Pope Francis urges politicians to put country above self, party

Pope Francis called on political leaders around the world to put the welfare of the people above their own and their party’s interests amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We pray today for the men and women who have a vocation to politics; politics is a high form of charity,” said the pontiff during his April 20 Mass at the Casa Santa Marta in the Vatican, reported Vatican News.

He went on to pray that political parties might “seek together the good of the country and not the good of their own parties” during the global health crisis.

Pope Francis has been drawing attention to the effects of the crisis on society’s most vulnerable sectors, particularly the homeless and migrants.

On Divine Mercy Sunday, he called for an all-embracing vision of the world after the pandemic, even as he warned against what he described as “an even worse virus.”

He said that while the world is looking forward to a “slow and arduous recovery” from the pandemic, “there is a danger that we will forget those who are left behind.”

On April 20, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading in which Nicodemus, a Pharisee, tells Jesus that he believes he is “a teacher who has come from God for no one can do these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.”

Pope Francis said Nicodemus’ confession stops before the “therefore,” the “what next,” hindering him from understanding fully the message of Jesus and from making the leap he needs to make.

Responding to Nicodemus, Jesus said: “Unless one is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus understood Jesus’ statement literarily, said the pope, so he asks how one can be born again as an adult. Jesus explained that to be born from above is to be born of the Spirit.

“The Spirit is unpredictable,” said Pope Francis.

“Being a good Christian is not only fulfilling the commandments,” added the pontiff. “If you stop there, you are not a good Christian,” he said.

To be a good Christian is “to let the Spirit enter into you and take you where He wants you.”

Pope Francis explained that in the face of difficulties, the disciples went to the Lord in prayer and they were filled with the Spirit. Thus, “prayer is what opens the door to the Spirit and gives us freedom.”

Concluding his homily, the pope prayed that through prayer, everyone might receive the gift of courage from the Holy Spirit.

“May the Lord help us to always be open to the Spirit, so that it will be He who brings us ahead in our life of service to the Lord,” said the pontiff.

Watch the pope celebrate the Mass below.

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