05/02/2020, 14.24
VATICAN
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Pope: In times of crisis, government leaders should overcome the differences between them

“Times of peace and times of crisis. We Christians must learn to manage both. Both. Some spiritual father said that the time of crisis is like going through fire in order to become strong. May the Lord send us the Holy Spirit so that we may know how to resist temptations in times of crisis, that we may know how to be faithful to the first words, with the hope afterwards of living times of peace.”

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis began this morning’s Mass at Casa Santa Marta with a prayer dedicated to government leaders, urging them to overcome their differences in this time of crisis.

“Let us pray for government leaders who have the responsibility of taking care of their peoples in such a time of crisis: heads of state, prime ministers, lawmakers, mayors, governors . . . That the Lord may help them and give them strength because their work is not easy. And when there are differences among them, may they understand that in times of crisis they must be very united for the good of their people because unity is greater than conflict.”

In his homily, the pontiff reflected upon today's Gospel (Jn 6:60-69) when many disciples abandoned Jesus saying that his saying was hard, but Peter said that Jesus was the Son of God.  For the pope, “in times of crisis,” one must “be very firm in one’s conviction of faith.”

"This passage from the Gospel is the end of a whole sequel that began with the multiplication of the loaves, when the crowd wanted to make Jesus king, and Jesus went off to pray; they did not find him the next day, they looked for him, took him and Jesus scolded them for looking for him that he might give them food and not the words of eternal life . . . This whole story ended here. They said to him: 'Give us this bread', and Jesus explained that the bread he would give them was his own flesh and blood.”

“Jesus said that whoever did not eat his flesh and blood would not have eternal life. Jesus also said: ‘If you eat my flesh and my blood, you shall be raised on the last day.' These are the things that Jesus said and 'this saying is hard; it is too hard. Something is not working here. This man has gone beyond limits.’ And this is a time of crisis. There were times of peace and times of crisis. Jesus knew that the disciples spoke about him: here we must distinguish disciples from the apostles. The disciples were those 72 or more, the apostles were the Twelve. In fact, Jesus knew from the beginning those who did not believe and the one who would betray him. For this reason, faced with this crisis, he reminded them: 'This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father allows it’. He mentioned again the attraction of the Father: The Father attracts us to Jesus. This is how the crisis is resolved.”

“A time of crisis,” Francis said, “is a time when choices are made, it is a time that puts us in front of decisions that we have to make: everyone in life has had and will have times of crisis. Family crises, marital crises, social crises, employment crises, many crises ... This pandemic too is a time of social crisis.”

"How to react in that time of crisis? At that time, ‘many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.' Jesus decided to question the apostles: He said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Make up your mind. Peter made his second confession. ‘Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.’”

“On behalf of the Twelve, Peter confessed that Jesus was the Holy One of God, the Son of God. [In] The first confession [he said:] ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’  Immediately afterwards, when Jesus began to explain his upcoming passion, he stopped him: ‘God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.’ [Then] Jesus scolded him. But Peter had matured a bit and here he didn’t scold. He did not understand what Jesus was saying, 'eat the flesh, drink the blood'; he did not understand. But he trusted the Master. He trusted. He made his second confession: ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’”

All “This helps us, all of us, to live [through] the times of crisis. [. . .] In times of crisis there is perseverance, silence; [we] stay where we are, still. This is not the time to make changes. It is the time to be faithful, to be faithful to God, to be faithful to the things we took from before; it is also a time for conversion because such faithfulness will inspire us to make some changes for the good, not to move away from the good.”

“Times of peace and times of crisis. We Christians must learn to manage both. Both. Some spiritual father said that the time of crisis is like going through fire in order to become strong. May the Lord send us the Holy Spirit so that we may know how to resist temptations in times of crisis, that we may know how to be faithful to the first words, with the hope afterwards of living times of peace. Let us think about our crises: family crises, neighbourhood crises, employment crises, social crises in the world, in the country ... many crises, many crises. May the Lord give us the strength – in times of crisis - not to sell the faith.”

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