A constant theme of the Holy Father is our throwaway society where anything that no longer has economic value is disposed of or shunted aside. In a morning homily last fall, Pope Francis deplored the fact that we live at a time when the elderly are not valued and are put to one side because they are considered a nuisance.
This week he said that the worst thing about growing old is not becoming weaker or infirm, but the “abandonment, the exclusion, the deprivation of love” in today’s “throwaway culture.” The Pope’s remarks came in a written message to the General Assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Academy’s founding.
In a homily last fall at Casa Santa Marta, Pope Francis called on the faithful to care for grandparents, for without them there is no future, adding, “A people that does not care for its grandparents, a people that does not respect their grandparents, does not have a future because they do not have a memory…they have lost their memory.”
In his letter to the Pontifical Society the Pope wrote, “human relationships are always relationships of reciprocal dependence.” The degree of dependence on others varies during one’s lifetime but is greatest at the early and later stages. We are all destined to experience times of dependence and of independence.
We must respond to the Holy Father’s concern by treasuring those loved ones who have lost their independence. Sadly there are many in our diocese who have been excluded and abandoned. A good Lenten resolution would be to visit a nursing home once a week to see a friend or relative or seek out someone who never has a visitor. You are sure to find Jesus there.
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