Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

7/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The face of Jesus is revealed in the face of the poor. The word of Jesus is spoken through the poor, for those who cultivate the ears to hear Him. The cry of Jesus is heard in the cry of the poor, at least for those who stop to listen to them, and receive them as a gift, as Francis showed us all.

Those who love the poor - like Jesus loved the poor- are given as a gift and instruction manual for the rest of us. They are a sign of the kingdom, making it present in their wake. This Pope Named Francis shows us that the faithful of the Shantytowns in Brazil can teach the world about solidarity. Have you ever considered the significance of the fact that the same Jesus who promised to be with us always also told us that the poor would be with us always? That is because they are connected.

Francis among the faithful in Varginha

Francis among the faithful in Varginha

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/27/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Rio, World Youth Day 2013, WYD 2013, Pope Francis, favelha, shantytown, solidarity, preferential option, love of preference, poor, poverty, Varginha, Deacon Keith Fournier


RIO de JANEIRO (Varginha) , Brazil (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis visited a favelha or shantytown named Varginha, outside of Rio, on Thursday, july 25, 2013. He again revealed the compassionate love of Jesus Christ. He walked among the people in the pouring rain.

He engaged them in sincere conversation, affirmed them with fatherly affection, dispensed blessings, prayed spontaneously, kissed over 100 babies and hugged all who sought to embrace him as a brother and father in the faith. Through it all, he offered that smile which has come to characterize the tenderness and sincerity of his papal ministry.

I was moved by the accounts - and by the beauty of the photos. I thought of the words of Jesus contained in the Gospel (Matt. 25: 31-46): "I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you gave me clothing; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison, and you visited me."

Remember the question posed by the Lord's disciples? "Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs." (Matthew 25.35-36) As I have aged I have come to see the many faces of poverty and I am learning to recognize the face of Jesus revealed in them all. However, this Pope named Francis saw Jesus in the faces of all whom he encountered in that Shantytown and his lesson drew me to repentance.

Have you ever considered the significance of the fact that the same Jesus who promised to be with us always also told us that the poor would be with us always? That is because they are connected. Indeed, in a sense, they are one and the same - in a way that is revealed with the eyes of living faith. "The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me" (Jesus, Matthew 26:11) "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Jesus, Matthew 28:20)

The face of Jesus is revealed in the face of the poor. The word of Jesus is spoken through the poor, for those who cultivate the ears to hear Him. The cry of Jesus is heard in the cry of the poor, at least for those who stop to listen to them, and receive them as a gift, as Francis showed us all. That is the deeper meaning behind the sobering scene recounting the last judgment recorded by the Evangelist Matthew in the 25th Chapter of his Gospel:

"Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

Those who love the poor - like Jesus loved the poor- are given as a gift and instruction manual for the rest of us. They are a sign of the kingdom, making it present in their wake. This Pope Named Francis shows us that the faithful of the Shantytowns in Brazil can teach the world about solidarity. 

Pope Francis gave a beautiful message which we offer in full below:

***** 

From Pope Francis
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is wonderful to be here with you! From the start, my wish in planning this visit to Brazil was to be able to visit every district throughout the nation. I would have liked to knock on every door, to say "good morning", to ask for a glass of cold water, to take a cafezinho, to speak as one would to family friends, to listen to each person pouring out his or her heart - parents, children, grandparents ... But Brazil is so vast! It is impossible to knock on every door! So I chose to come here, to visit your community, which today stands for every district in Brazil. How wonderful it is to be welcomed with such love, generosity, and joy! One need only look at the way you have decorated the streets of the community; this is a further mark of affection, it comes from your heart, from the heart of all Brazilians in festive mood. Many thanks to each of you for this kind welcome! And I thank Archbishop Orani Tempesta as well as Rangler and Joana for their kind words.

