Vatican City, Aug 28, 2016 / 08:58 am (CNA/EWTN News).- In the wake of the Norcia earthquake, Pope Francis again offered prayers and said he hopes to visit the victims. He also reflected on the gospel call to help the poor.
“Today, Jesus gives a voice to those without a voice and asks each of us an urgent appeal to open our hearts and make our own the sufferings and anxieties of the poor, the hungry, the marginalized, refugees, those defeated by life, those who are rejected by society and the arrogance of the strongest,” the Pope said during his Angelus message on Sunday.
He discussed the gospel parable of a wedding feast where a guest who takes the highest seat of honor must move to the lowest seat when someone of a higher rank arrives.
“Jesus makes us understand the necessity of choosing the last place, to search the smallness and obscurity,” Pope Francis said Aug. 28.
Pride and vanity are the cause of many evils in the world, the Pope explained. When we lower ourselves, then it is God who lifts us up. He highlighted the duty of Christians to be humble and he warned against seeking the reward of men instead of the reward of eternal life given by God, which is a place “close to his heart.”
The Pope led pilgrims in praying a Hail Mary for victims of last week’s central Italy earthquake, saying he hopes to visit them “as soon as possible.”
Pope Francis again expressed his “spiritual closeness” to the dead and survivors of the Aug. 24 quake and said that the Church “shares their suffering and their concerns.”
The death toll from the 6.2-magnitude earthquake has reached at least 281, with more than 200 people rescued from the rubble.
The Pope’s message for the Angelus repeated his frequent call to serve those on the peripheries.
Our hospitality must not be based off of an interest in recognition or receiving something in return, the pontiff said. He quoted Jesus’ words in the Gospel that when giving a banquet “invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind; and you will be blessed because they cannot repay.”
The Pope said that in Sunday’s reading, “Jesus shows his preference for the poor and the excluded, who are the privileged of the kingdom of God, and launches the Gospel message that it is important to serve others for love of God.”