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Pope Benedict visits a soup kitchen

January 4, 2007

H/T: Amy Welborn

It’s truly wonderful to see the Pope himself visit a soup kitchen, where we see our Lord in the most vulnerable and unheard members of our society.

Greeted by cries of “long live the pope” by hundreds of people gathered in the building, Benedict XVI recalled how Jesus “the bread that came down from heaven… the bread of life… in some way makes himself visible every day in this soup kitchen, where the aim is not only to give people something to eat but to serve them without distinctions based on race, religion or culture”.

In the Caritas soup kitchen, in the words of the pope, it is possible to touch with our hands the presence of Christ in our brothers who are hungry and in those who offer them to eat. Here, we can feel how, when we love our neighbour, we get to know God better: in the grotto of Bethlehem, in fact, He manifested himself to us in the poverty of a newborn child needy of everything. The message of Christmas is simple: God came among us because he loves us. God is love: not a sentimental love but a love that became a total gift, up to the sacrifice of the Cross.”

Benedict XVI recalled the words spoken by John Paul II in 1992 when he visited the same institution: “The suffering man belongs to us”. The phrase is recorded on a plaque placed at the entrance of the soup kitchen dedicated to Pope Wojtyla and unveiled today by Benedict XVI.

I love this line: “God is love: not a sentimental love but a love that became a total gift, up to the sacrifice of the Cross.” We are often called “sentimentalists” when we demand justice for the poor, the unborn, the abused, the sick, and the migrant. This is far from sentimental love. It is a love of “total gift” where we give ourselves to those in need. It is a love that cannot be contained in oneself. It is a love that explodes from all the tabernacles in the world to reach for our Lord in the weak, unprotected and defenseless. It is a love in action.

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