“Never tire” of working for solidarity and social justice”.
At a time when we are bombarded with news of economic doom and gloom, conflicts and wars that world leaders seem unable to resolve and situations at which we can only look on helplessly, perhaps the words of Pope Francis spoken in a football pitch located in a Rio De Janeiro slum, can for us be a source of hope and direction.
Speaking amid cheers in the soccer field of a Rio de Janeiro shanty town, Pope Francis urged people who are more economically privileged to “never tire” of working for solidarity and social justice. “The Brazilian people, particularly the humblest among you, can offer the world a valuable lesson in solidarity, a word that is too often forgotten or silenced, because it is uncomfortable.” He continued, “I would like to make an appeal to those in possession of greater resources, to public authorities and to all people of good will who are working for social justice: never tire of working for a more just world, marked by greater solidarity.”
At the close of the event the Pope thanked the residents for their warm welcome, and said that “to make people welcome” is a great gift, because “when we are generous in welcoming people and sharing something with them – some food, a place in our homes, our time – not only do we no longer remain poor: we are enriched.”
Pope Francis commended Brazil’s efforts to “integrate” the poorest among its people and added that “no amount of ‘peace-building’ will be able to last, nor will harmony and happiness be attained in a society that ignores, pushes to the margins or excludes a part of itself.”
“Let us always remember this: only when we are able to share do we become truly rich; everything that is shared is multiplied! The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty!”
Giving bread to the hungry is a “necessary” act of justice…… yet he added, “there is a deeper hunger, the hunger for a happiness that only God can satisfy. When so-called development ignores the “non-material goods” of a nation – its “fundamental pillars” – “there is neither real promotion of the common good nor real human development.”
Pope Francis described these “fundamental pillars” as life; the family; integral education; health; and security. He concluded by saying: “I carry each of you in my heart and I make my own the intentions that you carry deep within you: thanksgiving for joys, pleas for help in times of difficulty, a desire for consolation in times of grief and suffering.”
“I entrust all this to the intercession of Our Lady of Aparecida, Mother of all the poor of Brazil, and with great affection I impart my blessing.” ( source CISA 066)
If we as individuals, if our leaders and if society in general could focus on solidarity and working for social justice then perhaps we could not only see a way through the problems of this world but also actually begin to believe that it is possible.