During the Angelus, Pope Francis praises Lebanon as a " model of living together". With “solidarity and compassion,” Lebanon’s bishops, priests and religious should lead a life “marked by evangelical poverty, without luxury, because your people are suffering, suffering a lot.” Remembering the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the pontiff calls for “a world completely free from nuclear weapons.” Amid the storm, keep “your heart turned to God, to his love, to his Fatherly tenderness.” Indeed, “The boat at the mercy of the storm is the image of the Church,” and sometimes she “may have the temptation to think that God has abandoned her.” AsiaNews continues its campaign to “Help devastated Beirut”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis called on the bishops, priests and religious of Lebanon “to be close to the people" in the moment of difficulty their “beloved country” is currently going through.
Right after the Angelus prayer with the pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square, the Pope mentioned 6 and 9 August 1945, the days when the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, urging the faithful to pray for “a world completely free of nuclear weapons.”
The pontiff also noted that in the past few days, his “thoughts often turn to Lebanon,” to “Last Tuesday’s catastrophe, which beckons “everyone, beginning with the Lebanese people, to work together for the common good of this beloved country.”
The Mideast country, he added, “has a particular identity, fruit of the encounter of different cultures, that has emerged over the course of time as a model of living together. Certainly, this coexistence is now very fragile, we know this, but I am praying that, with God’s help and everyone’s genuine participation, it may be reborn free and strong.”
At the same time the Holy Father invited “the Church in Lebanon to be close to the people on their Calvary, as she has been doing in these days, with solidarity and compassion, with heart and hands open to sharing.” Hence, “I ask the bishops, priests and religious of Lebanon to be close to the people and to live a style of life marked by evangelical poverty, without luxury, because your people are suffering, suffering a lot.”
Finally, as he did in last Wednesday's audience, the Pope urged the international community to provide "generous aid".
Before this, Francis commented on today's Gospel (Matthew 14:22-33, 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A), which is centred on Jesus walking on the lake waters to save Peter who is about to sink.
“This narrative is a call to abandon ourselves trustingly to God in every moment of our life, especially in moments of trial and turmoil. When we have strong feelings of doubt and fear and we seem to be sinking, we must not be ashamed to cry out, like Peter: ‘Lord, save me’ (v. 30).
“Having faith means, amid the storm, keeping your heart turned to God, to his love, to his Fatherly tenderness. Jesus wanted to teach this to Peter and the disciples, and also to us today. He is well aware that our faith is lacking and that our journey can be troubled, hindered by adverse forces. But he is the Risen One, the Lord who went through death in order to lead us to safety. Even before we begin to seek him, he is present beside us. And in lifting us back up after our falls, he helps us grow in faith.
“The boat at the mercy of the storm is the image of the Church, which in every age encounters contrary winds, at times very harsh trials: let us think of certain long and persistent persecutions of the last century. In those situations, she may have the temptation to think that God has abandoned her. But in reality, it is precisely in those moments that the witness of faith, love and hope shines the most. It is the presence of the Risen Christ in his Church that gives the grace of witness unto martyrdom, from which sprout new Christians and fruits of reconciliation and peace for the entire world.
“May the intercession of Mary Most Holy help us to persevere in faith and fraternal love when the darkness and storms of life set our trust in God into crisis.”
In order to help the people of Beirut and Lebanon, as well as Caritas Lebanon, AsiaNews is launching a campaign to ‘Help devastated Beirut’. Those who want to contribute can make a donation to:
- International Bank Account Number (IBAN): IT78C0306909606100000169898
- Bank Identifier Code (BIC): BCITITMM
- Reason for transfer: AN04 – HELP DEVASTATED BEIRUT