Pope Francis has said that for Christians,
knowing the Bible is not enough, they must
serve and help others or risk ignoring God.
“You can know the whole Bible, you can know
all the liturgical rubrics, you can know all
theology, but that knowledge does not make
loving automatic,” Francis said on Wednesday,
as reported by the Catholic News Service. “Love has another path.”
The Roman Catholic Church leader suggested
that to ignore the suffering of another person
is to ignore God, and delved into the parable of
the good Samaritan, as found in the Bible.
Francis said the story makes it clear that “it is
not automatic that one who frequents the
house of God and has known His mercy knows
how to love his neighbor.”
The Vatican leader argued that there is no such
thing as “true worship if it does not translate
into service to one’s neighbor. Let us never
forget: in the face of the suffering of so many
people worn out by hunger, violence and
injustice, we cannot remain spectators.”
“To ignore human suffering — what does that
mean? It means ignoring God,” he continued.
“If I do not draw near to the man or woman or
child or older person who is suffering, I cannot
draw near to God.”
The pontiff insisted that God feels people’s
suffering, and does not ignore it.
“He knows our pain. He knows how much we
need his help and consolation. He draws near
to us and never abandons us,” he added.
Francis has called on Christians to help others
throughout his time at the Vatican, focusing
strongly on the ongoing refugee crisis in recent
times. Earlier in April Francis visited the Aegean
island of Lesbos in Greece, which is hosting
many refugees fleeing Syria, and took three Muslim families, including six children, back to Rome on his papal plane.
“Though many of their graves bear no name,
to you each one is known, loved and
cherished,” Francis prayed at the refugee camp.
“Wake us from the slumber of indifference,
open our eyes to their suffering and free us
from the insensitivity born of world comfort and self-centeredness.”
Francis urged world leaders to continue
working on a solution to the ongoing civil war
in Syria, which has forced millions to flee as
“We have come to call the attention of the
world to this grave humanitarian crisis and to
plead for its resolution,” the pontiff said.
“As people of faith, we wish to join our voices
to speak out on your behalf,” the pope added.
“We hope that the world will heed these scenes
of tragic and indeed desperate need, and
respond in a way worthy of our common