Cardinal Jose Robles Ortega, Archbishop of Guadalajara, speaking on behalf of his fellow bishops, discussed the role of seniors in a message for Mexico’s Senior Citizens' Day, celebrated Aug. 28.
The bishops noted the “great deeds” of older persons recounted in the Bible, giving as examples Simeon and Anna, and in particular Moses, who “was already old when God entrusted to him the mission of liberating his people from slavery in Egypt.”
These examples, the bishops said, demonstrate the words of the Psalmist that “the just … shall bear fruit even in old age.”
However, they warned that “some nations, yielding to a mentality that prioritizes immediate usefulness and productivity, have come to see old age in a negative way, even relegating and forgetting about senior citizens.”
They lamented the “scorn and abandonment” experienced by so many elderly, citing also poverty, exploitation, and lack of health care services available to them.
“Human fragility, which is more apparent in old age, shows us that we all need each other and that we mutually enrich each other. Senior citizens need young people and young people need senior citizens who, as Pope Francis has said, communicate to the family 'that patrimony of humanity and of the faith that is essential for all of society.'”
The bishops recommended the gift of faith, which helps all people “to realize that they are never alone,” that “God is with them, giving meaning to their lives and offering them such great and definitive hope that makes all their efforts along the way worthwhile.”
Calling life “a pilgrimage towards our heavenly home,” Cardinal Robles, on behalf of the bishops, said that “old age is the final leg of this journey.”
“Although it is normal that seniors find this last step difficult, faith gives them the certainty that those who believe in Christ 'will never die.'”
This hope, the bishops added, “should strengthen them to continue giving the best of themselves to others. They have so much to give to the new generations, with their words, their actions, their example and their prayer.”
“Let us strive to build a society that values, respects, includes, promotes and assists the elderly,” concluded the bishops.
“Let us recognize, thank and support those praiseworthy initiatives that provide care for them and those that allow them to continue to be physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and socially active.”
The leadership of the bishops’ conference of Mexico has praised senior citizens for their “invaluable contribution to the family and to society,” criticizing negative views of the aged.