We should stop making excuses or compromises in response to the uncomfortable questions God asks us, such as where is our brother, the one who is hungry, sick, in prison, unable to attend school, or who is a drug addict: Pope Francis expressed this concern in his homily during Mass on Monday morning, 18 February. We should not avoid these questions by making excuses, he stressed, adding that the Church’s commitment on the frontline of social work is God’s desire and certainly not the desire of a “communist party”.
Referring to the day’s first reading from Genesis which narrates the account in which God asks Cain the whereabouts of his brother, Abel, Pope Francis described God’s question as embarrassing to Cain. And Cain responds defensively: “‘what do I have to do with my brother’s life? Am I his keeper? I wash my hands of it’. Thus, Cain was trying to escape God’s gaze”, the Pope explained.
Jesus too, the Pontiff recalled, “often asked Peter uncomfortable questions, for example: ‘Do you love me?’”. He asked the disciples: “what do people say about me?”, and “what do you say?”. In our everyday lives, we answer these uncomfortable questions with “general principles which say nothing but say that everything, everything that is in the heart”.
Pope Francis recommended we ask ourselves the same question: where is my brother? As if God were asking us. And our response, the Pope stressed, should include those whom Jesus names in Matthew, Chapter 25: the sick , the hungry one, the thirsty , the naked.
The Holy Father noted that “we are accustomed to responding with compromises, giving answers to escape the problem, to avoid seeing the problem, to avoid touching the problem”. Today, he continued, it would do us good to ask, “where is my brother?”, and, listing all those mentioned in Matthew, to “answer openly with loyalty and joy”.
St. Peter’s Square
Sept. 21, 2019
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