According to Vatican News, Pope Francis stressed this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta during today’s Mass for the eternal rest of Archbishop Giorgio Zur, who died late Monday night. The archbishop lived in the Casa Santa Marta with the Pope and once served as Apostolic Nuncio to Austria.
Recalling today’s Gospel from St. Mark about the multiplication of the loaves and the fishes, the Pope highlighted that the Apostles had been indifferent about whether the others had enough to eat, “not evil,” but “indifferent.”
The Pope went on to highlight how God loves us despite our indifference, as he takes the first step toward us and is compassionate and merciful.
“God loved us first. He took the first step.” God loved us, the Pope said, even though we “don’t know how to love” and “need God’s caresses in order to love.”
“This first step God takes,” Francis reminded, “is His Son. He sent Him to save us and to give meaning to our lives and to renew and recreate us.”
Reflecting on today’s Gospel, the Holy Father pointed out that Jesus fed the crowd out of compassion.
“God’s heart, Jesus’ heart, was moved when he saw these people, and he could not remain indifferent. Love is restless. Love does not tolerate indifference; love is compassionate. But love means putting your heart on the line for others; it means showing mercy.”
When the disciples went in search of food, they grew bored, “because Jesus always said the same things.” The Pope said that perhaps they began “to talk among themselves,” looking at their watches, murmuring: “It’s getting late.”
“The disciples were not interested in the people. Jesus was interested, because he cared for them. They weren’t evil, just indifferent. They didn’t know what it meant to love. They didn’t know how to show compassion. They didn’t know what indifference was…”
Throughout history, we see this pattern be repeated, Francis said: “Many people who are good, but don’t understand the needs of others, are incapable of compassion. They are good people, maybe because the love of God has not entered into their heart or they have not let it enter.”
The Pope turned to today, and lamented those who are indifferent to the homeless, and how seeing a specific homeless women in the Vatican be completely ignored, saddened him.
God’s love always comes first, Francis repeated.
“The more-common opposite of the love of God – of God’s compassion – is indifference. ‘I’m satisfied; I lack nothing. I have everything. I’ve assured my place in this life and the next, since I go to Mass every Sunday. I’m a good Christian. But leaving the restaurant, I look the other way.’”
“Let’s reflect on this,” the Pope urged: “Confronted with God who takes the first step, and who is compassionate and merciful, many times our attitude is indifference. Let us pray to the Lord that He heal humanity, starting with us.”
Pope Francis concluded, inviting those present to pray: “May my heart be healed from the sickness of the culture of indifference.”
The Holy Father, at the end of Mass, sent 80th birthday greetings to Kiko Argüello, co-initiator of the Neocatechumenal Way, whose birthday falls tomorrow January 9th, thanking him for his “apostolic zeal.”