A Catholic Monthly Magazine

It’s one thing to talk mercy, another to live it

Pope Francis used the text of Matthew 25:31 as the beginning point for discussing acts of mercy toward others:

What makes mercy come alive is its dynamism to meet the spiritual and material needs of others. Mercy has eyes to see, ears to listen, hands to help lift.

Sometimes we pass by dramatic situations of poverty and it seems that they do not touch us. We continue as if nothing happened, in an indifference which ultimately makes us hypocrites and without realising it, leads to a form of spiritual lethargy that numbs the soul and leaves life barren.

Those who have experienced mercy in their own lives cannot remain indifferent to the needs of our brothers. The teaching of the Lord Jesus does not allow for escape routes. ‘I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was naked, displaced, sick, in prison and you visited me.’

Source: Vatican Radio, 30 June 2016

Being Christian is a Mission

What is the spirit with which the disciple of Jesus will carry out this mission? First of all, the Christian must be aware of the difficult and sometimes hostile reality that awaits him; Jesus minces no words on that; in fact, Jesus says, ‘I am sending you like lambs among wolves.’

Hostility is always at the beginning of the persecution of Christians, because Jesus knows that the mission is opposed by the work of the Evil One. Thus the worker of the Gospel will strive to be free from human influences of every kind: carrying neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes – as recommended by Jesus – relying solely on the power of the Cross of Christ.

This means giving up all personal reason to boast, putting off every temptation to careerism or hunger for power. It means being humble instruments of the salvation worked by Jesus’ own sacrifice.

When we do this our heart is filled with joy.

This expression makes me think about how much the Church rejoices when her children receive the Good News by way of the dedication of so many men and women who daily proclaim the Gospel: priests – those good pastors that we all know; nuns, consecrated persons, missionary men and women. And I wonder how many of you hear the invitation, how many of you young people who now are present in the square today, hear and heed the Lord’s call to follow him?

Be not afraid! Be brave and bring to others this torch of apostolic zeal that has been left by so many exemplary disciples.

Source: Vatican Radio, 3 July 2016

The importance of hospitality

Before the recitation of the Angelus the Holy Father spoke of the importance of hospitality, calling it a real Christian virtue, but one which at times the world neglects. He drew his inspiration for this theme from the Sunday Gospel in which St Luke recounts the story of Jesus who is welcomed into the home of two sisters Martha and Mary.

They both offer their hospitality in different ways. Martha is busy preparing things while Mary stays to listen to Jesus’ words. When Martha protests that she has to do everything, Jesus reminds her that in order to welcome him many things are not necessary; indeed, only one thing is necessary, to listen to Jesus, show him a fraternal attitude, so he feels what it is like to be part of the family, and not in a temporary shelter.

There are many people in nursing homes and hospices, but it is not always the place where real hospitality is practiced. Several institutions that cater to many forms of illness, loneliness, and marginalisation are created, but the chance for those who are foreigners, marginalised, or excluded to find someone willing to listen, decreases.

People are so taken up with the pace of life, with big and small problems, that we do not take the time to listen to one another . Dedicate more time to listening because the root of peace is in the capacity to listen.

Source: Vatican Radio, 17 July 2016

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