Who is my neighbor? Do I respond to their needs as such?
Pope Francis told the faithful in St. Peter’s Square to ask themselves this during his Angelus address today at noon, while reflecting on today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke.
As Francis discussed the parable of the Good Samaritan, who comes to help the man robbed and assaulted, as a priest and Levite just pass by and ignore him, the Pontiff urged those gathered to never be indifferent to others’ suffering, for it can have eternal consequences.
The Pontiff reminded them that one day we all will be judged on our works of mercy.
“It is not up to us to try to categorize people, to see if they count as our neighbors. Rather, the decision to be, or not be a neighbor, depends on us. It depends on me. It depends on me to be or not be a neighbor to the person I meet who needs my help, even if he’s a stranger, or even hostile,” he noted, saying Jesus expects us to follow His example.
“Do good works, do not just say words that go off into the wind,” Francis said off the cuff. “A song comes to mind: “Words, words, words.” No! Please do! Act! And by the good works that we do with love and joy for others, our faith grows and bears fruit.”
The Pope then said faithful ought to ask themselves several questions: “Is our faith fruitful? Does our faith produce good works? Or it is rather sterile, and therefore more dead than alive? Am I ‘the neighbor’ or do I simply just pass along? Or am I among those who select people according to their own pleasure?”
It’s important, he highlighted, to ask ourselves these questions often because, “in the end, we will be judged on the works of mercy.”
“The Lord will say to us: ‘But you, you remember that time on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho? That man was me half dead. Do you remember? That hungry child was me. Do you remember? The migrant who many want to drive out it was me. Those grandparents alone, abandoned in nursing homes, it was me. That sick person alone in the hospital, that no one goes to see, was me.'”
Before reciting the midday prayer, Francis prayed that through Mary’s intercession, “the Church may never lack generous hearts which bring the Heavenly Father’s love and tenderness to the world.”
After the Angelus, the Pope recalled that today marks Sea Sunday, which takes place each year on the second Sunday of July, and said, “I encourage seafarers and fishermen in their work, which is often difficult and risky, as well as the chaplains and the volunteers in their precious service.”
“May Mary, Star of the Sea, watch over you!” he said.
As usual, Pope Francis concluded, wishing all present a good ‘hot’ Sunday, good lunch, and telling them not to forget to pray for him.
On ZENIT’s Web page:
Full Angelus Address: https://zenit.org/articles/angelus-address-on-the-good-samaritan/