Pope Francis: Christian charity is not simple philanthropy

Source: Vatican News

Christian charity is not simple philanthropy, Pope Francis told pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus on Sunday. On the one hand, the Pope said, charity is looking at the other with the same eyes of Jesus, but on the other hand, it is seeing Jesus in the face of the poor. This is the true path of Christian charity, with Jesus at the centre, always.

The official English translation of the Pope's words follows.

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

This Sunday's Gospel ( Mt16: 13-20) presents the moment in which Peter professes his faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God. This confession of the Apostle is provoked by Jesus himself, who wants to lead his disciples to take the decisive step in their relationship with him. In fact, the whole journey of Jesus with those who follow him, especially with the Twelve, is a journey of education of their faith. First of all he asks: "Who do people say the Son of man is?" (v. 13). The apostles liked to talk about people, as did all of us. Gossip is liked. Talking about others is not so demanding, for this reason, because we like it; also "skin" the others. In this case, the perspective of faith is already required and not gossip, that is, it asks: "What do people say that I am?". And the disciples seem to be competing in reporting the different opinions, which perhaps to a large extent they themselves shared. They shared themselves. In essence, Jesus of Nazareth was considered a prophet (v. 14).

With the second question, Jesus touches them to the heart: "But you, who do you say that I am?" (v. 15). At this point, we seem to perceive a few moments of silence, because each of those present is called to get involved, manifesting the reason why he follows Jesus; for this reason a certain hesitation is more than legitimate. Even if I now ask you, "Who is Jesus for you?" There will be some hesitation. Simon takes them away from embarrassment, who enthusiastically declares: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (v. 16). This response, so full and luminous, does not come to him from his impulse, however generous - Peter was generous -, but is the fruit of a particular grace from the heavenly Father. In fact, Jesus himself tells him: 'Neither flesh nor blood have revealed it to you - that is, the culture, what you have studied - no, he has not revealed this to you. My Father who is in heaven has revealed it to you ' (v. 17). Confessing Jesus is a grace of the Father. To say that Jesus is the Son of the living God, who is the Redeemer, is a grace that we must ask: "Father, give me the grace to confess Jesus". At the same time, the Lord recognizes Simon's prompt correspondence to the inspiration of grace and then adds, in a solemn tone: "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the powers of hell will not prevail over it" (v . 18). With this affirmation, Jesus makes Simon understand the meaning of the new name he gave him, "Peter": the faith he has just manifested is the unshakable "stone" on which the Son of God wants to build his Church, that is, the Community . And the Church always goes on on the faith of Peter,

Today, we hear Jesus' question addressed to each of us: "And you, who do you say I am?" To each of us. And each of us must give an answer that is not theoretical, but which involves faith, that is, life, because faith is life! "For me you are ...", and to say the confession of Jesus. An answer that also requires us, like the first disciples, to listen to the voice of the Father and to be in harmony with what the Church, gathered around Peter, keep proclaiming. It is a question of understanding who Christ is for us: if He is the cente of our life, if He is the goal of all our commitment in the Church, of our commitment in society. Who is Jesus Christ for me? Who is Jesus Christ for you, for you, for you… An answer that we should give every day.

But be careful: it is indispensable and commendable that the pastoral care of our communities be open to the many poverties and emergencies that are everywhere. Charity is always the main way of the journey of faith, of the perfection of faith. But it is necessary that the works of solidarity, the works of charity that we do, do not distract from contact with the Lord Jesus. Christian charity is not simple philanthropy but, on the one hand, it is looking at the other with the same eyes of Jesus. and, on the other hand, it is seeing Jesus in the face of the poor. This is the true path of Christian charity, with Jesus at the centre, always. May Mary Most Holy, blessed because she believed, may guide and model us on the journey of faith in Christ, and make us aware that trust in him gives full meaning to our charity and to our whole existence.

In his address after the Angelus, Pope Francis said:

Dear brothers and sisters,

World Day was celebrated yesterday in remembrance of the victims of acts of violence based on religion and belief. Let us pray for these brothers and sisters of ours, and with prayer and solidarity we also support those - and there are many - who are still persecuted today because of their religious faith. Many!

Tomorrow, August 24, marks the 10th anniversary of the massacre of seventy-two migrants in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, Mexico. They were people from different countries looking for a better life. I express my solidarity with the families of the victims who still today invoke justice and truth about what happened. The Lord will ask us to account for all the migrants who have fallen on the journeys of hope. They have been victims of the throwaway culture.

Tomorrow will also be four years since the earthquake that hit Central Italy. I renew my prayer for the families and communities that have suffered the most damage, so that they may go forward with solidarity and hope; and I hope that the reconstruction will accelerate, so that people can return to live peacefully in these beautiful territories of the Apennines.

I would also like to reiterate my closeness to the people of Cabo Delgado, in the north of Mozambique, who are suffering from international terrorism. I do it in the vivid memory of the visit I made to that dear country about a year ago.

I address a cordial greeting to all of you, Romans and pilgrims. In particular, to the young people of the Parish of Cernusco sul Naviglio - these who are in yellow there - who left Siena by bicycle and arrived today in Rome along the Via Francigena. You have been good! And I also greet the group of families from Carobbio degli Angeli (province of Bergamo), who came on pilgrimage in memory of the victims of Coronavirus. And let's not forget, let's not forget the Coronavirus victims. This morning I heard the testimony of a family who lost their grandparents without being able to say goodbye and greet them on the same day. So much suffering, so many people who have lost their lives, victims of the disease; and many volunteers, doctors, nurses, nuns, priests, who also lost their lives. We remember the families who have suffered for this.

And I wish everyone a happy Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye!

Tags: Pope Francis, Angelus, Charity, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique,

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