Pope Francis: “Thank you for what you do. Your work consists of being close to those who are in need, and also not simply giving something, but listening: the ‘apostolate of the ear’. At times, one might think, ‘but that is a bit boring, how boring it is… listening to so much pain, when they do not have what they need to buy medicines, when there is nothing to eat”.
Man: “Holy Father, the Almoner sends a lot of aid from you”.
Woman: “This is a parish which is greatly in need!”
Pope Francis: “… Much tenderness …”
Woman: “We do everything we can, we do not let ourselves be discouraged”.
Pope Francis: “Keep going! But do not argue between yourselves. Think of this: when a person comes to ask for help, a woman, a man, whoever, that person is Jesus. Because Jesus too had to ask for help when he was in exile in Egypt. It is Jesus Who is in need in that person. “But this is a person who speaks badly of others, who does not go to Church, who does not believe in God…”. But it is Jesus. It is your prayer that expands the heart and the faith: it is Jesus, He is with me, Jesus is with me today. And I will give this package to Jesus. And I give this smile to Jesus. This is your road to holiness. If you do this, you will become holy. All of you! It is easy. But do not forget: it is Jesus Who knocks on the door. I give you the blessing, but first of all let us pray to Our Lady, that she intercede for all of us and for you. Hail Mary…”
After the blessing, the Pope repeated, “And remember, every person who comes is Jesus. That good person is Jesus? Yes. That person who isn’t so good is Jesus? Yes. For me, it is Jesus. I must receive him as Jesus. That woman, who has a snake’s tongue, is Jesus? Yes. And I must, with my tenderness and my love, ensure that her tongue loses its poison and she does not speak badly any more. But it is always tenderness, love, because every person in need is Jesus, Who knocks at the door of my heart. And pray for me: I too knock at the door of your heart and ask for prayers. I do not ask for a package, but I ask for prayers, for a rosary. Thank you!”
The Pope greeted the parishioners, again thanking them for coming to pray together “for all the neighbourhood, for the parish. I greet all your Catholic faithful and also the Muslims, and I ask the Lord’s blessing for all. I also greet those who would like to have come, but for whom it was not possible. And now, a moment of silence and I will give you my blessing. Let us pray to the Virgin together. Hail Mary…”.