Pope Francis Talks about serving the Poor and Coronavirus 28.03.20

Pope Francis Talks about serving the Poor and Coronavirus 28.03.20

Pope Francis 28.03.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae) John 7: 40-53

Saturday of the 4th Week of Lent - Lectionary Cycle II

"Everyone one went to their own home" (John. 7.53) : after the discussion and all of that, everyone returned to their own convictions. There is a rift in the people: the people who follow Jesus listen to Him - they do not notice the long time they spend listening to Him, because the Word of Jesus enters their heart - and the group of doctors of the Law who reject Jesus because He does not follow the law, according to them. These are two different groups of people. The people who love Jesus and follow him and the group of intellectuals of the Law, the leaders of Israel, the leaders of the people. This is clear when the guards came back to the chief priests and said, "Why didn't you bring Him here?" the guards replied, "Never has a anyone spoken like Him." But the Pharisees replied to them: "Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd who do not know the Law are dammed" (John. 7:45-49). This group of doctors of the Law, the elite, despise Jesus. But they also despise the people, those people, who are ignorant, who know nothing. The holy faithful people of God believe in Jesus, they follow Him, and this group of elites, the doctors of the Law, detach themselves from the people and do not welcome Jesus. But why, if they were illustrious, intelligent, they had studied? But they had a great flaw: they had forgotten their own belonging to a people.The people of God follow Jesus ... they can't explain why, but they follows Him and welcome Him to their hearts, and they don't tire at that. Let us think about the day of the multiplication of the loaves: they have been all day with Jesus, to the point that the apostles say to Jesus: "Dismiss them, so that they can go away to buy food" (See Mark 6.36). Even the apostles distanced themselves, they did not consider, they did not despise, but they did not consider the people of God. "Let them go and eat." Jesus' answer: "You give them food" (CFR. Mark: 6.37). He brings them back to the people.

This rift between the elite of religious leaders and the people is a drama that comes from a long time ago. Let's also think, about the Old Testament, of the behaviour of Eli's sons in the temple: perhaps some of them were a little atheistic they saw the people as superstitious. They despised the people. The people were despised because they were not educated like us, we who have studied, who know .... Instead, the people of God have a great grace: the sniff. They knew how to sniff out where the Holy Spirit was. They were sinners, like us: they were sinners. But they had a sense of knowing the path to salvation.

The problem of the elites, of elite clerics like these, is that they had lost the memory of their belonging to God's people; they were sophisticated, they had moved to another social class, they felt authoritative. This is clericalism, which we see there. "But why – I have heard these days – why do these sisters, these priests who are healthy why do they go to the poor to feed them, and they can get the coronavirus? But tell the superior mother that you will not let the sisters out, tell the bishop that not to let the priests out! They are for the sacraments! But it is for the government to provide food!" This is what we are saying these days: the same theme. "The second-class people: we're the upper class, we don't have to get our hands dirty with the poor."

Many times I think: there are good people – priests, sisters – who do not have the courage to go and serve the poor. Something's missing. The same thing that the doctors of the law lacked. They have lost their memory, they have lost what Jesus felt in His heart: that He was a part of His people. They have lost the memory of what God said to David: "I have taken you from the flock." They have lost the memory of their belonging to the flock.

And so each one, each returned to their own home (cf. John: 7.53). A rift. Nicodemus, who saw something – he was a restless man, perhaps not so brave, too diplomatic, but restless – went to Jesus then, but he was as faithful as he could be; he tried to mediate: "Does our Law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?" (John 7.51). They answered him; but they did not answer the question about the Law: "Are you from Galilee also? Go into the matter and see for yourself. Prophets do not come from Galilee" (John 7.52). And so the story ended.

Let us also think today of so many men and women who are qualified in the service of God who are good and go to serve the people; so many priests who do not separate themselves from the people. The day before yesterday I received a photograph of a priest, a mountain parish priest, of many villages, in a place where it snows, and in the snow he brought the ostensorium to the small villages to give the blessing. He did not care about the snow, he did not care about the burning that the cold made him feel in his hands in contact with the metal of the ostensorium: he only cared about bringing Jesus to the people.

Let us think, each of us, which side we are on, if we are in the middle, a little undecided, if we are among the faithful people of God, with the faithful people of God who cannot fail: they have that infallibility of people who believe. And let us think of the elite who separate themselves from the people of God, with a form of clericalism. And perhaps it will be good for us all; the counsel that Paul gave to his disciple, the bishop, young bishop, Timothy: "Remember your mother and your grandmother" (See 2 Tim. 1.5) Remember your mother and grandmother. If Paul advised this, it was because he knew well the danger of where this sense of elitism leads.