It was during the mass presided over by Pope Francis, coinciding with World Grandparents Day. “Old age,” said the pontiff, “is the season to reconcile, to look tenderly at the light that has expanded despite the shadows.” The call to politics so that the elderly are not relegated to “unproductive discards”. The closeness with the victims of the floods in South Korea.
Vatican City () – Old age is a blessed time. “It is the season to reconcile, to look tenderly at the light that spread despite the shadows”, were the words of Pope Francis in today’s homily, during the mass in the Vatican basilica on the occasion of the Third World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly, an anniversary that he instituted on the Sunday closest to the feast of Saints Joachim and Anna, the grandparents of Jesus. It was a celebration marked by the idea of ”growing together”, old and young. On the eve of World Youth Day, which will take place at the beginning of August in Lisbon, the Pope wanted, at the end of the mass, five elderly people to hand over the pilgrim’s cross to five young people who will leave for Portugal.
Among the elderly was the Indian nun Martin de Porres, 82, a Missionary of Charity (Mother Teresa’s sisters) who lives in the regional house of San Gregorio al Celio, in Rome. The Hna. Martin de Porres prays every day for the young people who are leaving for WYD. At St. Peter’s Church, she and other elders handed the cross to Aleesha, a 22-year-old young woman of Indian origin studying at the University of Bologna who is going to Lisbon with a group of 25 young Catholic Indians living in Italy, and Koe, a 22-year-old Australian of Filipino origin.
During the homily, Pope Francis commented on the Gospel passage from today’s liturgy, noting that the language used by Jesus in the parables “is similar to what grandparents often use with their grandchildren, perhaps sitting them on their knees. In this way, they communicate important wisdom for life”. Focusing on the parable of the wheat and the tares, he underlined its profoundly realistic message. “Christians – he explained – know that there are wheat and tares in the world, and they look within themselves, recognizing that evil does not come only “from the outside”, that it is not always the fault of others, that it is not necessary to “invent” enemies to fight to avoid shedding a little light within themselves.” These words also guide us in old age.”I think of the elderly and the grandparents who have already come a long way on the path of life,” he continued. “When they look back, they see so many beautiful things that they have achieved, but also defeats, mistakes, even some things that —as they say— “if I went back, I wouldn’t repeat them”. Today, instead, the Lord extends his hand to us with a sweet word, inviting us to accept the mystery of life with serenity and patience, to leave judgment to Him, not to live with complaints and remorse”.
Comparing grandparents to the leafy tree under whose branches the little ones come to build their nest, he reiterated that today the Church needs “a new alliance between young and old, so that the lymph of those who have a long life experience behind them irrigate the shoots of hope of those who are growing”.
For this reason, he made a new appeal to the institutions: “That our crowded cities do not become ‘centers of loneliness’; and he said “that politics, which is called upon to provide for the needs of the most fragile, does not forget precisely the elderly, letting the market relegate them to ‘unproductive discards.’ : “Please, let’s mingle, let’s grow together”.
During the Angelus, Pope Francis wanted an old woman and a young man to stand by his side by the window. Then, recalling the extreme weather events of these days, including the floods in South Korea, he launched an appeal: “I am close to those who suffer and to those who assist the victims and the displaced. And I beg you to renew my appeal to the leaders of nations to do something more concrete to limit polluting emissions: this is an urgent and urgent challenge that concerns everyone. Let’s protect our common home”. Lastly, Francis called for solutions for migrants who remain stranded in the African desert. And he remembered the victims of the attack last night in Odessa, inviting them to continue praying for peace.