Pope: World Day a 'warning' to listen to the 'cry of pain' of the poor
In his homily, the pope urges action in the face of a "cruel" Third World War. And he warns against being lured by magicians, populist plotters and defeatists. At the Angelus he recalled the launch of the Laudato Sì platform and the ongoing Cop27 in Egypt, which must ensure "steps forward" in the wake of the Paris Agreement. The theme of "perseverance" in the good.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - On this World Day of the Poor, the word of Jesus is a "strong warning" to break the "inner deafness" that prevents us from hearing the "stifled cry of pain of the weakest." This is what Pope Francis emphasized in his homily at Mass celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Basilica for the sixth day dedicated to the last, the marginalized, the suffering who live "in the dark corners of our cities."
If human history is studded with "dramatic events" including the pandemic and "this third world war" that is being waged before our eyes, the pontiff recalled in the Eucharistic celebration attended by the homeless and people in a state of destitution, all of this "is not a good reason to let ourselves be paralyzed by fear or give in to defeatism."
Or worse, to "read the most dramatic facts in a superstitious or catastrophic way, as if we were close to the end of the world" or relying "with morbid curiosity" on "the fictions of magicians or horoscopes." And again, "to fanciful theories propounded by some last-minute 'messiah', usually always defeatist and conspiratorial."
Marking the World Day of the Poor, the Vatican has promoted a series of initiatives including the payment of gas and electricity bills for the most needy and the distribution of food parcels to 5 thousand needy families. As announced by the Dicastery for Evangelization, the poor and needy who receive aid and support from charitable agencies of the Holy See are invited to the Mass.
This will be followed by lunch in the Paul VI Hall, in the presence of some 1,300 poor who will benefit from a festive menu. Among the most appreciated activities, and again operational after the Covid-19 emergency, is the health presidium in St. Peter's Square that offers free checkups and examinations, vaccinations and tests thanks also to the availability of doctors and nurses.
In his homily, the pope recalled that "we live in wounded societies and we witness, just as the Gospel told us, scenarios of violence, injustice and persecution." Among the crises he recalled climate change and Covid-19, which "has left behind a trail of discomfort not only physical, but also psychological, economic and social." Then there are conflicts, the "doom of war" (today he speaks of World War III "so cruel," no longer as in the past of World War III "in pieces") that "multiplies the poison of hatred."
Finally, the "lack of employment or because of unjust or unworthy working conditions." "If our hearts are muffled and indifferent, we fail to hear their feeble cry of pain, [...] to see how much loneliness and anguish," the pontiff warned, "lurk even in the forgotten corners of our cities.
Faced with the many critical issues, Francis asks "what is the Lord saying to us?" In response, he urges us to "question ourselves in the face of so many calamities" by making our own "the Gospel's strong and clear invitation not to be deceived. Let us not listen to the prophets of doom; let us not be enchanted by the sirens of populism, which instrumentalizes the needs of the people by proposing solutions that are too easy and hasty."
On the contrary, it is urgent that we bear "witness" by kindling "lights of hope in the midst of darkness," bearing witness to the Gospel of joy and building a more fraternal world, and committing ourselves "courageously to justice, legality and peace, standing by the side of the weakest." We do not run away to defend ourselves from history or to leave behind the darkness, he affirmed once again in his homily, but "we struggle to give this history a different face" because "not even a hair on your head," meaning no human being "will be lost."
At noon, the pope recited the Angelus, followed by a greeting to pilgrims gathered in a packed St. Peter's Square and in which he recalled the first anniversary of the launch of the "Laudato sì" platform, joined so far by 6,000 participants, An "excellent start," he stressed, "for a seven-year journey" and one that aims to respond to the "cry of the earth and the poor," while encouraging "a crucial mission" for the future of humanity. The pope then turned his thoughts to Cop27, the UN climate conference being held in Egypt, which must ensure "steps forward" under the banner of courage and determination "in the wake of the climate agreement." Following this, he renewed his call for prayer and peace for the "brothers and sisters of the tormented Ukraine" where even today "peace is possible."
Earlier, in introducing the Marian prayer, the pontiff delved into the Gospel passage insisting on "perseverance" which is the way "to remain in the good." The Gospel leads to Jerusalem, the holy place, where the temple stands that is magnified but Jesus warns that not a stone will remain of it. His intent, however, is "not to be negative, but to provide valuable teaching" that is also a way out of "precariousness."
"Perseverance," he says, "is to build goodness every day, to remain constant in goodness, especially when reality pushes us to do something else. We have nothing to fear, not even in the evil "around us," the pope concludes, because we remain "grounded in the good. Dostoevsky wrote 'do not be afraid of man's sins, love man even with his sin, for this is the reflection of God's love and the culmination of love on earth.'"