Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

7/27/2013 (2 years 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 (2 years 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'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Americas

A MIRACLE? Virgin Mary statue with single red tear sparks mass pilgrimage Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Images of a Virgin Mary statue with a single red 'tear' streaming down her face has spread rampant through social media prompting hundreds of pilgrims to visit the statue in Columbia. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The statue located in Floridablanca, Columbia is ... continue reading


Venezuela's collapse is a warning to Americans enamored with socialism Watch

Image of Socialism is a quick way to go hungry.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The world is hardly paying attention, but the nation of Venezuela is in full-collapse. Its economy has imploded, and its politics are in turmoil. The nation is beset with shortages of critical goods, and the beer supply has run out. Soldiers patrol the streets, tasked ... continue reading


EQUALITY: Sex-crazed Olympians will receive and use 350,000 male condoms and 100,000 female condoms! Watch

Image of Olympic athletes have been encouraged to practice safe sex in Rio de Janeiro (Sify).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a shocking move, Olympic organizers have decided to distribute 450,000 condoms to athletes participating in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Under the ruse of "equality," the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided ... continue reading


Prayer and hugging banned in Colombia Watch

Image of Colombia stuns the world when it announces a prayer and hugging ban (docakilah/Wordpress).

By Walter Snchez Silva (CNA)

In what's been labeled an "absurd" move, a judge in Colombia has banned prayer and "fraternal hugs" at the start of Cartagena city council sessions as well as local educational institutions. Cartagena, Colombia (CNA) - The ban on civic prayer - as well as the baffling ... continue reading


Student discovers lost Mayan city, but archaeologists insist it's not there. Isn't that the point of a lost city? Watch

Image of William Gadoury, thought he discovered a lost Mayan city, but archaeologists say no.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The story of a teen who found a lost Maya city may not be so remarkable after all, as experts studying the claim find that it doesn't hold up under scrutiny. While the teen certainly had good intentions, his lost city may be nothing more than fallow fields. LOS ... continue reading


'El Chapo' transferred - Will he escape again? Watch

Image of El Chapo has been transferred to a prison in Juarez, near the US border (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Notorious drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán has been transferred from Altiplano, a maximum-security prison in Central Mexico, to a prison in Ciudad Juarez. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to CNN, a senior Mexican law enforcement source stated, "Due to ... continue reading


Cinco de Mayo - What is the day really about? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Cinco de Mayo is upon us, and while many believe it is Mexico's Independence Day, it actually is not. So, what is Cinco de Mayo and why has it become so biculturally popular? LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - "The significance of Cinco de Mayo is that it ... continue reading


Ecuador quake survivors share powerful stories of survival Watch

Image of The quake was the worst the Andean nation had seen in ten years (Paul Ochoa/Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated sections of Ecuador and left the death count at over 300 people. Over 2,000 destroyed buildings and ruined roads have been reported - and now survivors are sharing their harrowing experiences. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As ... continue reading


Previous Argentina President accused of money laundering Watch

Image of Former President of Argentina accused of money laundering (1meee).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

After serving her country for eight years, former Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has been accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars into oversea accounts. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Former president Fernández de Kirchner has ... continue reading


Virgin Mary statue considered in notoriously secular Uruguay Watch

Image of Secular Uruguay debates whether to erect a Virgin Mary statue in a park (Shutterstock).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Uruguay is considered a secular country and is known for its refusal to condone religious beliefs of any kind - yet there exists a debate concerning the erection of a Virgin Mary statue. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Many in Uruguay stand on the country's ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Woman diagnosed with 'nightmare bacteria' in US
  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: He will never leave you
  • Advent Prayer HD Video
  • WARNING: Exorcist claims demon is targeting families
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, May 29, 2016
  • St. Maximinus of Trier: Saint of the Day for Sunday, May 29, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jude 1:17, 20-25
17 But remember, my dear friends, what the apostles of our Lord Jesus ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 63:2, 3-4, 5-6
2 Thus I have gazed on you in the sanctuary, seeing your power and your ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:27-33
27 They came to Jerusalem again, and as Jesus was walking in the Temple, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 28th, 2016 Image

Bl. Margaret Pole
May 28: Martyr of England. She was born Margaret ... Read More