The treasures of the Church are not of cathedrals, but the poor, Pope Francis explained this Sunday at the conclusion of the “Jubilee of the socially excluded”, proclaimed the Year of the Mercy.
The homily at the Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica, attended by six thousand poor people, provided an opportunity to Francis to speak movingly, asking Christians to do an examination of conscience about the way the Church treats poor.
Here are ten remarks which the Pope shared with the participants, many of them homeless. They can become the basis for an examination of conscience that every Christian should consider making, at the end of this Jubilee.
• “What endures, what has value in life, what riches do not disappear? Surely these two: the Lord and our neighbour. These two riches do no disappear! These are the greatest goods; these are to be loved.”
• “The human person, set by God at the pinnacle of creation, is often discarded, set aside in favour of ephemeral things. This is unacceptable, because in God’s eyes man is the most precious good.”
• “We should be worried when our consciences are anaesthetized and we no longer see a brother or sister suffering at our side, or notice the grave problems in our world, which become a mere refrain familiar from the headlines on the evening news.”
• “Dear brothers and sisters, today is your Jubilee. Your presence here helps us to be attuned to God’s wavelength, to see what he sees. He sees not only appearances (cf. 1 Sam 16:7), but turns his gaze to the “humble and contrite in spirit” (Is 66:2), to the many poor Lazaruses of our day.”
• “What harm we do to ourselves when we fail to notice Lazarus, excluded and cast out (cf. Lk 16:19-21)! It is turning away from God himself. ”
• “It is the symptom of a spiritual sclerosis when we are only interested in objects to be produced rather than on persons to be loved. ”
• “This is the origin of the tragic contradiction of our age: as progress and new possibilities increase, which is a good thing, less and less people are able to benefit from them.”
• “we cannot go about our business quietly at home while Lazarus lies at the door. There is no peace in the homes of the prosperous as long as justice is lacking in the home of everyone.”
• May the Lord free the children of the Church “from the interests and privileges, from attachment to power and glory, from being seduced by the spirit of the world.”
• “It’s our job to take care of the real wealth [of the church] which is her poor — the true ‘treasures of the Church.'”