracles through you”.

Mother was fully convinced that Jesus fed the five thousand by working a miracle to feed them because he had compassion on them, and he taught them about the Kingdom of God. Through her Sisters and Brothers of the Missionaries of Charity and thousands of collaborators, Mother is continuing her service to the poorest of the poor today.

Many a COVID warrior, or those very generous and selfless men and women of all religions and faith convictions who have been serving heroically the sick, the poor, the hungry, are in some way or other inspired by the life and example of Saint Teresa of Calcutta, that outstanding good Samaritan of our times, as Pope Francis called her, who in turn, was a faithful disciple of Jesus and followed His example of love, compassion and service. In the midst of darkness and suffering, each one of us can be an instrument of light and peace, hope and faith, joy and forgiveness.

St. Mother Teresa drew her strength from prayer, very specially from Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and with that strength met the same Jesus in the poorest of the poor and served Him with love. Mother’s love for the Immaculate Heart of Mary made her heart filled with pure love. May the Eucharist in which we meet Jesus help us too to meet Him in the poor and needy and respond to Him in them with love always.

Today is also “Teachers’ Day”. I send greetings of gratitude to all our teachers. St. Mother Teresa was a full-fledged teacher and Principal in St Mary’s School, Entally as a Loreto nun. Then as Missionary of Charity, she taught through words and deeds, through the example of her life of service to the poor. May she intercede for all our teachers and send them blessings from heaven.

I wish to conclude with the words of Pope Francis which he expressed at the end of his homily on the day of canonisation of Mother on 4 September 2016: “Mother Teresa loved to say, ‘Perhaps I don’t speak their language, but I can smile.’ Let us carry her smile in our hearts and give it to those whom we meet along our journey, especially those who suffer. In this way, we will open up opportunities of joy and hope for our many brothers and sisters who are discouraged and who stand in need of understanding and tenderness.”

St. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.

(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to this article)