Pope Francis: There are needy situations which require our urgent and immediate response
In St. Peter's Square, the sun was shining and the atmosphere was lively. The interaction between Pope Francis and the pilgrims is inspiring and has not dwindled over time.
However, the issue the pope addressed today in his catechesis is a demanding one: he asked for involvement to finally to end hunger.
"Poverty, in the abstract form, does not challenge us. It makes us think; it makes us feel sorry. But when you see poverty in the flesh of a man, a woman, a child; this does challenge us. From there, this habit of running away from the needy, of not approaching them or masking the reality of the needy."
The pope began his new cycle of catechesis on the corporal works of mercy, talking about the first one: to feed the hungry.
"There are needy situations among us that require our immediate and urgent response, such as feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty; both are corporal works of mercy. It is very tough to experience hunger and thirst, and unfortunately it is a current reality and it is close to us."
The pope recalled that the faith of a Christian depends on how he treats the needy, because God is in each one of them.
In that sense he warned against a welfare culture, because it forces people to look away from the needs of others.
"One of the consequences of "welfare" is it makes people close in on themselves, making them insensitive to the needs of others."
The pope concluded his catechesis recalling fragments of Benedict XVI's encyclical "Caritas in veritate." In it, his predecessor stressed that "feeding the hungry is an ethical imperative for the universal Church."