Francis celebrated his last Mass in Peru before returning to Rome before 1.3 million people. In his address, he urged them not to flee, but to resist the temptation to hide from "daily situations of pain and injustice". He also noted that “Jesus invites his disciples to experience in the present a taste of eternity: the love of God and neighbour. He does this the only way he can, God’s way, by awakening tenderness and love of mercy.”
Lima (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated his last Mass before leaving Peru for Rome at the Las Palmas airbase before a crowd of 1.3 million people. In his message, the pontiff said that Jesus walking in our cities is the “antidote to the globalization of indifference” that ignores “the many ‘non-citizens’, ‘the half-citizens’ or ‘urban remnants’ [. . .] found along our roadsides, living on the fringes of our cities, and lacking the conditions needed for a dignified existence.”
In his exhortation not to flee from the temptation to hide ourselves from “daily situations of pain and injustice,” the Holy Father turned to the story of Jonah to underscore that God “wants to be with us always” in order “to enter into our individual, concrete histories”.
We too can experience Jonah’s temptation to escape and hide, given the situations of injustice we see in our cities. The latter are spaces of flight and mistrust, where “We become indifferent, and as a result, anonymous and deaf to others, cold and hard of heart. When this happens, we wound the soul of our people.”
“After they arrested John, Jesus set out to Galilee to proclaim the Gospel of God. Unlike Jonah, Jesus reacted to the distressing and unjust news of John’s arrest by entering the city; he entered Galilee and from its small towns he began to sow the seeds of a great hope: that the Kingdom of God is at hand, that God is among us. The Gospel itself shows us the joy and the rippling effect that this brought about: it started with Simon and Andrew, then James and John (cf. Mk 1:14-20). It then passed through Saint Rose de Lima, Saint Turibius, Saint Martin de Porres, Saint Juan Macías, Saint Francisco Solano, down to us, proclaimed by that cloud of witnesses that have believed in him. It has come to us in order to act once more as a timely antidote to the globalization of indifference. In the face of that Love, one cannot remain indifferent.
“Jesus invites his disciples to experience in the present a taste of eternity: the love of God and neighbour. He does this the only way he can, God’s way, by awakening tenderness and love of mercy, by awakening compassion and opening their eyes to see reality as God does. He invites them to generate new bonds, new covenants rich in eternal life.
“Jesus walks through the city with his disciples and begins to see, to hear, to notice those who have given up in the face of indifference, laid low by the grave sin of corruption. He begins to bring to light many situations that had killed the hope of his people and to awaken a new hope. He calls his disciples and invites them to set out with him. He calls them to walk through to the city, but at a different pace; he teaches them to notice what they had previously overlooked, and he points out new and pressing needs. Repent, he tells them. The Kingdom of Heaven means finding in Jesus a God who gets involved with the lives of his people. He gets involved and involves others not to be afraid to make of our history a history of salvation (cf. Mk 1:15, 21).
“Jesus continues to walk on our streets. He knocks today, as he did yesterday, on our doors and hearts, in order to rekindle the flame of hope and the aspiration that breakdown can be overcome by fraternity, injustice defeated by solidarity, violence silenced by the weapons of peace. Jesus continues to call us; he wants to anoint us with his Spirit so that we too can go out to anoint others with the oil capable of healing wounded hopes and renewing our way of seeing things.
"Jesus continues to walk and to awaken hope, a hope that frees us from empty associations and impersonal analyses. He encourages us to enter like leaven into where we are, where we live, into every corner of our daily life. The kingdom of heaven is among you, he tells us. It is there wherever we strive to show a little tenderness and compassion, wherever we are unafraid to create spaces for the blind to see, the paralyzed to walk, lepers to be cleansed and the deaf to hear (cf. Lk 7:22), so that all those we had given up for lost can enjoy the resurrection. God will never tire of setting out to meet his children. How will we enkindle hope if prophets are lacking? How will we face the future if unity is lacking? How will Jesus reach all those corners if daring and courageous witnesses are lacking?
“Today the Lord calls each of you to walk with him in the city, in your city. He invites you to become his missionary disciple so that you can become part of that great whisper that wants to keep echoing in the different corners of our lives: Rejoice, the Lord is with you!”