Pope: Christians must 'organise hope' in response to the cry of the poor
During Mass, Francis offered “some advice for making important choices. [. . .] Before deciding, let us imagine that we are standing in front of Jesus, as at the end of life, before Him who is love. And imagining ourselves there, in His presence, at the threshold of eternity, we make the decision for today. [. . .] It may not be the easiest, it may not be the most immediate, but it will be the right one”. The pontiff also announced that “today, World Day of the Poor, registration opens for the Laudato si' platform, which promotes integral ecology.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated Mass this morning in Saint Peter's Basilica on the Fifth World Day of the Poor in the presence of some two thousand poor people, plus the volunteers who accompany them and members of local charities who help them daily.
During the service, the pontiff said that Christians have a duty to “organize hope” as “People who act: by breaking bread with the hungry, working for justice, lifting up the poor and restoring their dignity. [. . .] We Christians, in particular, have to organize hope [. . .] to make it concrete in our everyday lives, in our relationships, in our social and political commitments.”
Speaking about Jesus’s words that “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away”, Francis said, during the homily, and later to the 30,000 people gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus, that “He makes a distinction between the penultimate things, which pass, and the ultimate things, that remain. It is a message for us, to guide us in our important decisions in life, to guide us on what it is worth investing our life.”
Indeed, while “this world will pass away [. . .] only love will remain. To base one’s life on the Word of God, therefore, is not an escape from history, but an immersion into earthly realities in order to make them solid, to transform them with love, imprinting on them the sign of eternity, the sign of God. Here then is some advice for making important choices.
“When I don’t know what to do, how do make a definitive choice, an important decision, a decision that involves Jesus’ love, what must I do? Before deciding, let us imagine that we are standing in front of Jesus, as at the end of life, before Him who is love.
“And imagining ourselves there, in His presence, at the threshold of eternity, we make the decision for today. We must decide in this way: always looking to eternity, looking at Jesus. It may not be the easiest, it may not be the most immediate, but it will be the right one”.
This is how we must look at people who are the victims of “poverty into which they are often forced, victims of injustice and the inequality of a throwaway society that hurries past without seeing them and without scruple abandons them to their fate.”
“Unless our hope translates into decisions and concrete gestures of concern, justice, solidarity and care for our common home, the sufferings of the poor will not be relieved, the economy of waste that forces them to live on the margins will not be converted, their expectations will not blossom anew.”
Today, Francis noted, “it is as if the Church is saying: ‘Stop and sow hope amid poverty. Draw near to the poor and sow hope’. Hope for that person, your hope and the hope of the Church. This is what is asked of us: to be, amid the ruins of the everyday world, tireless builders of hope; to be light as the sun grows dark, to be loving witnesses of compassion amid widespread disinterest; to be an attentive presence amid growing indifference.”
As “Witnesses of compassion, [w]e will never be able to be good except by showing compassion. At most, we will do good things, but they do not touch the Christian way because they do not touch the heart. What touches the heart is compassion: we draw near, we feel compassion and we perform works of tender love. That is God’s way of doing things: closeness, compassion and tenderness. That is what is being asked of us today.”
The theme of this year’s World Day for the Poor, which was established after the Jubilee of Mercy, is inspired by Jesus when he said: “The poor you will always have with you” (Mark 14:7).
“And it is true: humanity progresses, develops, but the poor are always with us, there are always the poor, and in them Christ is present, Christ is present in the poor. The day before yesterday, in Assisi, we experienced a powerful moment of witness and prayer, which I invite you to repeat as it will do you good. And I am grateful for the many initiatives of solidarity that have been organised in dioceses and parishes throughout the world.”
Finally, “The cry of the poor, united with the cry of the Earth, resounded in recent days at the United Nations Climate Change Summit COP26 in Glasgow. I encourage all those with political and economic responsibilities to act now with courage and vision; at the same time, I invite all people of good will to exercise active citizenship for the care of the common home. To this end, today, World Day of the Poor, registration opens for the Laudato si' platform, which promotes integral ecology.”