(AsiaNews) - Driven by "concern" about the Syrian conflict that
affects "the unarmed population," Pope Francis recalled the
"scourge of kidnapping" and assured his prayers and solidarity
"for abducted persons and for their
families, and I appeal to the humanity of the kidnappers for the release of the
At the end of the Angelus with the faithful in St. Peter's Square today, the Pope recalled that the civil war in Syria has lasted "for more than two years ... and especially affects the civilian population, that aspires to a peace with justice and understanding. This tormented situation of war brings with it tragic consequences: death, destruction, significant economic and environmental damage, as well as the scourge of kidnapping. "
In the situation of insecurity and lawlessness created by the war, many kidnappings have economic reasons, for ransoms, others seem to be motivated by sectarian revenge or fanatical radicalism.
Among the highest profile personalities to be kidnapped more than a month ago are the bishops Msgr. Yohanna Ibrahim, Syrian Orthodox bishop of the diocese of Aleppo and Msgr. Boulos Yaziji, archbishop of the Greek orthodox diocese of the city. In addition there are many missing, such as the Italian journalist Domenico Quirico.
The Pope concluded his appeal by adding: "Let us always pray for our beloved Syria," greeted by a long applause from the approximately 60,000 present.
Immediately after the pontiff recalled: "This morning, I celebrated Mass with some soldiers and relatives of some fallen in peacekeeping missions, seeking to promote reconciliation and peace in the countries where so much fraternal blood is still spilled in wars that are always a madness. " And quoting a phrase of Pope Pius XII, echoed by John Paul II, he added: "Everything is lost with war, everything is gained through peace." I ask you to pray for the fallen, the wounded and their families. And I ask you now, let's get pray together. "And silence spread across the square.
Previously, the pope had emphasized the value of the feast of Corpus Domini, which "asks us to convert to faith in Providence, to share the little that we are and that we have, and to never close in on ourselves." The feast was celebrated in the Vatican last Thursday, but in Italy and other countries is celebrated on Sunday, today.
Francis commented on the Gospel of the feast, the miracle of the loaves (Luke 9, 11-17).
"Jesus - he said - is concerned about the people who have been with him for so many hours: in the thousands, and they are hungry. What to do? Even the disciples are discussing the problem, and they said to Jesus," Send the crowd, "to go into the neighboring villages to find food. Instead, Jesus says, "You give them something to eat" (v. 13). The disciples were baffled, and they said, "We have only five loaves and two fish," as if to say just enough for us.
Jesus knows what to do, but wants to involve his disciples, he wants to educate them. The disciples, have a human attitude, they look for the most realistic solution, one that does not create too many problems: Send the crowd away so they take care of themselves, after all you have already done so much for them: you preached, you healed the sick .. .
Jesus' attitude is distinctly different, and is dictated by his union with the Father and compassion for the people, but also by the desire to give a message to his disciples. Before those five loaves, Jesus thinks: This is providence! From this little, God can meet the needs of all. Jesus totally trusts the heavenly Father, he knows that for Him all things are possible. So he tells the disciples to get the people to sit down in groups of fifty - this is not accidental: this means that they are no longer a crowd, but they become community, nourished by the bread of God. Then, he takes the loaves and fishes, raises his eyes to heaven, for the blessing - this is a clear reference to the Eucharist - and then breaks them and begins to give them to the disciples, and the disciples begin to distribute bread and fish ... and they never stop! This is the miracle: more than a multiplication, it is a sharing, animated by faith and prayer. They all ate and there was some left over: This was a sign of Jesus, the bread of God for humanity.
The disciples saw, but did not grasp the message well. They were caught up, like the crowd, in the enthusiasm of success. Once again, they followed human logic and not that of God, that of service, love and faith. "
"The Feast of Corpus Christi - he concluded - asks us to convert to faith in Providence, to share the little that we are and that we have, and not to close into ourselves ever. Let us ask our Mother Mary to help us in this conversion, so that we may truly follow, more and more, that Jesus we worship in the Eucharist. "