Below is the Vatican-provided text of Pope Francis’ Angelus at Casa Hogar El Buen Samaritano in Panama, during his final day of his Apostolic Visit to the country to celebrate World Youth Day 2019, Jan. 22-28, 2019:
Dear Young Friends,
Dear Directors, Associates and Pastoral Workers,
Thank you, Father Domingo, for your words of greeting on behalf of all present. I have been looking forward very much to this meeting with you here from this Good Samaritan Home, and also with the other young people from the John Paul II Centre, the Saint Joseph Home of the Sisters of Charity and the “House of Love” of the Congregation of the Brothers of Jesus of Kkottonngae. Being with you today gives me reason for renewed hope. Thank you for giving me this.
In preparing for this meeting, I was able to read the testimony of a member of this Home that touched my heart. It said: “Here I was reborn”. This home, and all the centres you represent, are a sign of the new life that the Lord wants to give us. It is easy to confirm the faith of some of our brothers and sisters when we see it at work in anointing wounds, renewing hope and encouraging faith.
Nor are those we might call the “primary beneficiaries” of your homes the only ones to be reborn; here the Church and the faith are also born and continually recreated through love.
We begin to be reborn when the Holy Spirit grants us eyes to see others, as Father Domingo said to us, not only as the people we live with – and that is already saying a lot – but as our neighbours.
The Gospel tells us that Jesus was asked one day: “Who is my neighbour?” (cf. Lk 10:29). He did not respond with theories, or give a fine, lofty speech. Instead he told a story – the parable of the Good Samaritan – a concrete example drawn from the real life that you all know and experience. My
neighbour is before all else a face that I meet along the way, one that makes us move and be moved. To move from our fixed ways of doing things and our priorities, and to be moved so deeply by what that person is experiencing that we stop and make room for him or her on our journey. That is what the Good Samaritan realized when he saw the man left half-dead on the side of the road, not only by bandits but also by the indifference of a priest and a levite who could not be bothered to come to his aid. For indifference can also wound and kill. Some for a few miserable coins, others for fear of becoming unclean.
Whatever their reason, whether contempt or social aversion, they saw nothing
wrong in leaving that man lying on the roadside. The Good Samaritan, whether in the parable or in all of your homes, shows us that our neighbour is first of all a person, someone with a real, particular face, not something to avoid or ignore, whatever his or her situation may be. And that face reveals
our humanity, so often suffering and overlooked.
Our neighbour, then, is a face that wonderfully inconveniences our lives, because it reminds us and points our steps towards what is really important, and it frees us from all that is trite and superficial in the way we follow the Lord.
To be here is to touch the maternal face of the Church, which is capable of prophesying and creating a home, creating community. The Church’s face is usually unseen; it passes by unnoticed.
Yet it is a sign of God’s concrete mercy and tender love, a living sign of the good news of the resurrection that even now is at work in our lives.
To create a “home” is to create a family. It is to learn to feel connected to others by more than the utilitarian and practical bonds that make us feel that our life is a bit more human. To create a home is to let prophecy take flesh and make our hours and days less cold, indifferent and anonymous.
It is to create bonds by simple, everyday acts that all of us can do. A home, and this we all know very well, demands that everyone work together. No one can be indifferent or aloof, since each is a stone needed to build the home. And that also means asking the Lord to grant us the grace to learn to be patient, to forgive one another, to start over each day. How many times should I forgive and start over? Seventy times seven times, as many times as necessary. To create strong bonds requires confidence and trust nurtured daily by patience and forgiveness.
That is how the miracle takes place: we feel that here we are reborn, here we are all reborn, because we feel God’s caress that enables us to dream of a more human world, and therefore of a world more divine.
I thank all of you for your example and your generosity. I also thank your institutions, and the volunteers and benefactors. I thank all those who have made it possible for God’s love to become ever more concrete and real by gazing into the eyes of those around us and acknowledging that we
are all neighbours. Now that we are about to pray the Angelus, I entrust you to our Blessed Lady. We ask her, as a good Mother, full of tender love and closeness, to teach us to make an effort each day to discover who our neighbours are, and to help us go out quickly to meet them, to give them a home, an embrace, where care and fraternal love meet. This is a mission involving every one of us.
I encourage you now to place beneath her mantle all your concerns and needs, all your sorrows and hurts, so that, as a Good Samaritan, she will come to us and aid us by her maternal love and with her smile, the smile of a Mother.
Angelus Domini …