UP Catholic 03 10 2017 E Edition Page 10

10 March 10, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC DIOCESAN ANNUAL REPORT www.upcatholic.org BY ELISE HARRIS CNA/EWTN NEWS Pope Francis pastoral heart came out in his Lent- en message this year, focusing in what could be a lengthy homily on the importance of recognizing others as a gift, with an in-depth reflection on the Word of God. A right relationship with people consists in grate- fully recognizing their value. Even the poor person at the door of the rich is not a nuisance, but summons to conversion and to change, the pope said in this years Lenten message. Each person is a gift, whether it be our neighbor or an anonymous pauper, he said, adding that Lent is a favorable season for opening the doors to all those in need and recognizing in them the face of Christ. Released Feb. 7, the popes message is titled The Word is a gift. Other persons are a gift, and centers on the passage in the Gospel of Luke recounting the relation between the poor man Lazarus and the rich man who rejects him, a favorite episode to which he often returns. In the message, Pope Francis said Lent is a key time to vamp up our spiritual life through the Churchs traditional practices of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. However, at the basis of everything is the Word of God, he said, and offered an in-depth reflection on the parable. Pope Francis noted how the parable begins by pre- senting the two main characters, with the poor man described in more detail than the rich man. Lazarus is depicted as lying in front of the rich mans door eating the crumbs that fall from his table, and with dogs coming to lick the sores that cover his body. The picture is one of great misery; it portrays a man disgraced and pitiful, the pope said, noting the contrast between the image of the poor man provid- ed and his name, Lazarus, which means God helps, indicating a promise. Although Lazarus is invisible to the rich man, we see and know him as someone familiar. He becomes a face, and as such, a gift, priceless treasure, a human being whom God loves and cares for, despite his concrete condition as an outcast, Pope Francis said. Lazarus therefore teaches us that other persons are a gift, he said, adding that good relationships among people consist of recognizing each others value. By setting the scene as it does, the parable first invites us to open our hearts to others and to recognize them as a gift, whether it be our neighbor or an anony- mous pauper, he said, adding that each life we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. The word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable, he said, but stressed that in order to do this, we have to take seriously what the Gospel tells us about the rich man. Pope Francis then turned to the image of the rich man himself, who, unlike Lazarus, Pope's Lenten message: Money doesn't make you rich DANIEL IBANEZ/CNA Newly married couples pose for selfies with Pope Francis at the general audience in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall on Feb. 15, 2017. SEE NEIGHBOR ON PAGE 11

Previous Page
Next Page