Today the Lord invites us to make a serious examination of conscience, Pope Francis said Thursday at a special Jubilee audience
at St Peter’s Square in Rome. It’s one thing to talk mercy but quite another to live it, he said. Mercy is not an abstraction or a lifestyle and, paraphrasing the words of St James the Apostle, mercy without works is dead in itself.
Pope Francis used the text of Matthew 25:31 as a launching point for discussing acts of mercy toward others. What makes mercy come alive is its dynamism to meet the spiritual and material needs of others, he said. Mercy has eyes to see, ears to listen, hands to help lift.
Sometimes we pass by dramatic situations of poverty and it seems that they don’t touch us, the Pope said. We continue as if nothing happened, in an indifference which ultimately makes us hypocrites and without realizing it, leads to a form of spiritual lethargy that numbs the soul and leaves life barren.
Those who have experienced mercy in their own lives, the Pope continued, cannot remain indifferent to the needs of our brothers. The teaching of the Lord Jesus does not allow for escape routes. “I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was naked, displaced, sick, in prison and you visited me.”
Pope Francis concluded his catechesis by reflecting on his recent apostolic journey to Armenia, the first nation, he noted, to have embraced Christianity. He thanked the President of Armenia and the Catholicos Karekin II, the Partriarch, the Catholic bishops and the people of Armenia for welcoming him as a pilgrim in fraternity and peace.
Finally, Pope Francis said, as Christians we are called to strengthen our fraternal communion and bear witness to the Gospel of Christ.