18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
World Youth Day 2013 in Brazil has come and gone, and it seems to have been a huge success, with Pope Francis of course at the center of the festivities. We have posted on our parish website a few of the talks he gave with links to more if you would like to go beyond the news media coverage. Reactions, particularly to his free-wheeling press conference on the return trip, have been quite interesting, ranging from delight to dismay to disinterest. What I find striking is that Pope Francis is clearly calling for reform in the Church, while changing nothing of what we call ‘doctrine’. His words and most powerfully his example (e.g. visiting prisons and slums) are calling everyone to examine not so much what we believe, but how we live in response to that belief.I just want to share a brief excerpt from his words to those at the hospital he visited, which cares for those addicted to drugs and alcohol, one more example of his concern for the poor and those in need of healing
“To embrace, we all have to learn to embrace the one in need, as Saint Francis did. There are so many situations in Brazil, and throughout the world, that require attention, care and love, like the fight against chemical dependency. Often, instead, it is selfishness that prevails in our society. How many dealers of death there are that follow the logic of power and money at any cost! The scourge of drug-trafficking, that favors violence and sows the seeds of suffering and death, requires of society as a whole an act of courage. . . .
“To embrace someone is not enough, however. We must hold the hand of the one in need, of the one who has fallen into the darkness of dependency perhaps without even knowing how, and we must say to him or her: You can get up, you can stand up. It is difficult, but it is possible if you want to. Dear friends, I wish to say to each of you, but especially to all those others who have not had the courage to embark on our journey: You have to want to stand up; this is the indispensable condition! You will find an outstretched hand ready to help you, but no one is able to stand up in your place. But you are never alone! The Church and so many people are close to you. Look ahead with confidence. Yours is a long and difficult journey, but look ahead, there is a sure future, set against a different horizon with regard to the illusory enticements of the idols of this world, yet granting new momentum and strength to our daily lives (Lumen Fidei, 57). To all of you, I repeat: Do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! And not only that, but I say to us all: let us not rob others of hope, let us become bearers of hope!”
‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:40)