After having celebrated Mass with the indigenous peoples of Chiapas, Francis met with Mexican families at the “Victor Manuel Reyna” Stadium in Tuxtla Gutierrez. He was welcomed by the Governor of the State of Chiapas who handed him the keys of the city. The dialogue with married couples is introduced by the greetings of the Archbishop S.E. Msgr. Fabio Martínez Castillo. Francis began to talk to the present families straight away. “Good afternoon,” – he exclaimed.
Four families tell the Pope their stories: a disabled boy suffering from muscular dystrophy, the son of a married couple who have celebrated 50 years of marriage, two divorced and remarried, and an unmarried woman with five children. Thousands of people hail Francis. He listens to the families and to the young people of Chiapas. Bergoglio thanks the Lord for being present on Mexican soil, “it is nice to be here, it is nice to be in this place which is homely thanks to you. I thank God for your faces and your presence, I thank God for the palpitation of His presence in your families. “The Pope thanks in a special way those who bore witness with their own experience: “You have opened the doors of your homes and your lives; you have allowed us to sit at your table, where you share the bread that feeds you and the sweat of daily difficulties. The bread of joy, hopes, dreams and the sweat of bitterness, disappointments, and falls. Thank you for letting us enter your families, sit at your table, be in your home.”
Answering Manuel, the paraplegic boy, Francis says that the expression “give courage (Echarle ganas)” struck him very much. This is what the Holy Spirit does, “he gives us courage, gives us reasons to keep betting, dream and build a life that has the flavor of home and family”. This is God’s plan. “When everything seemed lost that night in the Garden of Eden – the Pope continued -, God the Father has given courage to the young couple and showed that not everything was not lost. When the people of Israel felt that there was meaning in their crossing the desert, God the Father incited it to have courage with manna. When the fullness of time came, God the Father gave courage to humanity by giving us his Son forever.”
Throughout our lives, we too have “experienced that many times and in different ways, God the Father has given courage to our lives”. Francis asks the audience a question: “Why is it impossible for Him to do otherwise? Because His name is love, His name is free gift, His name is devotion, His name is mercy. Jesus, who spent all his life, till death, to make the Kingdom of God possible, has allowed us to see those things in all their force and clarity”. This kingdom has the flavor of family”. This Kingdom is possible only with Jesus.
Francis prays for teenagers, those “who are discouraged and go through difficult moments, without impetus, without force, apathetic”. It is because of loneliness, “they have no one to talk to. Insecurity, scarcity, very often not being able to satisfy even our basic needs can lead to despair, can make us feel utter anxiety because we do not know how to go on. All this is even truer when we have children to provide for. Job insecurity does not threaten only our stomach, but may even threaten our soul. There is a kind of insecurity which can be very dangerous, which can creep into us without us realizing it, and it is the one that comes from loneliness and isolation”. The Pope calls it “a bad adviser”.
“The biggest temptation we face is staying on our own – Bergoglio continues –, and doing so does not give us courage at all, on the contrary, it dries up our soul as a moth” To fight insecurity, “laws that protect and guarantee the basic needs for every family and person, so as to allow it to grow through study and a decent work” does not suffice. You need the love of God that each of us experiences “serving and helping the others. Laws and personal commitment are a good combination to break the cycle of insecurity.”
Nowadays, the “family is being questioned. It is generally thought that it is an outdated model, unable to find a place in our society, which under the pretext of modernity, encourages more and more a system based on the insulation model.” The Pope knows that family life is not an easy one, “it is often painful and tiring, but, as I have often said with reference to the Church (and I think it can be applied also to the family): I prefer a wounded family that tries to combine love every day, to a society that is sickly closed and comfortably afraid of love. I prefer a family that tries over and over again to a narcissistic society obsessed with luxury and comfort. I prefer a family with a faced tired because of constant sacrifice to rouged faces which do not know tenderness nor compassion.”
“They asked me to pray for you and I want to start doing it right now. You, dear Mexicans, have an advantage, – Francis said -. You have the Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe who wanted to visit these lands. It gives us the certainty that, through her intercession, solitude and loneliness will not defeat that dream called family. She is always ready to defend our families, our future; she is always ready to give us courage by giving us her Son. I invite you, therefore, to join hands and recite Hail Mary together.”
After the speech, Bergoglio confirms the marriage vows of the present couples and wishes all the the engaged couples to experience soon the joy of being spouses. They sing Our Father, and before the final blessing, the Pope asks to pray Saint Joseph to intercede for all the families of the world. Cheered by the crowd, Francis flew back to Nunciature in Mexico City, where he will spend the night.