In his homily for daily Mass today at the chapel of the St. Martha Residence, Pope Francis urged people not to forget the elderly and those who have difficulty in their old age, pointing out especially that elderly or long-lived priests and nuns, saying that Moses, John the Baptist, and St. Paul remind him of “the shrines of holiness which are the nursing homes of elderly priests and religious sisters.”
All three men, Moses, John the Baptist, and Paul experienced the enthusiasm and exuberance of more youthful ministry, but at the end of their lives suffered isolation and pain. None were removed from suffering, but the Lord never abandoned them. “Moses, when young, was “the courageous leader of the People of God who fought against his enemies in order to save his people, however at the end of his life he is alone on Mount Nebo, looking at the promised land,” the Holy Father said. John the Baptist had a vibrant ministry probably for many years, but “finished under the power of a weak, corrupt and drunken ruler who in turn was under the power of an adulteress’ jealousy and the capricious wishes of a dancer.”
In the case of St. Paul, he wrote of his many sufferings and of the people who spurned him and rejected the teachings of Christ that he brought, but also made clear that “the Lord was close to him and gave him the strength to complete his mission of announcing the Gospel.”
The Pope closed by urging the congregation not to forget the elderly, and to especially remember older priests and religious who are in nursing homes. “Bearing the burden of solitude, these priests and sisters are waiting for the Lord to knock at the door of their hearts,” the Pontiff said.