Need a little kick in the pants today to remember that old adage, “Charity begins at home”?
In typically eloquent yet understandable fashion, our Holy Father reminds us of the importance of treating our elderly loved ones with compassion, dignity and respect:
Pope Francis began his homily by pointing to the example of Eleazar in the Book of Maccabees, an elderly teacher of the law who preferred martyrdom rather than betraying his faith. This man, observed the Pope, was steadfast in his faith and he rejected advice from his friends who urged him merely to pretend to eat a piece of pork in order to save his life. Instead of worrying about his own fate, Eleazar was thinking of the young people who would remember him and his act of courage.
Pope Francis went on to lament how nowadays we live in times when the elderly don’t count. It’s unpleasant to say it, but the elderly are put to one side because they are considered a nuisance. However, the Pope continued, old people are those who tell us the history of things, who carry forward the faith and give it to us to inherit.
To illustrate our treatment of old people, the Pope recalled a story he was told as a young child. He said there was a father, mother and their children and a grandfather. This grandfather got his face dirty when he ate soup which annoyed the father so he bought a separate table for the grandfather to eat at.. But one day the father returned home and saw one of his children playing with bits of wood and on asking his son what he was doing was told that he was building a table for Daddy to eat at when he became old.
And to cap it all off, we have today’s Tweet from @Pontifex. When I ponder the word “saint”, I immediately think of my grandparents. While they will never be formally canonized, they led lives of great faith and pointed the way to God by their examples. Unfortunately, in our hectic lives, we often forget to treasure them the way that we should.
Note to self: Call grandma. Today.
A question for you: Does your family have regular interaction with an elderly loved one, fellow parishioner or neighbor?