POPE: SEEK THE FACE OF GOD IN THE POOR, SICK, ABANDONED AND FOREIGNERS – LOURDES: CARDINAL PAROLIN TO CELEBRATE MASS ON 15 AUGUST

Because he is on a “working” holiday in the Vatican in July, for the second consecutive Wednesday, Pope Francis did not preside at a general audience. He did say a special Mass in the residence chapel as you will see.

POPE: SEEK THE FACE OF GOD IN THE POOR, SICK, ABANDONED AND FOREIGNERS

Pope Francis on Wednesday urged Christians to discover the face of Jesus in the migrants, refugees and the displaced who are forced to flee because of the many injustices that still afflict our world today.

By Vatican News

Celebrating a Mass in the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta chapel, to commemorate the 7th anniversary of his visit to the migrants in the Italian island of Lampedusa, the Pope recalled the words of Jesus: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”.  He said this warning, for better or for worse, is a burning issue today.

The July 8, 2013 visit of the Pope to the Mediterranean island was the first of his pontificate after his election on March 13 of the same year.  During the visit, he threw a floral wreath in the sea in memory of some 20,000 migrants who died while trying to cross the Mediterranean.  He briefly met and spoke to some young African migrants before celebrating an open-air Mass. (July 2013 – vaticanmedia)

The visit is highly symbolic of the pontificate of the Argentine Pope who wants the Church to be an inclusive one that goes forth to the peripheries, to include all, leaving no one out.

Seeking God’s face in others
Noting that the day’s psalm speaks about seeking the face of God, the Pope said that this fundamental attitude is the ultimate goal of all the faithful.

In this regard, the Prophet Hosea in the first reading, speaks about how the people of Israel had drifted away from the Lord because of abundance, prosperity and riches which filled their heart with falsehood and injustice, “a sin, from which even we, modern Christians, are not immune.”

Globalization of indifference
Recalling his homily of 7 years ago in Lampedusa, the Pope said that the “culture of comfort, makes us think only of ourselves, makes us insensitive to the cries of other people.”  It creates a fleeting and empty illusion, leading to indifference to others, even to the globalization of indifference.  “We have become used to the suffering of others: it doesn’t affect me; it doesn’t concern me; it’s none of my business!” the Pope said.

“Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety,” the Pope said echoing the call of Hosea to conversion.

Personal encounter entails mission
Seeking the face of the Lord, the Holy Father said, entails the desire for a personal encounter with the Lord, just as it happened with the twelve apostles, as narrated in the day’s Gospel.  This personal encounter with the Lord, which is a time of grace and salvation, “immediately entails a mission” – to proclaim that, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  “Encounter and mission,” he stressed, “cannot be separated.”

“Whatever you did… you did for me”
This mission, the Pope said, is also for the disciples of the third millennium.  “As we undertake to seek the face of the Lord, we may recognize Him in the face of the poor, the sick, the abandoned, and the foreigners whom God places on our way.”

Recalling the words of Jesus, “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me,” the Pope said, “the encounter with the other is also an encounter with Christ.” “It is He who knocks on our door, hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, imprisoned, seeking an encounter with us and requesting our assistance.”

Pope Francis urged Christians to use the words of Jesus as a fundamental element to examine our conscience on a daily basis.  In this regard, he thought of the detention camps in Libya, “the abuses and violence that migrants are victims of, journeys of hope, rescue operations, and push-backs.”

“Distilled” version
The Holy Father remembered meeting a migrant during his visit to Lampedusa, who narrated at length the “terrible things” they suffered to get there, but the interpreter was very brief.  When the Pope got back home that afternoon, the lady receptionist, a daughter of Ethiopian parents who followed the conversation on television, said the Ethiopian interpreter didn’t even convey a fourth of the torture and suffering the migrants went through.  What was interpreted, the Pope remarked, was a “distilled” version of the real story.

This is what is happening with Libya today, the Holy Father said.  “They give us a ‘distilled’ version. “We know the war is bad but you can’t imagine the hell that one goes through there, in those detention camps.” The Pope said, “these people were only coming with the hope and crossing the sea.”

The Pope concluded, urging the Virgin Mary, under the title, “Solace or Comfort of Migrants,” to help Christians to “discover the face of Her Son in all our brothers and sisters who are forced to flee from their homeland because of the many injustices that still afflict our world today.”

(The press office released the Pope’s homily in the original Italian as well as English, French and Spanish: http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/it/bollettino/pubblico/2020/07/08/0377/00867.html)

LOURDES: CARDINAL PAROLIN TO CELEBRATE MASS ON 15 AUGUST

At the invitation of the organizers of the national pilgrimage, Cardinal Pietro Parolin will travel to the shrine at Lourdes, France to preside over Mass for the Feast of the Assumption on August 15.

By Vatican News

The cardinal had been invited to the shrine before the coronavirus outbreak, and his attendance was confirmed on Monday.

Due to restrictions related to the pandemic, this year’s national pilgrimage will take place without the presence of the faithful who are sick. They are, however, being invited to unite spiritually with the event and to follow the Mass online.

In spite of the altered programme, the Vatican Secretary of State is making the trip to support the Marian Shrine, which has been particularly affected by the current health crisis.

It will also be the first official visit outside Italy by a senior member of the Curia since the pandemic began. Before arriving at Lourdes, Cardinal Parolin is expected to make a stop at the city of Ars, the town of the Cure d’Ars, St. Jean Vianney.

This is the Cardinal’s third visit to Lourdes since becoming Vatican Secretary of State. In 2017 he visited the shrine as Pope Francis’ representative for the World Day of the Sick and in 2018 for the St. Francis de Sales Days.