Pope Francis tells the elderly to coherently live out the Faith as models for the young

During his series of catechesis on old age, Pope Francis cited the example of Eleazar as a model of concretely living out the faith into old age, choosing death rather than sacrificing his commitment to God.

Above all, the Pope stressed how Eleazar’s life served as an example to the young, and “showed that faith is not an abstract idea or a set of rules to be followed, but a commitment of one’s entire being to God.”

Today, says the Pope, “the witness of the elderly to a clear and consistent practice of the faith can counter the powerful cultural forces that would dismiss the faith as outmoded or irrelevant.” This creates a powerful responsibility for the elderly “to strengthen the fabric of society and offer the young a model of integrity and fidelity valid for every age.”

SUMMRAY OF THE POPE’S CATECHESIS IN ENGLISH:

Dear brothers and sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on the meaning and value of old age in the light of God’s word, we now consider the example of Eleazar, as found in the Second Book of Maccabees.

At a time of violent persecution, the Jewish people were being forced under pain of death to eat meat sacrificed to idols. As an elderly and respected member of the community, Eleazar was told that if he merely pretended to do so, his life would be spared. Rather than betray his faith in God, Eleazar preferred death.

His witness to the truth and dignity of the faith, even at the cost of his life, thus served as a powerful example to the young. Eleazar showed that faith is not an abstract idea or a set of rules to be followed, but a commitment of one’s entire being to God.

In our own day, the witness of the elderly to a clear and consistent practice of the faith can counter the powerful cultural forces that would dismiss the faith as outmoded or irrelevant.

By showing the dignity of a life of faith expressed in community worship and acts of charity, the elderly can help to strengthen the fabric of society and offer the young a model of integrity and fidelity valid for every age.

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially those from England, Norway, Canada and the United States of America. I also welcome the members of the various ecumenical and inter-religious groups present.

In the joy of the Risen Christ I invoke upon you and your families the loving mercy of God our Father.

May the Lord bless you!

 

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