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Pope Francis at the general audience: To ignore the poor is to despise God

2016-05-18

Like every Wednesday morning, before giving his catechesis, the Pope rode in the Popemobile between an enthusiastic crowd to greet the pilgrims.

He explained another of the great parables of the Gospel; that of the rich man and Lazarus.

POPE FRANCIS
"It represents two ways of living that are opposite. The rich enjoy a life of luxury and waste; however, Lazarus is at his door in absolute poverty. It is a constant call to a conversion of the affluent man, who is unable to receive it.”

Pope Francis said that this parable is still relevant today. The problem, he said, is not wealth, but ignoring the "Lazarus" that knocks on the door.

He recalled that the rich man in the parable was not condemned to hell for having riches, but for not meeting the needs of the poor. 

POPE FRANCIS
"Excluding Lazarus, he did not take the Lord nor his law into account. To ignore the poor is to despise God! This we must learn well: ignoring the poor man is to despise God.” FLASH. "Now the rich man recognizes Lazarus and asks for help, while in life he pretended not to see him. How many times so many people pretend not to see the poor! For them, the poor do not exist."

The Pope said Lazarus represents the silent cry of the poor in all times and places. He concluded the hearing with a request: for all to open their heart.

POPE FRANCIS
"The mercy of God toward us is related to our mercy toward our neighbor. When this is lacking, God's mercy is unable to enter in our closed heart as well, it cannot enter. If I do not open the door of my heart to the poor, that door is permanently closed, even for God, and this is terrible.” 

During the audience, the Pope also greeted the Polish with special affection as they were celebrating the birthday of John Paul II. If he lived to see this day, he would have turned 96 years old.

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