By Francesca Merlo
Pope Francis opened his catechesis on Wednesday by inviting the faithful to “welcome the gift of hope that comes from Christ”, especially during the pandemic, in which "many risk losing hope".
The Pope explained that it is Christ who “helps us to navigate the tumultuous waters of sickness, death and injustice, which do not have the last word over our final destination.”
Continuing his catechesis on Healing the World, the Holy Father focused on the universal destination of goods and the virtue of hope.
Pandemic and social inequalities
Pope Francis went on to note that many social inequalities have been “highlighted and aggravated” by the pandemic. Many children are unable to continue receiving their education while many others instead can; some people are unable to continue their work from home, but many others can; and many nations cannot issue money to deal with the emergency without harming their financial future, while others can.
“These symptoms of inequality reveal a social illness. It is a virus that comes from a sick economy…the result of unequal economic growth, which disregards fundamental human values.”
Reflecting the design of Creation
This “sin of wanting to possess and dominate our brothers and sisters...nature and God Himself...is not the design of creation", said the Pope.
He reminded the faithful that God gave the earth to all of us to care for and cultivate. God invited us to dominate the earth in His name, cultivating and tending it like a garden, "everyone's garden".
This garden must be protected and preserved, continued the Pope. This cannot be interpreted in a way that allows us "to do whatever we want with the earth. The Pope stressed that it has been given to us by God to the whole human race. Therefore, "it is our duty to make sure that its fruit reaches everyone, not just a few people.”
Pope Francis went on to stress that, in order to ensure that what we possess "brings value to the community", political authorities have the right and the duty to "regulate the legitimate exercise of the right to ownership for the sake of the common good."
Although “property and money are instruments that can serve the mission”, we easily turn them into "individual or collective" ends, said the Pope.
When this happens, he explained, essential human values are undermined. “We forget that, being created in the image and likeness of God, we are social, creative and solidary beings, with an immense capacity to love.”
"With our gaze fixed on Jesus and with the certainty that His love is operative through the community of His disciples, we must all act together in the hope of generating something different and better. Christian hope, rooted in God, is our anchor. It moves the will to share, strengthening our mission as disciples of Christ, Who shared everything with us."
Concluding his catechesis, the Pope said that, if we take care of the goods that the Creator gives us and if we share what we possess so that no one is lacking, then indeed "we can inspire hope to regenerate a more healthy and equal world."
Finally, Pope Francis invited the faithful to "think about the children", so many of whom are suffering due to this unjust economic system. Many are dying, hungry, lacking the opportunity to an education. After the crisis, he stressed, we must be better.