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Santa Marta: ‘Where is Your Brother in Your Heart?’

‘Disturbing Issues and Compromise Responses’

“Where is your brother in your heart?  This is the question that Pope Francis invited listeners to ask at the morning Mass he celebrated at Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican on February 18, 2019.

In his homily reported by Vatican News, the Pope meditated on “disturbing questions and compromise responses”, especially in the First Reading where Cain responds in substance: “But what have I to do in my brother’s life? Am I his guardian? I wash my hands.” And he “seeks to flee the eyes of God”.

The question of God to Cain is “a disturbing question,” noted the pope, listing compromise responses: “but, it is his life, I respect, I wash my hands … I do not interfere in the life of others … we respond a little with general principles that say nothing but say everything.”

And the pope imagined the dialogue: “‘Where is your brother?’ – ‘ do not know’ – ‘But your brother is hungry!’ – ‘Yes, yes, it is certainly at the Caritas meal of the parish, yes they will surely give him food,’ and with this answer – of compromise – I save my skin. ‘No, the other, the sick …’ – ‘He’s definitely in the hospital!’ – ‘But there’s no room in the hospital! And he has medicine?’ – ‘But this is his life, I can not meddle in the life of others … he will surely have parents who will give him medicine, and I wash my hands…’ – ‘Where is your brother, the prisoner?’ – ‘Ah, he has what he deserves. He did that, he pays …'”

” Where is your brother?” insisted the pope. “Where is your exploited brother, the black worker … the one who does not have clothes, the little brother who can not go to school, the drug addict … where is he? Where is your brother in your heart? Is there room for these people in our hearts? 

“We are used to giving compromise answers, answers to escape the problem, not to see the problem, not to touch the problem,” he continued, before warning: “When we live … without taking in hand what the Lord has taught us, sin stands at the door, lurking, waiting to enter. And destroy us.”

In Genesis too, “Adam hides from shame, from fear. Maybe we feel this shame. Where is your brother? Where are you? In what world do you live, without perceiving these things, these sufferings, these pains? Where is your brother ? … Where are you? Do not hide from reality. In conclusion, the Pope invited us to “respond openly, with loyalty, and also with joy to these two questions of the Lord.”

About Anne Kurian

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