The Gospel calls Christians to bring the elderly to the centre of their lives and away from the margins of families, politics and financial markets that banish them as “unprofitable waste” in society, Pope Francis said.
“Let it not happen that by pursuing the myths of efficiency and performance at full speed we become unable to slow down to accompany those who struggle to keep up,” he said in his homily at a Mass for World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in St. Peter’s Basilica on 23rd July.
“Please, let us mingle and grow together,” he said. Elderly persons in wheelchairs were seated in the front row before the altar and alongside Pope Francis. Several grandparents with young children in tow were scattered among the estimated 6,000 people in attendance in the basilica.
“We need a new alliance between young people and the elderly,” Pope Francis told them in his homily, “so that the sap of those who have a long experience of life behind them will nourish the shoots of hope of those who are growing.”
Urging the elderly and young people to engage with one another, the pope turned to the parable of the yeast in which a whole batch of bread is leavened by a small measure of yeast. He encouraged the young and elderly to “mix with one another” and to “come out from yourself to join with others.”
Such intergenerational interaction, he said, “defeats individualism and selfishness, and helps us generate a more humane and fraternal world.”
Picture: Pope Francis receives offertory gifts as he presides over Mass on World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on 23rd July 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)