VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The unborn, migrants, the elderly and the disabled are “living icons” of Jesus that call Christians to draw close to those who feel abandoned just as Christ did on the cross, Pope Francis said.
In his homily for Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square April 2, the pope reflected on the phrase Jesus uttered on the cross in St. Matthew’s Gospel, and which echoed through the square when sung in the responsorial psalm: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
“Christ, in his abandonment, stirs us to seek him and to love him and those who are themselves abandoned, for in them we see not only people in need, but Jesus himself,” he said.
According to the Vatican gendarmes, some 60,000 people were present in St. Peter’s Square for the Mass.
Fighting off coughs as he began his homily but otherwise speaking without difficulty, Pope Francis said that in his Passion, Jesus experienced the distance of God so he could be “completely and definitively one” with humanity.
The pope was released from the hospital April 1 after a four-day stay for treatment of bronchitis. He processed into St. Peter’s Square on the popemobile wearing his winter coat on an early spring day in Rome.
In his homily, Pope Francis highlighted the many “abandoned Christs” that exist in society: “the poor who live on our streets and that we don’t have the courage to look at, migrants who are no longer faces but numbers.”
He also recalled those who are “discarded with white gloves: unborn children, the elderly left alone, who could be your mom or dad,” as well as the “sick whom no one visits, the disabled who are ignored, and the young burdened by great interior emptiness with no one prepared to listen to their cry of pain and who don’t find another path but suicide.”
Putting his prepared text aside, Pope Francis remembered Burkhard Scheffler, a German homeless man who died in November “alone and abandoned” under the colonnade that surrounds St. Peter’s Square.
“He is Jesus to each one of us,” said the pope.
“So many are in need of our watch, so many are abandoned,” he said. “I also need Jesus to caress me, to come close to me, and that’s why I go to find him in the abandoned, in those who are alone.”
At the beginning of the celebration, Pope Francis stood at the obelisk in the center of St. Peter’s Square to bless the palms carried there by some 400 people. He then proceeded to the altar by car.
The pope delivered the homily after listening to the account of Jesus’ Passion from St. Matthew’s Gospel, but Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, vice dean of the College of Cardinals, was the main celebrant at the altar.
After Mass, the pope prayed the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter’s Square and thanked them for their prayers that “have intensified in the past days.”
“Thank you, truly,” he said.
By Justin McLellan | Catholic News Service
2 thoughts on “Pope says be close to those ‘abandoned’ like Christ: unborn, migrants”
Children who abandon their parents are a disgrace, especially if their parents were decent people. There’s no excuse for that, that I know of. Some may argue that they are just stupid children, but that stupid?
Mike, let me walk next to you in that frustration.
I’m going to say thank you for reminding me of the work Christ has in me to live up to my ability, with the fathers grace through prayer and fasting, to pray for those first who are missing the mark on what incredible opportunities we have these experiences God has set before us.
Often I do sound emotional and say the wrong thing with anger because we all want the same things. We desire most, even if we don’t know it, every opportunity we have here the Father has gifted us to know love as he intended.
Of course, he can intercede on behalf of those and often does.
I sometimes imaging the pain he must feel being omnipresent, yet the enduring, everlasting power in him to yield patience, as he knows the joy we will have when we walk with him and truly live up to the ability and intelligence he created us with.
Please pray for me that I first remember that anger is a secondary emotion for me, after I feel pain in knowing I too, have missed these opportunities.
I’m angry with others, to cover the pain I feel, and shame, I have placed my time in empty things.
Father help us pray first for those who do neglect, abuse, and harm others. Its wisdom to know that deep down, they may be afraid to change to avoid that kind of pain in admitting it.
Through the Father, we can reduce harm by asking for intercession first for those who harm the most.
Dear father, I pray that others will join me in this prayer to intercede in the behavior of bodies and minds without your quality to appeal to the heart you have gifted those who are harming others. Father I pray for the wisdom for all people to know the deep pain they must have, and to know our part in becoming angry, that may also influence if they chose to confront the things we know they regret but struggle with, that our sin in lack of restraint in showing anger is harmful and may also lead to a part in why we struggle to make meaning full change.
Give us new ways to know you and creative ways to both offer support and love to those who abuse, and those who care for them.
The pain of both hands Is qually painful to me.
Help me Father to first help my own sin through you, and know how even sin to the worst of us, is equal in measure to the best of us. Although I do not understand, I often am persuaded by my peers, and also know there are things not even the closest of your servants knows.
I pray Father for more guidance, to bring a movement of prayer for the healing of pain, for those who have harmed others, in any stage of regret or awareness.
I trust in my discernment you will guide us in this path.
Thank you Father! Your healing and love is enough to measure each heart up full!
May no one need to be reminded, or fear anyone who has harmed another. May the gift of your strength and spirit pierce the veil of the mind, and bring up each heart as brothers and sisters!