To follow Christ is to see, to help those who suffer, says the pope

By Junno Arocho Esteves, Catholic Press Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians are called to follow the example of the good Samaritan and not only look with compassion on those who suffer, but also draw near to them, Pope Francis said.

Like the priest and the Levite in the parable of Jesus, who pass by the injured man on the road and look away, Christians can sometimes be tempted to “hide behind dogmatisms to defend themselves from reality”, the pope said July 10 during his Sunday Angelus address.

Nevertheless, the Gospel “teaches us to follow Jesus, because following Jesus teaches us to have compassion — to see and to have compassion — to be aware of others, especially those who suffer, those in need, and to step in like the Samaritan, not to pass but to stop,” he said.

Before reciting the Angelus prayer with the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the pope reflected on the reading of the Sunday Gospel of Saint Luke.

The pope noted that St. Luke clarifies that the Samaritan was on a journey, meaning that “even though he had his own plans,” he “did not find an excuse” not to help the injured man.

“Let’s think about this,” the pope said. “Doesn’t the Lord teach us to do just that? Looking away, towards our final destination, while paying particular attention to the steps to take here and now to get there.

Those who truly follow in Jesus’ footsteps, he continued, learn “to see and have compassion” for others and do not spend their time “pointing fingers at others, comparing them to the priest or to the Levite”.

Christians should not only “recognize when we have been indifferent and we have justified ourselves”, but also pray and ask God “to help us overcome our selfish indifference” to become true disciples of Christ, he said. added.

“This is the prayer I suggest to you today,” the pope said, “Lord, may I see and have compassion as you see me and have compassion on me.”

Pope Francis concluded his speech by encouraging Christians not only to give alms to the poor, but also to look them in the eye and truly sympathize with them.

“If you give alms without touching reality, without looking into the eyes of the person in need, this alms is for you, not for that person,” the pope said.

“Think about it. Do I touch misery, even the misery I help? Do I look into the eyes of people who are hurting, people I help? I leave you with this thought – see and have compassion,” he said.

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