Catholic World News

Pope Francis: heaven’s doors are closed to those who close their hearts to the poor

May 18, 2016

Continuing his series of Wednesday catecheses on mercy, Pope Francis devoted his May 18 general audience to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

“Lazarus, lying outside the closed door of the rich man’s house, longs to eat even the scaps that fall from his table,” Pope Francis told the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, according to the official English-language synthesis of his remarks. “Lazarus represents the silent cry of the poor in every time and place, and the paradox of a world in which astonishing wealth coexists with scandalous poverty.”

“When both men die, their situation is reversed,” the Pope continued. “Lazarus, whose name means 'God helps,' is brought to the bosom of Abraham, while the rich man is in torment, thirsting even for a drop of water.”

The Pope added:

Abraham has to explain to him how, in the mystery of divine justice, the mercy we seek from God is linked to the mercy we show to others. The doors of heaven are closed to those who close their hearts to the needs of the poor. Only conversion can open hearts to the truth of God’s word and its saving message, which, as Our Lady sings in her Magnificat, overturns the situations of this world by the triumph of God’s justice and mercy.

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  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - May. 18, 2016 7:45 PM ET USA

    Yes, and Jesus expects us to help the poor by personally helping them and donating directly to them or to charities that help them. Jesus never advocated for a Roman welfare state where money is confiscated from one group and given to another. That's doing "charity" with someone else's money with some of it siphoned off by the government bureaucrats.