1. From the moment I first set foot on Brazilian soil, right up to this meeting here with you, I have been made to feel welcome. And it is important to be able to make people welcome; this is something even more beautiful than any kind of ornament or decoration. I say this because when we are generous in welcoming people and sharing something with them - some food, a place in our homes, our time - not only do we no longer remain poor: we are enriched. I am well aware that when someone needing food knocks at your door, you always find a way of sharing food; as the proverb says, one can always "add more water to the beans"! And you do so with love, demonstrating that true riches consist not in material things, but in the heart!

And the Brazilian people, particularly the humblest among you, can offer the world a valuable lesson in solidarity, a word that is too often forgotten or silenced, because it is uncomfortable. I would like to make an appeal to those in possession of greater resources, to public authorities and to all people of good will who are working for social justice: never tire of working for a more just world, marked by greater solidarity! No one can remain insensitive to the inequalities that persist in the world! Everybody, according to his or her particular opportunities and responsibilities, should be able to make a personal contribution to putting an end to so many social injustices. The culture of selfishness and individualism that often prevails in our society is not what builds up and leads to a more habitable world: it is the culture of solidarity that does so, seeing others not as rivals or statistics, but brothers and sisters.

I would like to encourage the efforts that Brazilian society is making to integrate all its members, including those who suffer most and are in greatest need, through the fight against hunger and deprivation. No amount of "peace-building" will be able to last, nor will harmony and happiness be attained in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins or excludes a part of itself. A society of that kind simply impoverishes itself, it loses something essential. Let us always remember this: only when we are able to share do we become truly rich; everything that is shared is multiplied! The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty!

2. I would also like to tell you that the Church, the "advocate of justice and defender of the poor in the face of intolerable social and economic inequalities which cry to heaven" (Aparecida Document, 395), wishes to offer her support for every initiative that can signify genuine development for every person and for the whole person. Dear friends, it is certainly necessary to give bread to the hungry - this is an act of justice. But there is also a deeper hunger, the hunger for a happiness that only God can satisfy. There is neither real promotion of the common good nor real human development when there is ignorance of the fundamental pillars that govern a nation, its non-material goods: life, which is a gift of God, a value always to be protected and promoted; the family, the foundation of coexistence and a remedy against social fragmentation; integral education, which cannot be reduced to the mere transmission of information for purposes of generating profit; health, which must seek the integral well-being of the person, including the spiritual dimension, essential for human balance and healthy coexistence; security, in the conviction that violence can be overcome only by changing human hearts.

I would like to add one final point. Here, as in the whole of Brazil, there are many young people. Dear young friends, you have a particular sensitivity towards injustice, but you are often disappointed by facts that speak of corruption on the part of people who put their own interests before the common good. To you and to all, I repeat: never yield to discouragement, do not lose trust, do not allow your hope to be extinguished. Situations can change, people can change. Be the first to seek to bring good, do not grow accustomed to evil, but defeat it. The Church is with you, bringing you the precious good of faith, bringing Jesus Christ, who "came that they may have life and have it abundantly" (Jn 10:10).

Today, to all of you, especially to the residents of this Community of Varginha, I say: you are not alone, the Church is with you, the Pope is with you. I carry each of you in my heart and I make my own the intentions that you carry deep within you: thanksgiving for joys, pleas for help in times of difficulty, a desire for consolation in times of grief and suffering. I entrust all this to the intercession of Our Lady of Aparecida, Mother of all the poor of Brazil, and with great affection I impart my blessing.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention:
That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.



