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Pope Francis urges scholars to explore Jesus’ example of compassion, inclusion

Papua New Guinea: Pope prays for divine blessings, consolation for landslide victims

Pope Francis has urged biblical scholars to explore Jesus’ example of compassion and inclusion when faced with the suffering of others in a recent meeting with members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

According to Vatican news, Pope Francis disclosed to the commission members that the topic of human suffering and illness is close to his heart, because every Christian is called to confront issues of adversaries in a humane way.

The Pope urged the Pontifical Biblical Commission that rather than avoiding the topic of suffering like a taboo, Christians should endure trials by living in relation with others and allow God to turn the suffering into an opportunity to mature and grow in faith.

According to the Pope, Jesus exhorts Christians to take care of those living in situations of infirmity, with the determination to defeat illness. “At the same time, He gently invites us to join our sufferings to His salvific offer, as a seed that bears fruit.”

He stated further that the scripture does not offer believers a recipe book of feelings or a handbook of prepared phrases to address people in pain. However, he stated that the Bible shows Christian’s faces, encounters, and concrete stories that break the mould of religious theories that link suffering with divine punishment.

The Pope disclosed that Christ transformed human suffering by identifying with those suffering and offering it to God as a gift of love.

“Jesus does not explain suffering but bends towards those who suffer. He does not approach pain with generic encouragement and sterile consolations, but accepts its drama, allowing Himself to be touched by it,” Pope Francis stated.

He further stated that Jesus did not exclude anybody from God’s salvation but rather welcomed all and offered everyone total healing, in body, soul, and spirit.

“Through the experience of suffering and illness; we, as the Church, are called to walk together with everyone, in Christian and human solidarity, opening opportunities for dialogue and hope in the name of common fragility,” the Pope stated, disclosing that the word of God is a powerful antidote to every closure.

Similarly, the Vatican disclosed that Pope Francis will preside over various liturgical ceremonies in May, with the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff publishing a renewed calendar for the coming weeks.

According to the Vatican, the Pope will on Thursday, 9 May, celebrate Second Vespers for the Solemnity of the Ascension, during which the Bull of Indiction of the Jubilee will be proclaimed and published. It disclosed that the Solemnity commemorates Jesus’ Ascension into Heaven forty days after the resurrection.

Ten days later, on May 19, Pope Francis will offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the Solemnity of Pentecost, marking the descent of the Holy Spirit.

And the following week, for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, the Pope will preside at the Eucharistic Liturgy, while the May 26 celebration will be observed as the first World Day of Children.

According to the Vatican, the World Day of Children was suggested by 9-year-old Alessandro, during a “Popecast” with Pope Francis ahead of the most recent WYD, in Lisbon. Accordingly, the suggestion was welcomed by the Pope, who made the official announcement of the initiative in December 2023.

The Vatican further disclosed that the liturgies of Ascension Thursday and Pentecost will both take place at St. Peter’s Basilica, while the Mass for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity will be held in St Peter’s Square.