Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis once again condemned the Paris attacks today terming them an "affront to human dignity" that "can only be condemned" and spoke of a "barbarism" that "appalls us" while reaffirming that that "the use of God to justify this is blasphemy!".
Speaking to the 60 thousand people present in St Peter's Square for the Angelus, commenting on today's Gospel, in which Jesus speaks of "recent events in human history", he stressed that "our ultimate goal is our encounter with the Risen Lord "," the only victorious power and the only fixed point in the midst of the turmoil and tragedies of the world. "
"The Gospel of this third Sunday of the liturgical year – he said - proposes a part of Jesus' discourse on the events of recent human history, geared towards the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God (cf. Mk 13.24 to 32). It is a discourse that Jesus gave in Jerusalem before his last Easter. It contains some apocalyptic elements, such as wars, famines, cosmic catastrophes, "The sun will be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken" (vv. 24-25 ). However, these elements are not the essential part of the message. The core is Jesus himself, the mystery of his person and of his death and resurrection, and his return at the end of time. "
"Our final goal is our encounter with the Risen Lord. This is our goal. We do not know a time or a place, but we encounter a person: Jesus. Therefore, the problem is not 'when' this will happen, the warning signs of the end times, but being ready. It’s not about knowing 'how' these things will happen, but 'how' we must act now, while we are waiting for them. We are called to live the present, building our future with serenity and trust in God. The parable of the fig tree that sprouts, as a sign of summer drawing near (cf. vv. 28-29), tells not to allow the prospect of the end distract us from the present life, instead helping us look at our days in a perspective of hope. It is very hard to live in reality, hope: the smallest of the virtues, but the strongest. And our hope has a face: the face of the Risen Lord, that "with great power and glory" (v. 26), which shows his crucified love transfigured in his resurrection. The triumph of Jesus at the end of time will be the triumph of the Cross, proof that the sacrifice of oneself for love of neighbor, in imitation of Christ, is the only victorious power and the only fixed point in the midst of the turmoil and tragedies of the world".
"The Lord Jesus is not only the culmination of our earthly pilgrimage, but a constant presence in our lives, he is always beside us, always with us; so when he speaks of the future, and propels us towards it, it is always to lead us back to the present. He stands against false prophets, the visionaries who foresee the coming of the end of the world, and against fatalism. He walks with us, he loves us. He wants to protect his disciples of every age from the curiosity for dates, forecasts, horoscopes, and focuses our attention on today's story. I'd like to ask you to answer this question in your heart: how many of you read the daily horoscope? And when you want to read the horoscope look to Jesus. He will make you better. He recalls us to - yes – waiting and vigilance, which exclude impatience and lethargy, the tendency to live only for the future and that of remaining imprisoned in the present and in worldliness. Even to this day there is no shortage of natural and moral disasters, and even adversity and hardships of all kinds. Everything passes - the Lord reminds us -; only he, his word remains as a guiding light and refreshes our steps and always forgives us, because he is next to us. We only need only look at him and he changes our heart. May the Virgin Mary help us to trust in Jesus, the solid foundation of our lives, and to persevere with joy in his love. "
Following the Marian prayer, Francis returned to speak about yesterday’s attacks which he said "moved and saddened" him. "I wish to express my deep sorrow for the terrorist attacks late on Friday that bloodied France, causing many casualties. I extend my fraternal condolences to the President of the French Republic and all citizens. In particular my spiritual closeness to the families of those who lost their lives and those injured. "
"So much barbarism - he continued - leaves us shocked and we wonder how the human heart can conceive and create such horrible events, which have shaken not only France but the whole world. In the face of these acts one can only condemn this unspeakable affront to human dignity. I want to strongly reaffirm that the path of violence and hatred does not solve the problems of humanity and the use of God's name to justify this is blasphemy! ".
"I invite you to join me in prayer: we entrust the helpless victims of this tragedy to the mercy of God. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, inspire in the hearts of all thoughts of wisdom and intentions of peace. We ask her to protect and watch over the beloved French nation, the first daughter of the Church, Europe and the whole world. "