At the Angelus, Pope Francis calls for "powerful prayer," because "they are the children who are hungry, thirsty, are in danger of death". "The cry of these children and their parents rises to God". "Authentic prophecy is required to pay" a price that is "fatigue, rejection, persecution and defeat", as Jesus of Nazareth. Best wishes for the Lunar New Year to the peoples of the Far East. The Day for Life, to "promote births". The message of the peace of young people of Catholic Action and the launch of balloons.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - A few hours ahead of his trip to Abu Dhabi, as the first pontiff to visit the Arabian peninsula, Pope Francis launched an appeal for Yemen at his Angelus address.
The country lies just 2 thousand km from the emirate and is victim of the Saudi-led coalition war, which also includes Abu Dhabi and various Arab countries. The pontiff highlighted above all "the humanitarian crisis in Yemen", where "the population is exhausted by the long conflict and many children suffer from hunger, but it is not possible to access food stores".
The war that broke out in March 2015 pits the Houthi, desiring greater autonomy and supported by Teheran, against the Sunni leadership of the deposed president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, supported by Riyadh. Attempts at peace talks and truces have always failed. In the war, the Saudis even attack the humanitarian convoys trying to reach the port of Hudaydah. According to the UN, so far the war has caused over 10 thousand dead and at least 55 thousand injured. In fact, some independent bodies set the budget (between January 2016 and end of July 2018) at around 50,000 deaths. Children are among the primary victims, dying under the bombs or from very serious malnutrition. Recently UN experts have said that at least 14 million Yemenis are at risk of hunger. "The cry of these children and their parents - Francis continued - rises up to the presence of God. I appeal to the interested parties and the international community to urgently encourage compliance with the agreements reached, ensure the distribution of food and work for the good of the population. I invite everyone to pray for our brothers and sisters of Yemen ". And he recited Hail Mart, together with the pilgrims in St. Peter's Square.
"Let us pray earnestly - he added - because they are children who are hungry, thirsty, they are in danger of death".
Previously, the Pope commented on the passage from today's Gospel (4 Sun. for year C, Luke, 4, 21-30), which tells of the refusal that the inhabitants of Nazareth oppose to Jesus, demanding He preform the miracles of Capernaum. "God - Francis said - wants faith, they want miracles; God wants to save everyone, and they want a Messiah to their advantage ".
"This Gospel - he continued - shows us that the public ministry of Jesus begins with a rejection and with a threat of death, paradoxically on the part of his fellow citizens. Jesus, in living the mission entrusted to him by the Father, knows that he must face fatigue, rejection, persecution and defeat. A price that, yesterday like today, true prophecy is called to pay. This harsh rejection, however, does not discourage Jesus, nor does it stop the path and fruitfulness of his prophetic action. He goes on his way (see verse 30), trusting in the love of the Father.
Even today, the world needs to see in the disciples of the Lord of the prophets, that is, of the courageous and persevering people in responding to the Christian vocation. People who follow the 'push' of the Holy Spirit, who sends them to proclaim hope and salvation to the poor and the excluded; people who follow the logic of faith and not of miraculousness; people dedicated to the service of all, without privileges and exclusions. In short: people who open themselves to accept in themselves the will of the Father and commit themselves to bear witness to it faithfully to others ".
The Pope then recalled that today in Italy we celebrate the Day for Life, entitled "It's life, it's the future", "to promote births" in ways that involve "the institutions and the various cultural and social realities, recognizing the family as the generative womb of society ".
He also greeted the Eastern world for the Lunar New Year, which is celebrated next February 5th, under the sign of the Pig. "On February 5 - he said - in the Far East and in various parts of the world, millions of men and women will celebrate the lunar new year. I would like to greet everyone warmly, hoping that in their families those virtues are practiced that help us to live in peace with ourselves, with others and with creation. I invite you all to pray welcome and nurture the gift of peace".
Finally, Pope Francis greeted the children of the Catholic Action of the diocese of Rome who, at the end of a month dedicated to the theme of peace ("Peace is needed"), visited him. A boy and a girl, flanked the Pope at the window of his study, read a message of peace and then, together with the children in the square, released balloons, which Francis said to be "a symbol of our prayers for peace in world".
The Pope ended the Angelus appointment by asking for prayers for his upcoming trip to Abu Dhabi. His departure from Rome was scheduled at 13.