Pope thanks pharmacists for helping people during pandemic

Pope Francis said pharmacists “work so much to help the sick to heal from illness. Let us pray for them.” (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Junno Arocho Esteves 
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis said he was called out for forgetting to thank a group of people who also are on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus epidemic: pharmacists.

At the beginning of each of his daily Masses, the pope prays for various people who are suffering or are working to alleviate the suffering of those affected by COVID-19, including doctors, nurses, volunteers.

However, during the live broadcast of his early morning Mass April 16, the pope said he was “scolded” because he “forgot about pharmacists.”

Pharmacists “work so much to help the sick to heal from illness. Let us pray for them, too,” he said.

In his homily, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St. Luke in which Jesus appears to the apostles after his encounter with two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

The pope noted that although Jesus has appeared to several people after his resurrection, the apostles were still “startled and terrified” at seeing him alive.

The Gospel’s description of the apostles being “incredulous for joy” was one of his favorite passages, the pope said, because it describes a joy so great that the apostles were “paralyzed” by it.

Pope Francis said that Christians are called not just to be joyful, but to be “full of joy, an overflowing joy that overwhelms us,” he said.

After the Resurrection, the New Testament repeatedly describes the apostles as “full of joy,” he said, because “joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit; it is not the result of emotions bursting from something wonderful. No, it is more than that.”

“Without the Holy Spirit, one cannot have this joy,” the pope said. “To receive the joy of the Spirit is a grace.”

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