OF HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
THE FAITHFUL OF BUENOS AIRES
ON THE OCCASION OF THE FEAST OF SAINT CAJETAN (SAN CAYETANO)
Wednesday, 7 August
After waiting in line, as I did every year, I am speaking
with you. This time I am moving down the queue in my heart. I am
somewhat far away and can't share this lovely moment with you.
This moment when you are walking towards the image of St Cajetan.
Why? To meet him, to meet Jesus. Today, however, the theme of
this pilgrimage, a theme you selected from among many possible
topics, today the theme speaks of another encounter: “With Jesus
and with St Cajetan, let us meet the needs of the most
deprived”. It speaks of the encounter with people who are most
in need, those who require us to give them a hand, to look
kindly at them, to share in their sorrow or in their anxieties,
in their difficulties. What is important, however, is not to see
or help them from a distance. No, No! It is to go and meet them.
This is Christian! It is what Jesus teaches us: to meet the
needs of the most underprivileged. Just as Jesus did, always
meeting people’s needs; he went to meet them. It is to go to the
encounter with the neediest.
I sometimes ask people: “Do you give alms?” They say to me:
“Yes, Father”. “And when you give alms, do you look the person
you are giving them to in the eye?” “Oh, I don't know, I don't
really notice”. “Then you have not really encountered him. You
tossed him the alms and walked off. When you give alms, do you
touch the person's hand or do you throw the coin?”. “No, I throw
the coin”. “So you did not touch him. And if you don't touch him
you don't meet him”.
What Jesus teaches us first of all is to meet each other, and
in meeting to offer each other help. We must know how to meet
each other. We must build, create, construct a culture of
encounter. How many differences, how many problems in the family
there always are! Problems in the neighbourhood, problems at
work, problems everywhere. And differences don't help. The
culture of encounter. Going out to meet each other. As the theme
says: “Let us meet with the most destitute”, in other words with
those who are needier than I am. With those who are going
through a bad moment that is worse than the one that I'm going
through. There is always someone worse off, isn't there? Always!
There is always someone. Consequently I think: “I am passing
through a bad moment, let me join the queue to meet St Cajetan
and Jesus, and then I will go to meet others, for there is
always someone worse off than me”. It is with these people we
must meet. Thank you for listening to me, thank you for coming
here today, thank you for all that you carry in your heart.
Jesus loves you very much! St Cajetan loves you very much! I ask
of you one thing only: that you meet each other! That you go and
seek out and meet the neediest people. But not by yourselves,
no. With Jesus and with St Cajetan! Should you go and convince
someone else that he should become Catholic? No, no, no! Go and
encounter him, he is your brother! And this is enough. And go
and help him, Jesus or the Holy Spirit will do the rest.
Remember it well: with St Cajetan we who are needy encounter
those who are needier. With Jesus, we who are needy, who are in
greater need, go to encounter those who have an even greater
need. And Jesus may even point out to you the way in which to
encounter those in greater need.
When you encounter someone who is needier your heart begins
to grow, to grow larger and larger! Because the encounter
expands its capacity for loving. The encounter with the other
expands the heart. Courage! “By myself I do not know what to
do”. No, no, no! With Jesus and with St Cajetan! May God bless
you and may you end your day happily with St Cajetan. And please
don't forget to pray for me. Thank you.