Hostility, indifference make us blind to those in need, pope says

By Junno Arocho Esteves

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Indifference and hostility can blind
Christians from recognizing Jesus in those most in need, Pope Francis said.

“This indifference and hostility can turn into
aggression” toward people often marginalized by society, the pope said
June 15 during his weekly general audience.

“How many times, when we see so many people on the
street — people in need, the sick, those with nothing to eat — we
feel bothered. How many times, when we find before us so many refugees and
displaced people, we feel bothered. It is a temptation; we all have this,
everyone, including myself,” he said.

The pope reflected on the Gospel reading of a blind beggar
in Jericho whose sight was restored after pleading with Jesus to heal him.

“The people walking in front rebuked him, telling him to
be silent, but he kept calling out all the more, ‘Son of David, have pity on
me!'” the
Gospel reading says.

Those who told
the beggar to be quiet, the pope recalled, reproached him “as if he did
not have a right to cry out.” However, despite his blindness, the poor man
“sees with the eyes of faith” and his plea was powerful enough to
attract Jesus’ attention.

“Let us
also think this, when we found ourselves in awful situations, even sinful
situations, how it was Jesus who took our hand and took us out from the margins
to the path of salvation,” the pope said.

The Gospel
reading, he added, teaches Christians that the good news implies placing those
excluded at the center and that Jesus’ merciful presence is an opportunity for
“those in need of help and consolation” to cry out to him.

“Even in
our lives, Jesus passes by. When I notice Jesus passing by, it is an invitation
to come close to him, to be a better person, to be a better Christian, to
follow Jesus,” he said.

Christians are
called to follow the path of the blind man who “glorified God” and
followed Jesus after being healed, the pope said.

“We are
all beggars; we are always in need of salvation. And all of us, every day, need
to make this step: from beggars to disciples,” he said. “Let us allow
ourselves to be called by Jesus, healed by Jesus, forgiven by Jesus and follow
him, praising God.”

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