(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis said on Tuesday that poverty is the great teaching Jesus gave us and we can find his face among the poor and needy. Stressing that the poor are not a burden but a resource, he said he wished that both the city of Rome and the local Church community could be more attentive, caring and considerate towards those in need and that Christians could knee before a poor person. The Pope’s words came during a video message which was broadcast at a charity theatre performance organised by Caritas Roma.
“If it were not for you” was the title of the fund-raising performance at Rome’s Brancaccio theatre where the cast were not professional actors but instead the poor and needy who are being sheltered at Caritas hostels in the capital. The performers explored the theme of love that included unhappy love stories, the love they bear for their children and parents, for life and for God.
In his video message Pope Francis told the performers that they will be conveying a precious teaching not just on the theme of love, but also on our need for each other, on solidarity and how amidst all the difficulties we can discover God’s love for us.
Poverty, he said, is the great teaching that Jesus gave us and he assured the performers that they are never a burden for us. Instead they represent a resource without which our attempts to discover the face of Jesus would be in vain.
He concluded his address by saying how much he wished that the city of Rome could shine with the light of its compassion and its welcome for those who are suffering, who are fleeing from war and death, and respond with a smile to all those who have lost hope. Pope Francis said he wished for the same on the part of the Church community in Rome so that it may be more attentive, caring and considerate towards the poor and vulnerable and recognize in them the face of our Lord. How I wish, he said, that Christians could kneel in veneration when a poor person enters the church.