Pope at Jubilee Audience: Mercy Without Works Is Dead
Author: Deborah Castellano Lubov | Source: ZENIT (https://zenit.org)
(ZENIT, Vatican City, June 30, 2016).- “Today the Lord invites us to make a serious examination of conscience.”
This morning, the Pope said this when he held his eighth “Jubilee Audience.” The jubilee audiences are open to the public and are generally scheduled one Saturday a month during the Year of Mercy, but last weekend Pope Francis was on his 14th Apostolic Visit abroad to the nation of Armenia, July 24-26.
The Holy Father reflected during his address on works of mercy, drawing inspiration from today’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew 25:31.
“In fact, it is good never to forget that mercy is not an abstract word, but a style of life. It is one thing to speak of mercy and another to live mercy. Paraphrasing the words of Saint James the Apostle, (cf. 2:14-17), we can say: mercy without works is dead in itself. It is in fact thus!”
What renders mercy alive, he explained, is its constant dynamism in going to meet the needs and necessities of others. “Mercy has eyes to see, ears to listen, hands to resolve,” he said.
The Pope lamented that so often, so many are unaware of the suffering and needs of others, or remain completely indifferent.
“Sometimes we pass before dramatic situations of poverty and it seems that they do not touch us; everything continues as if there were nothing, in an indifference that in the end renders us hypocrites and, without realizing it, it results in a form of spiritual lethargy, which renders our mind insensitive and our life sterile.”
Roll up Sleeves
“One who has experienced the Father’s mercy in his own life cannot remain insensitive in face of the needs of brothers,” Francis said, noting Jesus’ teachings do not allow for escapes, but call for helping those who hunger and thirst, the naked, the stranger, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt25:35-36),
“They oblige one to rollup one’s sleeves to alleviate suffering,” Francis said
“Because of the changes of our globalized world, some material and spiritual poverties have multiplied,” he continued, “hence let us make room for the imagination of charity to identify new operative ways. Thus the way of mercy will become ever more concrete. Requested of us, therefore, is to remain vigilant as watchmen, so that it will not happen that, in face of the poverties produced by the culture of wellbeing, the eyes of Christians are weakened and become incapable of looking at the essential.”
Pilgrim in Fraternity, Peace
Before concluding, Pope Francis recalled his recent visit to Armenia, “the first nation to have embraced Christianity,” whose people, he noted, “in the course of its long history, have witnessed the Christian faith with martyrdom.”
Francis then thanked the President of Armenia and the Catholicos Karekin II, the Partriarch, the Catholic bishops and the Armenian people for welcoming him as a pilgrim in fraternity and peace.
He also reminded those gathered that he has accepted to visit Georgia and Azerbaijan, Sept. 28-30, for a twofold reason: on one hand to appreciate the ancient Christian roots present in those lands – always in a spirit of dialogue with the other religions and cultures – and, on the other, to encourage hopes and paths of peace.
“History teaches us that the path of peace requires great tenacity and continuous steps, beginning with small ones and, little by little, making them grow, one going to encounter the other. In fact because of this my wish is that each and all may make their contribution to reconciliation,” he said.