A letter of Pope Francis to Bishops all around the world published on 28th December the day the Church remembers the Holy Innocents is another fundamental milestone in such extraordinary pontificate. The letter encourages bishops all around the world to place at the centre of their pastoral activity, an attention to children; place the utmost efforts in ensuring that children in the world are, respected, protected and considered as one of the most treasure to defend.
The lithurgy of the Holy Innocents recalls the children killed at the hands of Herod, who was troubled by the birth of a Messiah who could meddle with his kingdom. In a way Herod “was right”; children are really a threat to the kingdoms of this word. Their innocence, purety and the beauty of their fragility are a constant challenge to the non-value of the world of adults. The Pope asks us to build the world starting from the values of children “Nowadays amongst our people, unfortunately, and I say it with deep faith – we continue to hear the lament and cry of many mothers, many family for the death of their children, their innocent children.
We, adults, are like the tree described in the gospel, that the master has placed his eyes to cut it as it does not bear fruit, and instead, for a mystery of mercy, it is allowed more time. We are on our last leg. We must act on our dignity and regain the measure of living, and that of faith. The cry by the oppressed must be our cry: diving deep into the desperate children, the abused children, allowed to die on the street we can understand something about God child. Pope Francis reminds us in his letter to bishops “: Christmas, despite us, is accompanied by tears. The evangelist did not allow to cloud reality to make it more believable or acceptable. They did not allow themselves to realise a discourse beautiful but not real. To them Christams was not an imaginary refuge to hide against the challenges and injustce of their time Instead, they announce the birth of the Son of God clouded in a tragedy of sorrow. Citing the prophet Jeremiah ,Matthew the evangelist presented with great crudeness: ” A cry was heard in Rama, a cry and a loud lament. Rachel cries her children” (2,18). It is the cry of pain of mothers crying the death of their innocent children before the tyranny and the boundless lust for power of Herod.
“But if you do not convert, you will all die”. This is what Luke writes in the gospel in chapter 13. It is a certain world of adults that must convert. It is pointless to name the good and bed. We need to shout out loud that a certain world of adults that is not right, if society does not change its foundation, if society is only based on dishonesty built as a system, with the stronger, the strength of the richest this is a society that will die; it is already dying. Two days ago in Italy, Rai was planning to substitute a program on the horoscope for the year 2017 with an in depth analysis of the attack to Istanbul. Social media registered a strong reaction; this is the t hope of society that is not right; it must be fought with determination. Never as today we understand that everything is one in the world: as the Pope reminds us, if 2016 registered 150 million children who have undertaken minor worl, many of them living as slaves, is there are million of poors with no dignity and no education, the whole world suffers becoming less human. If children are not respected and loved there is no future.
Pope Francis has not forgotten the horror of peadophilia, including that at the hand of clergy:” We hear the cry and lament of these children; the lament and children of our mother CHurch, crying not only before the pain to his smaller children, but also because it knows the sin of some of its members: the pain, the story and the pain of the minor who were sexually abused by priests. It is a sin we must be ashamed of. Those who had the responsibility to look after these children they destroyed their dignity.” God child too is the victim of this horror. The Pope’s world are clear. We share the pain of the victims and at the same time we cry the sin. The past sin, the sin of omission and assistance. ,the sin to hide and ignore, the sin of abuse of power”.
“Master, what shall I do to have eternal life?” (Lk 10,26) Jesus doesn’t answer the question posed by the master of the law but tells a story. it is the story of the Good Samaritan, it can be everyone story. The question is fundamental, it is our life. Our humanity is at stake, the ultimate sense of our being, it is the road to realise our vocation. “He crossed the road on the other side” (Lk 10,31). Thanks to God many stopped; the story of the Church and of the world is full of Good Samaritans who helped the man “left for dead” carried him over their shoulder and raised him to new dignity.
We all experiment it, we are called to stop before the children with daily love; nobody can say it does not know or is not well informed on the wounds of children. The road is only one, there are no shortcuts of preferential routes and dying children are before are eye, they are a stumbling block, they crouch outside our door, they are a constant reminder to our conscience. What shall I do to inherit eternal life? What should I do? How can I place myself at the service of each child? How can I use the talents of my skills, my history and my faith?
We must lean towards the children not just with the table of the law in our hand, be it civil or religion but with gestures of real humanity, with real love, not as a result of the convenience or because of belonging to a certain group which allows moments of charity, carrying otherwise on with its life. Whatever the political, social or religious colour, anyone bending towards the children to help them, this man is a Good Samaritan, is a good citizen, is a real believer and is a beacon of civilisation. He already is in God’s heart.