3 September 2016 | Catechesis, Speeches


Saint Peter's Square

[…] Brothers and sisters, you represent the large and varied world of voluntary workers. You are among the most precious things the Church has, you who every day, often silently and unassumingly, give shape and visibility to mercy. You are crafters of mercy: with your hands, with your eyes, with your hearing, with your closeness, by your touch… craftsmen! You express one of the most noble desires of the human heart, making a suffering person feel loved. In the different contexts of need of so many people, your presence is the hand of Christ held out to all, and reaching all. You are the hand of Christ held out: have you thought about this? The credibility of the Church is also conveyed in a convincing way through your service to abandoned children, to the sick, the poor who lack food or work, to the elderly, the homeless, prisoners, refugees and immigrants, to all struck by natural disasters… Indeed, wherever there is a cry for help, there your active and selfless witness is found. In bearing one another’s burdens, you make Christ’s law visible (cf. Gal 6:2; Jn 13:34). Dear brothers and sisters, you touch the flesh of Christ with your hands: do not forget this. You touch the flesh of Christ with your hands. Be always ready to offer solidarity, to be steadfast in your closeness to others, determined in awakening joy and genuine in giving comfort. The world stands in need of concrete signs of solidarity, especially as it is faced with the temptation to indifference. It requires persons who, by their lives, defy such individualism, which is the tendency to think only of oneself and to ignore the brother or sister in need. Be always happy and full of joy in the service you give, but never presume to think that you are superior to others. Instead, let your work of mercy be a humble and eloquent continuation of Jesus’ presence who continues to bend down to our level to take care of the ones who suffer. For love “builds up” (1 Cor 8:1), day after day helping our communities to be signs of fraternal communion. […]