In his weekly public audience this morning, Pope Francis decried the poverty plaguing families around the world.
During the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, the Holy Father said the next series of catecheses beginning with today's will reflect on the vulnerabilities of the family, "in the conditions of life that puts them to the test."
The trial to be explored today, he noted, is poverty. "Let us think of the many families who populate the outskirts of the megacities, but also the rural areas...How much poverty, how much degradation!"
To make matters worse, he underscored, wars take place, affecting the civilian populations, the families. "War is always a terrible thing ... War is truly 'the mother of all poverty,' it impoverishes the family, a great predator of life, of souls, and affects the most sacred and dearest ones," he said.
He lauded those families who even while enduring the greatest struggles, particularly those in war-torn areas, carry on with dignity. They are able to do this, the Pope noted, through trusting in the Lord.
"This lesson, however, should not justify our indifference, but rather increase our shame!" he said.
Francis went on to criticize those who consider family bonds to be secondary or unimportant to quality of life. “They do not understand anything!" he said. "Instead, we should kneel before these families, who are a true school of humanity that saves societies from barbarism.”
Today’s economies often promote individual well-being at the expense of the family, the Pope suggested.
“This is a serious contradiction! The immense work of the family is not quoted in financial statements, naturally! In fact, economy and politics are stingy with acknowledgements in this regard. Yet, the interior formation of the person and social circulation of affections have their pillar precisely there. If you take it away, it all comes down.”
“It is not just a matter of bread,” he said.
The Holy Father commented on the touching images of sick and malnourished children, who despite the odds, continue to study in schools "proudly showing their pencils and notebooks." "Children truly know that man does not live on bread alone!" Francis observed.
When there is poverty, children suffer, he said, "because they want love, the family bond." The Jesuit Pope noted that social poverty at times can destroy the family, pointing out how much families, in which parents are unemployed, suffer.
“We Christians should always be closer to the families tested by poverty," Francis urged.
Concluding his address, Pope Francis said that the Church, as a 'mother,' must never forget Her children, particularly through action and prayer. "Let us pray intensely to the Lord, that He shakes us, to make our Christian families protagonists of this revolution of family closeness, which is so necessary now!" he said.
“The path of our redemption is a path of many failures. Even that last one, that of the cross, is one of scandal. But it is precisely there where love conquers.”
This was the reflection given by Pope Francis during his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today.
The Holy Father reflected on today’s Gospel from St. Mark, in which Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard owner’s son who was killed by the tenants when trying to obtain the fruits of the vineyard.
“Have you not read this Scripture passage: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes?’” Jesus says.
The Pope said that while the story seems to be a failure, it is in fact of history of love between God and his people. Recalling Jesus’ parable, the Holy Father said that it is precisely in that death where everyone finds life.
“The prophets, the men of God who spoke to the people, who have not been heard, who have been discarded, will be his glory,” he said. “The Son, the last one sent, who Himself has been discarded, judged, unheard and killed, has become the cornerstone. This history, that begins with a dream of love, and that seems to be a story of love, but then seems to end in a story of failure, ends with the great love of God who brings forth salvation from what is discarded; from His discarded Son, He saves us all.”
The 78 year old Pontiff said that the Bible contains countless events in history that show God’s love, despite the disobedience and rebelliousness of his people.
“The path of our redemption is a path of many failures. Even that last one, that of the cross, is one of scandal. But it is precisely there where love conquers. And that story that begins with a dream of love and continues with a history of failure, ends with the victory of love: the cross of Jesus.”
The Pope called on the faithful to not forget this difficult path by examining one’s conscience.
“If each one of us does an examination of conscience, we will see how many times, how many times the prophets have been cast aside. How many times we have said to Jesus: ‘Go away’, how many times we wanted to save ourselves, how many times we thought we were the just ones.”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis encouraged those present to remember this history of love. This memory, he said, is “of that seed of the love that God has planted in us and how it has gone, and to do the same that Jesus did in our name: He humbled Himself.”
This is a modest effort at a "blog" my attempt to offer some brief reflections each day that come from various sources that I find interesting - primarily the daily reflections of Pope Francis as found on Zenit and Rome Reports. Fr. John