MANILA, July 1, 2014 — Cagayan De Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma on Saturday called on the Catholic faithful to heed the call of Pope Francis to live by “joy, mercy, and openness to the poor”.
“It is a challenge for us, Christians, members of the Church, to always exude that joy of the Gospel and mercy again coupled with joy,” he said during the Pope’s Day mass held at the Manila Cathedral.
Mercy + joy
Echoing the words of the Supreme Pontiff, Ledesma noted that “mercy is the greatest of the virtues” and that the Church “must be a place of mercy, freely given where everyone can feel welcome, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.”
“In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis said that the joy of the Gospel is the heart and life of Paul who encountered Jesus. As negatively mentioned, there are Christians whose life is being like Lent without Easter,” Ledesma said, referring to the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis on the “Joy of the Gospel.”
Ledesma also urged the faithful to imitate the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul by living in solidarity with others.
Church of the poor
Ledesma called on the laity to turn against “an economy of exclusion and inequality,” noting that the “globalization of indifference” must be battled with “generous solidarity among all of us, a sense of unity that we are called together in one human family.”
“[Pope Francis] wants a Church that is poor and for the poor. He cites the scandal of extreme poverty and inequality in the world today, and if we look at it in macro level, indeed the wealth and the resources of the world will be more than enough to provide a decent living for everyone on this planet,” the archbishop said.
Ledesma cited the Holy Father’s observation that the worst kind of discrimination the poor suffer from is not scarcity in material riches, but the lack of spiritual guidance.
“A preferential option for the poor must mainly translate into a privileged and preferential religious care,” Ledesma added. (Jennifer Orillaza)