Comments


More Americas

Is the Cold War over? Congress pushes for end of restrictions on travel with Cuba Watch

Image of President Barack Obama and President Raul Castro have been working together to normalize relations between the United States and Cuba.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama's inroads into warming relations between the United States and Cuba is being supported by a bipartisan group of Senators, who on Thursday unveiled a bill that would end travel restrictions for Americans who wish to visit Cuba. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Castro making demands: Won't budge an inch on Cuban sovereignty in opening relations to U.S. Watch

Image of

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Cuban President Raul Castro, brother of longtime dictator Fidel Castro appears to welcome normalizing U.S. relations. His compatriots wish to end the isolation that was visited upon the Caribbean nation since the communists took over in the 1950s. However - ... continue reading


IT'S MINE! Traders, tycoons and miners all vying for possession of Brazil's 180,000-carat Bahia Emerald Watch

Image of For the time being, the gem is now held in an undisclosed Sheriff's Department location.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ever since human eyes laid upon it in 2001, Brazil's Bahia Emerald has been caught in an ongoing tug of war between those who say the gem is rightfully theirs. Landing in an L.A. County sheriff's locker, the 180,000-carat, 840-pound behemoth has been the ... continue reading


THE RISE OF WOMEN: Negotiations between the U.S. and Cuba begin with two influential women leading the way Watch

Image of Jacobson and Vidal cover everything from human rights to tourist travels during the beginning of negotiations between Cuba and the U.S.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Obama recently loosened the embargo the United States has with Cuba. Now the next step is to negotiate and work towards less hostility and normalizing the relationship between the two countries. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the base of these ... continue reading


Murderous gang violence plagues El Salvador every day with no end in sight, ambitious new plan offers hope Watch

Image of Gangs run the streets in El Salvador, often leaving people terrified to be out at night.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

412 people were murdered in El Salvador during December 2014. A total of 3,942 murders occurred last year in what is now the most dangerous country in the world. A 57 percent increase than those killed in 2013. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Violent gangs have ... continue reading


AMAZING discovery - mummy mask contains fragment of the Gospel of Mark Watch

Image of A fragment of the Gospel of Mark has been found used in the mask, making it the oldest known example of Holy Scripture yet found.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A mask is frequently used to conceal an identity. This is certainly the case of a mask used to cover up a mummy. A fragment of the Gospel of Mark has been found used in the mask, making it the oldest known example of Holy Scripture yet found. Created before 90 ... continue reading


A good or bad idea? Under the Obama administration, U.S. softens embargo with Cuba Watch

Image of Cuban flags fly high as embargo is loosened.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The relationship between the United States and Cuba will soon change as the Obama administration begins to slowly erase the 1962 U.S. embargo against Cuba. An increased amount of travel and trading between the two countries will open up. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Five years later Haiti still tragically suffers from 2010's earthquake: Where did $13.5 billion dollars in relief funds go? Watch

Image of Much of Haiti remains devastated after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in 2010, despite raising $13.5 dollars in relief funds.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake rattled Haiti in 2010 destroying nearly everything, and leaving 220,000 people dead and 300,000 injured. The entire world was shaken by this disaster; 13.5 billion dollars in donations and pledges was raised to help the country recover. LOS ... continue reading


CANNIBAL RITUAL: Mexican cartel members forced to eat human hearts Watch

Image of Arguably the country's most horrific organized crime gang, Michoacan state suffers daily from ongoing battles between rival factions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Decapitating and ripping apart their still-living victims, the dreaded Knights Templar Mexican drug cartel forced members to devour the hearts of its enemies. The Knights Templar, reigning over Michoacan state, has kept the region in its iron grip by armed ... continue reading


Brazil looks forward to 2016 Olympics, but should their government be looking closer to home? Watch

Image of Brazil's drug trade primarily is based on cocaine and marijuana, and many slums in the cities are devoted and run to the drug trafficking gangs.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Vila Alianca, an unofficial section of Rio de Jeneiro,  is an enclave of violence and organized crime, and one of the regions that the Brazilian government has not decided to try to pacify prior to their hosting of the 2016 Olympics. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
1 Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope ... Read More

Psalm, Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
69 and he has established for us a saving power in ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 4:35-41
35 With the coming of evening that same day, he said ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 31st, 2015 Image

St. John Bosco
January 31: What do dreams have to with prayer? Aren't they just random ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter