Speaking to pilgrims who gathered to attend his weekly General Audience in Saint Peter’s Square today, Pope Francis said that access to food and water is a basic human right and called on believers and people of good will everywhere to take personal responsibility for the needs of their neighbours.
During the catechetical portion of the event, Pope Francis focused on feeding the hungry, the first of the Corporal Works of Mercy, saying:
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In our catechesis for this Holy Year of Mercy, we have reflected on God’s mercy and our own responsibility, as followers of Jesus, to be “merciful like the Father”. Among the corporal works of mercy, the first is that of feeding the hungry. Access to food and water is a basic human right, yet so many members of our human family, especially children, continue to suffer from hunger and thirst. While grateful for the generosity and solidarity shown in the case of many tragic situations worldwide, we must never forget that this work of mercy calls us to respond personally to concrete situations of need in our own lives. Saint James warns against ignoring the practical needs of our brothers and sisters, for faith without works is dead (Jas 2:14-17). In the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus tells his disciples to provide food for the crowds, yet he shows them that, in sharing what they have, he will give it increase. Jesus himself is the bread of life, and he makes it clear that our relationship with the Father depends on the way we respond to the hunger and thirst of our brothers and sisters.
Pope Francis also took the opportunity to greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in the Audience, including those travelling from Ireland, saying, “With prayerful good wishes that the present Jubilee of Mercy will be a moment of grace and spiritual renewal for you and your families, I invoke upon all of you joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Source: Vatican Radio