At the Angelus Pope Francis urges forgiveness in families and society. In God "justice is pervaded by mercy, while our human attitude is limited to justice". Bearing a grudge is "like an annoying summer fly". Solidarity and closeness to all the victims of the fire that broke out in the Moria (Lesbos) refugee camp which the Pope visited in 2016. May the Churches work "in favor of dialogue and in favor of reconciliation" in places of conflict between civil society and political powers. The Collection for the Holy Land.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - An appeal for forgiveness, recalling that God is both justice and mercy; another to the international community to mobilize for the refugees from the Moria detention center (Lesbos), following a devastating fire; a third appeal for reconciliation for all places where civil society demonstrates against political power. The pontiff did not mention any place in particular, but it is likely that he has Belarus, Lebanon, Iraq, Thailand, Hong Kong in mind ...
Before the Angelus prayer with several thousand pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, Francis emphasized the urgency of forgiveness: "How many broken families who do not know how to forgive each other! How many brothers who carry this grudge inside! We need to apply merciful love in all human relationships: between spouses, between parents and children, within our communities, in the Church and also in society and politics ".
Commenting on today's Gospel (Matthew 18: 21-35) of the two debtor servants, the Pope first of all showed the disproportion between the servant who "owes his master ten thousand talents, an enormous sum, millions and millions of euros" and the another servant who owes that first servant a "... very small debt, perhaps like a week's salary".
"In the parable - he explained - we find two different attitudes: that of God - represented by the king - and that of man. In the divine attitude, justice is pervaded with mercy, whereas the human attitude is limited to justice. Jesus exhorts us to open ourselves with courage to the strength of forgiveness, because in life not everything can be resolved with justice. There is a need for that merciful love, which is also at the basis of the Lord’s answer to Peter’s question, which precedes the parable: “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?” (v. 21). And Jesus replies, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times” (v. 22). In the symbolic language of the Bible this means that we are called to forgive always.”
How much suffering, how many lacerations, how many wars could be avoided, if forgiveness and mercy were the style of our life! Even in the family! How many broken families who do not know how to forgive each other! How many brothers who carry this grudge inside! We need to apply merciful love in all human relationships: between spouses, between parents and children, within our communities, in the Church and also in society and politics.
This morning, as I was celebrating mass, I was struck by the first reading of Sirach, which says: Remember the end and stop hating! Let's think about this very touching phrase. And it is not easy to forgive. In quiet moments we say: this person has done me great wrong! But I've also done great wrong. But then the grudge returns like an annoying summer fly. We must always forgive, not just in a single moment”.
"Let us entrust ourselves to the maternal intercession of the Mother of God: May she help us to realise how much we owe to God, and to remember Him always, so that our hearts may be open to mercy and goodness."
After the Marian prayer, Francis recalled the fire that devastated the refugee camp of Moria (Lesbos) on 9 September last. The pontiff had visited that camp in 2016.
"The memory of my visit there and of the appeal launched together with the ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Hieronymus of Athens to ensure a humane and dignified welcome for migrant women and men still resonates in me,” said the Pope. “To refugees, to those seeking asylum in Europe. I express solidarity and closeness to all the victims of these dramatic events”.
The Pontiff launched another appeal for all places where there are tensions between civil society and political powers. The Pope cited many situations (without mentioning the name of any country) where "numerous popular demonstrations of protest take place that express the growing unease of civil society in the face of particularly critical political and social situations".
And he added: "While I urge the demonstrators to present their demands in a peaceful way, without giving in to the temptation of aggression and violence, I appeal to all those with public and government responsibilities to listen to the voice of their fellow citizens and to meet their just aspirations by ensuring full respect for human rights and civil liberties.
Francis then invited the ecclesial communities living in such contexts to work "in favor of dialogue and in favor of reconciliation".
The Pope also recalled that today is the Collection day for the Holy Land. Traditionally, it takes place on Good Friday, but this year, due to the pandemic, it was moved to 13 September, the eve of the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
“In the current context - he explained - this collection is even more a sign of hope and solidarity with the Christians who live in the land where God became flesh and died and rose again for us. Today we make a spiritual pilgrimage, in spiritu, with the imagination, with the heart, to Jerusalem, where, as the Psalm says, we find our source. And let's make a gesture of generosity for those communities”.