VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Those who suffer are brothers and sisters Catholics must pray for, not cases to be analyzed or examples to be used in debates, Pope Francis said in a morning homily.
The Christian response to those who are suffering must be to “pray for them. They must enter into my heart, they must make me restless,” the pope said at Mass June 5 in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. “My brother is suffering, my sister is suffering.”
The Bible is filled with stories of people who suffer and cry out to God for relief, he said. “Crying out to God is not a sin. A priest I know once told a woman who was lamenting to God about her calamities: ‘Ma’am, that is a form of prayer. Keep going.'”
In the day’s Gospel reading, the Sadducees use the sad case of a woman widowed multiple times simply as a device to trick Jesus, the pope said.
“The Sadducees talked about this woman as if in a laboratory, all aseptically,” Pope Francis said. For them, she was simply an example of an abstract moral problem, he said.
“When we think of people who suffer so much, do we think of them as if they were were an (abstract) moral case, purely ideas?” the pope asked. “Or do we think of them with our hearts?”
“I don’t like it when people talk about these situations in a way that is very academic and not human, sometimes even adding statistics,” he said.
Pope Francis called attention to a photograph of a malnourished child published on the front page of the Vatican newspaper the previous evening. “How many more are like this?” he asked.
Also mentioning refugees from the civil war in Syria and the terminally ill, the pope said that those who suffer cry out for solidarity, including the solidarity of the prayers of others.
“This is the mystery of the communion of saints. Pray: ‘Lord, see that one who is crying, suffering,'” he said.
Treating suffering as part of an “intellectual game” is not part of solidarity and is not a prayer, he said. God hears the cries of those who suffer and the prayers of those whose concern comes from the heart.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: Why don’t people bow their heads at Jesus’ name anymore?
NEXT: Imagine that God is speaking
Share this story