Pope Francis talks about the Poor and what we do for them 06.04.20

Pope Francis: talks about the Poor and what we do for them 06.04.20

Pope Francis 06.04.20 Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae) John 12: 1-11

Holy Week - Lectionary Cycle II

But today I would like to dwell on one of Jesus' words. Six days before the Passover – we are right at the door of the Passion – and Mary makes this gesture of contemplation: Martha served – as the other step – and Mary opens the door to contemplation. And Judas thinks about money and thinks of the poor, but not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and because he kept the common purse, he took what they put in. This story of the unfaithful administrator is always a current one, there is always someone, even at a high level: let's think of some charities or humanitarian organizations that have so many employees, many, who have a structure with many people in it and in the end maybe forty percent actually reaches the poor, because sixty percent goes to pay the salary of so many people. It's a way of taking the poor people's money. But the answer is Jesus. And here I want to pause: "You always have the poor with you"." This is a truth: "The poor in fact you will always have them with you." The poor are there. There are many: there is the poor that we see, but this is the least part; the great quantity of the poor are those who we do not see: the hidden poor. And we do not see them because we enter into this culture of indifference that is denial: "No, no, there are not many, they are not seen; yes, that case ...", always diminishing the reality of the poor. But there are many, many.

Or even, if we do not enter into this culture of indifference, there is a habit of seeing the poor as ornaments of a city: yes, there they are, like statues; yes, there they are, we see them; yes, that old lady begging, that other... But as if it were a normal thing. It is part of the decoration of the city to have poor. But the vast majority are the poor victims of economic policies, of financial policies. Some recent statistics summarised: there is a lot of money in the hands of a few and so many people suffer poverty, many of them. And this is the poverty of so many people who are victims of the structural injustice of the world economy. And there are so many poor people who feel ashamed to reveal that they cannot get to the end of the month; many poor people of the middle class, who go secretly to Caritas and secretly ask and feel shame. There are many more poor than there are rich people; many, many ... And what Jesus says is true: "You always have the poor with you." Do I see them? Do I realize this reality? Especially of the hidden reality, those who feel embarrassed to say that they can't make it to the end of the month.

I remember in Buenos Aires I was told that there was an abandoned factory building, empty for years, that was inhabited by about fifteen families who had arrived in those last months. I went there. They were families with children and each had claimed part of the abandoned factory to live in. And, looking, I saw that every family had good furniture, furniture that was middle class, they had a television, but they went there because they couldn't pay the rent. The new poor who have to leave their home because they can't pay for it, they go there. It is the injustice of economic or financial organization that lead them to this point. And there are many, many, so many that we will meet them at the judgment. The first question Jesus will ask us is: "What did you do with the poor? Did you feed them? When they were in prison, did you visit them? Did you visit them in hospital? Did you help the widow, and the orphan? Because that's where I was." And we will be judged on that. We will not be judged on our luxuries or the travels we make or the our social importance. We will be judged regarding our relationship with the poor. But if I ignore the poor today, I leave them aside, I believe they are not there, the Lord will ignore me on the day of judgment. When Jesus says: "You always have the poor with you", he means: "I, I will always be with you in the poor. I will be there." And this is not being a communist, this is the centre of the Gospel: we will be judged on this.

This passage ends with an observation: "The chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him." The other day we saw the steps of temptation: the initial seduction, the illusion; then it grows – the second step; and the third, it grows and others becomes infected and then one justifies oneself. But there is another step: it goes on, it does not stop. For them it was not enough to put Jesus to death, but now even Lazarus, because he was a living witness.

I am thinking of a serious problem in many parts of the world. I would like us today to pray for the problem of overcrowding in prisons. Where there is overcrowding – so many people there – there is a danger, in this pandemic, that it will end in a serious calamity. We pray for those responsible, for those who have to make decisions regarding this, that they will find a fair and creative way to solve the problem.