Pope Francis called on Filipinos to live with honesty and integrity and show compassion to people burdened with poverty and inequality.
In his homily at the Manila Cathedral on Friday, the pontiff asked the clergy and laymen “to build bridges, to pasture Christ’s flock and to prepare fresh paths for the Gospel in Asia at the dawn of a new age.”
“As the bishops of the Philippines have rightly taught, the Church is called to acknowledge and combat the causes of deeply rooted inequality and injustice which mar the face of Philippine society, plainly contradicting the teachings of Christ,” Francis said.
He added that Christians should live with honesty, integrity and concern for the common good.
The Holy Father warned that living a life true to the teachings of the Gospel is challenged by “materialism that can creep into our lives and compromise the witness we offer.”
The solution to this, the Pope said, is in “becoming poor ourselves.”
By stripping away complacency, “we will see things in a new light and thus respond with honesty and integrity to the challenge of proclaiming the radicalism of the Gospel in a society which has grown comfortable with social exclusion, polarization and scandalous inequality,” he added.
Francis also asked the young priests, religious and seminarians to share the enthusiasm of their love for Christ and the Church with their peers, especially the downtrodden.
He urged them to be present in the lives of people who have been “burdened by poverty and corruption, broken in spirit, tempted to give up, forced to leave school and to live in the streets.”
The Pope said the Christian message should be shared with a society that is tempted by confusing presentations of sexuality, marriage and the family.
These realities, he noted, “are increasingly under attack from powerful forces that threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation and betray the very values which have inspired and shaped all that is best in your culture.”
The Pope said Filipinos are known for their love of God, their piety and their devotion to Mary and her rosary.
He prayed that Filipino Catholics will devote their time to “selfless service” so that their love for Christ will “ever more fully penetrate into the fabric of Filipino society.”