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Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Good afternoon!

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.


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