On the second full day of his visit to the United States, Pope Francis told poor and homeless of Washington that while there is no justification for a lack of housing, “faith brings us the light which scatters the darkness.”
Directly after becoming the first Pope to address a joint session of Congress, the Holy Father went to D.C.’s St. Patrick’s Church, where he appeared visibly joyful and relaxed in meeting some 300 people representing the poor of the area.
He told them that their faces remind him of someone he loves a lot, someone he goes to whenever he’s “in a fix” — St. Joseph.
“Joseph had to face some difficult situations in his life,” the Pope explained. “One of them was the time when Mary was about to give birth, to have Jesus. […] The Bible is very clear about this: there was no room for them. I can imagine Joseph, with his wife about to have a child, with no shelter, no home, no place to stay. The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person.”
The Pontiff said that we can imagine Joseph’s questioning: “How is it that the Son of God has no home? Why are we homeless, why don’t we have housing?”
Like Joseph, the Holy Father reflected, many in his audience ask the same thing. And those who do have a house should also ask the question, “Why do these, our brothers and sisters, have no place to live? Why are these brothers and sisters of ours homeless?”
Joseph asked questions, Francis said, but above all, Joseph had faith.
“Faith gave Joseph the power to find light just at the moment when everything seemed dark. Faith sustained him amid the troubles of life. Thanks to faith, Joseph was able to press forward when everything seemed to be holding him back.”
The Pope emphasized that there is no “social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing.”
But, he added, in the midst of unjust situations, “we know that God is suffering with us, experiencing them at our side. He does not abandon us.”
No rich or poor
Pope Francis said that one of the most effective ways we have to help others is prayer.
“Prayer unites us; it makes us brothers and sisters,” he said. “It opens our hearts and reminds us of a beautiful truth which we sometimes forget. In prayer, we all learn to say ‘Father,’ ‘Dad.’ When we say ‘Father,’ ‘Dad,’ we learn to see one another as brothers and sisters. In prayer, there are no rich and poor people, there are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. In prayer, there is no first or second class, there is brotherhood.”
Prayer gives the strength to keep fighting injustice, the Pope said, and then asked those listening him to join him in prayer, saying that he needs their support.
“Today I want to pray with you. I want to be one with you. I need your support, your closeness,” he said. “I would like to invite you to pray together, for one another, with one another. That way we can keep helping one another to experience the joy of knowing that Jesus is in our midst and that Jesus helps us to find a solution to the injustices, which he experienced firsthand, of not having a house.”
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