UP Catholic 03 04 2016 E Edition Page 11

www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC DIOCESAN ANNUAL REPORT March 4, 2016 11 1405 13th St. MENOMINEE, MI (906) 864-LOVE The Greatest Gift Stop in today to see our large selection of First Communion dresses, veils, jewelry & gifts! We have everything you need for First Communion - besides your cute little kid! We look forward to working with you on future Diocesan projects. Providing quality construction in the Upper Peninsula for over a century 180 Traders Mine Road Iron Mountain, Michigan 49801 (906) 779-2303 www.gcfirst.com If mercy doesn't reach your pockets, it's not real BY ELISE HARRIS CNA/EWTN NEWS For Pope Francis, mercy isnt just spiritual, but is something that ought to be expressed in concrete acts of service and in sharing ones goods with the poor, which was a key tradi- tion during Jubilee years throughout Scripture. Referring to the current Holy Year of Mercy, the holy father explained that the Jubilee is a time for conver- sion, so that our heart can become bigger, more generous, more like a child of God, with more love. But I tell you that if the Jubilee doesnt arrive to the pockets, its not a true Jubilee, he said, adding that, this is in the Bible, its not the pope who invented this. In his continued catechesis on mer- cy as seen in Scripture, Pope Francis noted how the Jubilee year is an ancient institution. He took his cue from the biblical passage in the book of Leviticus in which the Jubilee was instituted among the Jews. According to the rules of the Jubilee, the year served as a kind of general amnesty in which a person who had been forced to sell their goods or property could regain possession of them, he noted. In that time, requirements such as the Jubilee were used to combat poverty and inequality, guaranteeing a life of dignity for all and an equal distribution of the land on which to live and from which to draw suste- nance, the holy father observed. Because the land originally be- longed to God, who then entrusted it to man, no one could claim exclusive possession of it or use ownership to create situations of inequality, he said. With the Jubilee whoever had become poor returned to have what was necessary in order to live, and whoever had become rich restored to the poor what they had taken from them. The result was a society based on equality and solidarity where free- dom, land and money would become again a good for everyone, he ex- plained. In off-the-cuff remarks, he noted that roughly 80 percent of the worlds wealth rests in the hands of about 20 percent of the people, and encour- aged the faithful to be generous with what they have both during Lent, and the Jubilee. Each person can think in their hearts: if I have too many things, why not leave 10 percent, 50 percent, to those who have nothing? he asked, assuring those present that if they take the matter to prayer, the Holy Spirit would inspire them about what is reasonable for them to do. Pope Francis then turned to the Biblical law that required the pay- ment of tithes, which would be used to assist the poor, people without land, orphans and widows. He said that tithes such as this arrive daily to the Office of the Papal Almoner, which oversees the popes charity funds. When the letters come in, they fre- quently contain a little bit of money: something small or not so small, which is part of a persons salary to help others, the holy father said, explaining that its beautiful to help others, whether it be people, charita- ble institutions, hospitals, retirement homes or foreigners. Pope Francis then issued a sharp condemnation of the practice of usu- ry, and lamented how many families have been forced to live on the streets due to the corruption of those who want to line their own pockets. Usury is a grave sin before God, he said, and noted that many times, people in desperation end up com- mitting suicide because they cant do it and they dont have hope. These people dont have an out- stretched hand to help them, only the hand that makes them pay for personal interests, he said, and prayed that the Lord would use the Jubilee of Mercy as a time to remove the desire of usury from all hearts, making them bigger and more gener- ous instead. Pope Francis pointed to Gods promise to bring blessings to those who lend a hand and who give gen- erously, adding that when we are fenerous, the Lord will give you double...maybe not in money, but the Lord always gives double. He closed his address by encourag- ing those present to have the courage to share what they have with others. This, he said, is called mercy, and if we want the mercy of God, lets begin to do it ourselves. ALEXEY GOTOVSKIY CNA Pope Francis greets faithful at a general audience at St. Peter Square last month.

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