Pope Francis has today urged Christians to fill their ‘hearts with hope’ and to focus on acts of ‘respect and generosity’ during this time as ‘evil seems to reign supreme’.
In a message delivered today for the 4th World Day of the Poor, which will be celebrated November 15, the pope said: ‘Bad news fills the pages of newspapers, websites and television screens, to the point that evil seems to reign supreme.
‘But that is not the case. To be sure, malice and violence, abuse and corruption abound, but life is interwoven too with acts of respect and generosity that not only compensate for evil, but inspire us to take an extra step and fill our hearts with hope.
He added that the restrictions placed upon the population during the pandemic have made people ‘feel poorer and less self-sufficient because we have come to sense our limitations and the restriction of our freedom.’
Pope Francis then turned the spotlight onto those experiencing long term poverty, he said: ‘This pandemic arrived suddenly and caught us unprepared, sparking a powerful sense of bewilderment and helplessness.
‘Yet hands never stopped reaching out to the poor. This has made us all the more aware of the presence of the poor in our midst and their need for help.
‘Structures of charity, works of mercy, cannot be improvised. Constant organization and training is needed, based on the realization of our own need for an outstretched hand.’
He said the loss of jobs along with the chance to spend more time with loved ones ‘suddenly opened our eyes to horizons that we have long since taken for granted,’ and that the period of lockdown allowed many to rediscover ‘the importance of simplicity, and of keeping our eyes fixed on the essentials.’
Pope Francis drew links between social responsibility and the current crises we are facing.
Protests paying tribute to George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died during an arrest on May 25, have been seen across the world this weekend including in Paris, Tokyo, Auckland, Prague, Czech Republic, Lausanne, Switzerland and Breda, the Netherlands.
He concluded: ‘In a word, until we revive our sense of responsibility for our neighbour and for every person, grave economic, financial and political crises will continue. ‘
Today the Pope led a traditional Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) feast Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, with a limited, socially distanced congregation.