Chapter 8

Chapter 8


Pope Francis

30.09.19 Holy Mass, Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)

Zechariah 8: 1-8

God's love for his people is like a burning flame. He said that notwithstanding the fact that His people betrayed Him and forgot about Him, His love is such that His promise of salvation continues to be offered to each and every one of us.

Zechariah 8: 1-8 "I am intensely jealous for Zion," and "I will return to Zion," the Lord, is telling us that thanks to His love, Jerusalem will live.

In this First Reading, the signs of the presence of the Lord with his people are clear. They are made evident by an abundance of life in families and in society: old men and women sitting in the streets, boys and girls playing.

When there is respect, care and love for life, this is a sign of God’s presence in our communities.

The presence of the elderly, is a sign of maturity. This is beautiful: "Old men and old women, each with staff in hand because of old age, shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem."

And so many children too, who bring with them a swarm of activity.

The abundance of elderly people and children. This is the sign that when a people care for the old and for the young, and consider them a treasure, there is the presence of God, a promise of future .

Joel's beloved prophecy: " Your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions". There is a reciprocal exchange between them, and that is something that does not happen when the culture of waste prevails.

A culture that sends children on their way back to the sender or that locks the elderly up in retirement homes because they are not productive and hinder us in our everyday lives.

My grandmother used to tell me about a family in which the father decided to move the grandfather of that family to eat alone in the kitchen during meal times because as he got older he would spill his soup and soil his clothes. But one day, the father came home to find his son building himself a little table because he assumed that sooner or later he too would be a victim of that same kind of isolation.

When you neglect children and the elderly, you end up being part of those modern societies who have given life to a demographic winter.

When a country grows old and there are no children, when you don't see children's prams on the streets and you don't see pregnant women : "A child, better not…". When you read that in that country there are more pensioners than workers, it's tragic!" And how many countries today are beginning to experience this demographic winter.

And when you neglect the old you lose the traditions, the tradition that is not a museum of old things, but lessons for the future, it is the juice of the roots that make the tree grow and bear flowers and fruits. It is a sterile society for both sides and so ends badly.

It is true, youth can be bought. Today there are many companies that offer it in the form of tricks, plastic surgery and facelifts, but it always ends in everything being ridiculous.

At the heart of God's message, is a culture of hope which is represented precisely by the old and the young. The elderly and the young, together. This is the sign that a people cherishes life, that there is a culture of hope: the care of the young and the elderly. They are the certainty of the survival of a country and of the Church.

During many of my journeys across the world, I have been struck by those parents who raise their children up to me when I pass by asking for a blessing, and do so as if to show their jewels, an image that must make us reflect.

And I never forget that old lady on the central square of Iasi, Romania, when she looked at me - she was like the Romanian grandmothers, with the veil - she looked at me, she had her grandson in her arms and showed me, as if saying: "This is my victory, this is my triumph". That image, which has been around the world, tells us more than this sermon. Therefore, God's love is always to sow love and grow people. Not a throwaway culture. I want to say, excuse me, to you pastors, when you examine your conscience in the evening, ask this: how did I behave with children and with the old today? He's going to help us.


Chapter 8


Pope Francis

01.10.13 Holy Mass Santa Marta

Luke 9: 51-56 Zechariah 8: 20-23

Jesus reprimands these two Apostles, James and John, because in a Samaritan village “they wanted fire to come down from heaven upon those who did not want to receive him”. The two apostles, felt that to close the door on Jesus was a great offense, and that these people needed to be punished. But “the Lord turned and rebuked them: this is not our spirit. In fact, The Lord always goes ahead, making the way of a Christian known to us. It is not... a path of revenge. The Christian spirit is something else, the Lord says. It is the spirit that he showed us in the strongest moment of his life, in his passion: a spirit of humility, a spirit of meekness.

And today, on the anniversary of St Therese of the Child Jesus, it is good for us to think of this spirit of humility, tenderness and goodness. We all want this meek spirit of the Lord. Where is the strength that brings us to this spirit? It is truly in love, in charity, in the awareness that we are in the hands of the Father. As we read at the beginning of Mass: the Lord carries us, he carries us on, he keeps us going. He is with us and he guides us.

Pope Francis recalled the strength of St Therese of the Child Jesus and her importance to the present day: “The Church has made this Saint — who was humble, small, confident in God, and meek — the Patroness of the missions. You don't understand this. The power of the Gospel is right there, because the Gospel reaches its highest point in the humiliation of Jesus... the strength of the Gospel is humility. The humility of a child who is guided by the love and tenderness of the Father”.

“The Church, as Benedict XVI has told us, grows by attraction, by witness. And when people, when peoples see this witness of humility, of meekness and docility, they feel the need” which the prophet Zechariah spoke of, saying: 'Let us go with you'. Faced with the witness of charity, people feel this need.... Charity is simple: worshiping God and serving others. This is the witness that makes the Church grow. “Precisely for this reason”, Pope Francis concluded, St Therese of the Child Jesus, who was “so humble and so trusting in God, has been named Patroness of the missions, because her example makes people say: we want to come with you.