I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | Jesus fulfills our longings with His compassion

Leprosy was so contagious that victims had to be isolated from the rest of humanity. This caused victims to suffer from psychological illnesses associated with isolation and extreme loneliness.

Various scientific and psychiatric studies show that babies who don't receive sufficient human contact are more likely to suffer developmental delays — either physical or emotional.

In Chile and Peru, pope tackles tough issues, urges compassion, unity

Pope Francis arrived to celebrate Mass Jan. 21 at Las Palmas Air Base in Lima, Peru. Organizers estimated that 1.3 million people attended the Mass.

LIMA, Peru — Pope Francis tackled politically charged issues during his weeklong visit to Chile and Peru, decrying human trafficking, environmental destruction, corruption and organized crime in speeches before audiences that included political leaders.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Reflections on mercy over, but compassion must live on

Pope Francis touched a rosary at his general audience Nov. 30 in Paul VI hall at the Vatican. The pope concluded a series of catechesis talks on the Works of Mercy by reflecting on burying the dead and praying for the living and the dead.

VATICAN CITY — The Year of Mercy and its series of papal reflections may be over, but compassion and acts of mercy must continue and become a part of everyone's daily lives, Pope Francis said.

"Let us commit ourselves to praying for each other so that the corporal and spiritual works of mercy increasingly become our way of life," he said Nov. 30 at his general audience in the Vatican's Paul VI hall.

I THOUGHT YOU SHOULD KNOW | God’s compassion is always greater than mankind’s offenses

I want to go home to my Father" is the cry of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time. That is also the deepest cry of us as sinners.

The first reading reveals how depraved God's chosen people have become. God, depicted in human terms, precedes His threat to wipe out His people by first saying, "Let me alone...." Even in His threat of punishment, He makes Himself "vulnerable" by inviting Moses to bargain with him. Moses bargains, and God relents and renews His promises to Abraham's descendants. God's compassion is always greater than mankind's offenses.

POPE’S MESSAGE | Jesus’ compassion is a call to service, not a vague sentiment

Pope Francis kisses a sick child during his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Aug. 17.

VATICAN CITY — Jesus' compassion toward people in need isn't a vague sentiment, but a calling for Christians to bring that same compassion to others, Pope Francis said.

By miraculously feeding thousands of people, Jesus made an act "of faith and prayer" that "shows the full strength of His will to be close to us and to save us," the pope said Aug. 17 at his weekly general audience.

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