ROME — Pope Francis prayed Sunday for people who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus lockdowns and can no longer support their families.
In his video-streamed Mass at his Santa Marta residence in the Vatican, the pope prayed for those who are overcome by sadness because they are alone, fearful of the future, or economically strapped.
“So many people are suffering from sadness,” he said. “We pray for them today.”
The irony of the Coronavirus crisis in Italy, analysts note, is that young people are the least vulnerable to the effect so the virus but the hardest hit by the economic effects of the national lockdown, which is disproportionately striking millennials and those of generation Z.
“Millennials and centennials are the least worried about the health emergency, and are the most active in taking care of their psycho-physical well-being in quarantine, but it is on them that the greatest damage of the economic crisis will fall,” Italian media reported Thursday.
In his Sunday homily, the pope also commented on the gospel reading of the day, which recounts the encounter of the risen Christ with the disciples of Emmaus and how they recognized the Lord in the breaking of the bread.
“Many times we have heard that Christianity is not just a doctrine, it is not just a way of behaving, it is not just a culture,” Francis said. “Yes, it is all of this, but more importantly and first, it is an encounter. A person is Christian because he has met Jesus Christ and has allowed himself to be encountered by him.”
“Our heart is restless, our heart is thirsty: thirsty for an encounter with God. It seeks him, many times on the wrong paths; it gets lost then returns, it seeks him,” the pope said. “On the other hand, God is thirsty for this encounter, so much so that he sent Jesus to meet us.”
“The Lord accompanies us because he wants to meet us,” he continued. “This is why we say that the core of Christianity is an encounter: it is the encounter with Jesus.”
“May the Lord give us all this grace to meet Jesus every day, to know, to know precisely that he walks with us in all our moments. He is our pilgrim companion,” he said.