“Let us not forget, the hand that is always stretched out to lift another up, that is the hand of Jesus working through our hands, helping to lift others up.”
With this reflection, Pope Francis has begun again his Wednesday audience catechesis series, continuing with his exploration of the Acts of the Apostles, after a brief summer break.
The pope considered the first healing that we read about in Acts, that of the lame man who was laid daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate (cf Acts 3:1-10 and following).
Drawing from this account, the pope gave a teaching on the “art of accompanying others,” which he said must be characterized by delicacy as we approach another’s “sacred ground.”
With this, “our steps will have a healing cadence … with a respectful gaze that is full of compassion, yet at the same time heals, frees, and encourages maturing in the Christian life.”
The pope noted how that is what Peter and John did with the man born lame:
Peter directed his gaze at him, with John … and said, “look at us.” … And he took him by the right hand … and raised him up … and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong …
“That’s what Jesus does with all of us,” Francis said. “Let us think of this in hard times, in moments of sin, in moments of sadness. There is Jesus who tells us, ‘Look at me. I’m here.’ Let us take Jesus’ hand and allow ourselves to be lifted up!”
Let us take Jesus’ hand and allow ourselves to be lifted up!
The pope emphasized how Peter and John created a relationship with the man, a true encounter between persons, which is where God likes to manifest himself.
“Peter and John teach us not to put our confidence in methods [“I have no silver and gold”], even though they are useful, but in the true richness that is a relationship with the Risen Christ,” he said.
Francis invited us to “never forget that the true richness of our lives is in God’s infinite love,” and he asked us to set about sharing that with others.