During today’s morning Mass at St. Martha’s House, Pope Francis recalled several dramatic events that shocked public opinion, and – perhaps – the conscience of many people: from the homeless man who died of cold in Rome and the four Mother Teresa’s nuns killed in Yemen a few days ago, to the people who fall ill every day in the so-called “Land of fire “.
Francis takes cue from the First Reading from the Book of Daniel , which tells the story of Susanna, a fair woman whose name is “disgraced” by the “evil desire” of two judges; she prefers to trust in God, choosing to die innocent rather than giving herself to the two jailers, and is finally saved by the young prophet Daniel. Bergoglio has pointed out that even when we walk through the “darkest valley”, we shall fear no evil, for God is with us.
“The Lord – the Pope said – always walks with us, loves us, and does not abandon us.” Hence, Francis has turned his gaze to the many “evil occasions” of our time: “Today, when we see many dark valleys, misfortunes, and so many people dying of hunger and war, when we see many disabled children, too many of them … we ask their parents: ‘what is their illness?’ – ‘No one knows: its name is rare disease’. It is the one we provoke with our things: just think of the tumors it the Land of fire… When we see all this… Where is the Lord? Where are You? Are you walk at my side? That is how Susanna felt. That is how we feel. We see these four nuns who were slain: they served out of love and were murdered because of hate! … Lord, where are You?”
When faced with the mystery of suffering and gratuitous wickedness, we turn our eyes to the Christ in the Garden. “Why – continues the Pope – does a child have to suffer? I do not know: it is a mystery. It only gives me some light (not to the mind, but to the soul), Jesus says in Gethsemane: ‘Father, take this cup, but may Your will be done”’. He trusts in the will of the Father. Jesus knows that things do not end with death or anguish, and the last words he pronounces on the Cross are: ‘‘Father, into your hands I commit myself’’, then He dies. Trusting in God who is walking together with me, who is walking together with my people and with the Church is an act of faith. I commit myself to You. I do not know: I do not know why these things happen, but I trust in You. You must know the reason why”.
This – Peter’s successor continues, talking about the final victory of good over evil – “is Jesus’ teaching: those who trust in the Lord who is the Shepherd, do not lack anything.” Even when they walk through the darkest valley – he added – “he knows that evil a temporary one and that there will be no ultimate evil because the Lord, ‘because You are with me. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.'” This – he has stressed -“is a grace” we have to ask: “Lord, teach me to commit myself into Your hands, trust in Your guidance even in bad times, in the darkest moments, at the moment of death.”
“It will be good for us to think about our lives today, about the problems we have and ask for the grace to trust in God’s hands – he continues -. Think about the many people who do not receive even one last caress at the moment of dying. Three days ago a person died here, right in the street: a homeless man died of cold. In the middle of Rome, a city full of possibilities to help. Why, Lord? Not even a caress… But I trust in You, because You do not disappoint me”. “Lord, I do not understand You. It is a beautiful prayer. But without understanding, I commit myself into Your hands,” – the Pope has concluded.