On the day we welcome many of our infirm parishioners to mass and a tea party, I offer a few thoughts from Pope Francis…
“It does me so much good to read when Joseph and Mary took the Baby Jesus – the Baby was 40 days old – to the Temple; and they found two grandparents there [Simeon and Anna], and these grandparents were the wisdom of the people; they praised God that this wisdom could go forward with this Baby. It was grandparents who received Jesus in the Temple, not the priest: he came later. It was the grandparents; read this in Luke’s Gospel, it’s very beautiful!
Dear grandfathers and grandmothers, thank you for the example you give of love, of dedication and of wisdom. Continue to witness these values with courage!
The Church looks at elderly people with affection, gratitude and great esteem. They are an essential part of the Christian community and of society. In particular, they represent the roots and memory of a people. You are an important presence, because your experience constitutes a precious treasure, indispensable to look to the future with hope and responsibility. Your maturity and wisdom, accumulated over the years, can help the young, supporting them on their path of growth and of openness to the future, in the search for their way.
Many elderly generously use their time and the talents God has given them, to open themselves to help and support others. I am thinking of all those who make themselves available in the parishes for truly valuable service: some dedicate themselves to the adornment of the Lord’s house; others are catechists, animators of the liturgy and witnesses of charity. And what to say of their role in the family realm? How many grandparents take care of their grandchildren, transmitting with simplicity to the littlest the experience of life, the spiritual and cultural values of a community and of a people!
In a world such as the present, in which often only strength and appearance are valued, you have the mission to witness the values that truly count and that remain for ever. Precisely as persons of the so-called third age, you – or better “we” because I am also part of it – are called to work for the development of the culture of life, witnessing that at every stage of its existence life is a gift of God and has its beauty and importance, even if marked by frailty.”