Pope Francis on May 24, 2018, dedicated his morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta to the “noble Chinese people”, reported Vatican News.
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Sheshan, observed by Chinese Catholics as the Mother of China. The day is marked as a time to for all to pray for the Church in China.
In his homily, the Holy Father – citing John’s Gospel — warned the rich to offer justice to the poor and workers.
“‘Woe to you who are rich.’ If someone today were to preach these words, the media the next day would write: ‘That priest is a communist.’ But poverty is at the center of the Gospel. Preaching about poverty is at the heart of Jesus’ message: ‘Blessed are the poor’ is the first of the Beatitudes. It is the identity card with which Jesus presents himself in the Synagogue when he returns to his town of Nazareth. ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.’ But we have historically given in to the weakness of not preaching about poverty, believing it to be a social or political question. No! It is the Gospel, pure and simple.”
Francis warned of the seduction of riches, noting that they are to be used for the general good.
“You are not free regarding riches. To be free regarding riches you must distance yourself from them and pray to the Lord. If the Lord has given you riches, they are to be given away, in order to do many good things for others in His name. But riches often seduce us and falling into this seduction, we are made slaves to them.”
The Holy Father expressed this during his weekly General Audience May 23, 2018, on the eve of the feast of Our Lady of Sheshan, his wishes for the Catholics of China “fraternity, concord and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter.”
Since 2007, at the initiative of Pope Benedict XVI, May 24 marks the Day of Prayer for the Church in China.
In the appeal toward the end of the Audience, Pope Francis invited the crowd to “be spiritually united to all the Catholic faithful living in China.”
“Let us pray for them the Virgin Mary, so that they may live the faith with generosity and serenity, and so that they know how to accomplish concrete gestures of fraternity, concord, and reconciliation, in full communion with the Successor of Peter,” he encouraged.
“Dearest disciples of the Lord in China,” the Holy Father reminded, “the universal Church prays with you and for you, so that in the midst of difficulties you may continue to entrust yourself to the will of God. The help of the Virgin will never fail you and she will protect you with her motherly love.”