Vatican City (AsiaNews) - In today's Angelus, Pope Francis pleaded for an
end to the "clatter of arms" in Syria, calling on the parties to meet and talk in
order to stop this "war between brothers".
Speaking to the faithful in St Peter's Square, the pontiff called for the
international community to "show greater sensitivity towards this tragic
situation and do all it can to help the beloved
Syrian nation find a solution to a war that is sowing death and destruction."
"With great suffering and concern I continue to follow the situation
in Syria. The increase in violence in a war between brothers, with the
proliferation of massacres and atrocities, that we all have been able to see in
the terrible images of these days, leads me once again to raise my voice that
the clatter of arms may cease."
In recent days, in parallel with an escalation of violence in Damascus
itself, images were shown of people affected by chemical weapons, with Syria's regime
and rebels blaming each other for their use.
Referring to the matter, the pope said, "It
is not confrontation that offers hope to resolve problems, but rather the
ability to meet and dialogue."
"From the bottom of my heart," he added, "I would like to express my
closeness in prayer and solidarity with all the victims of this conflict, with
all those who suffer, especially children, and I invite you to keep alive the
hope of peace."
"Let us all together pray for peace: Mary Queen of Peace, pray for
us!" he told all those present right after his appeal.
Marian prayer, Francis gave his comments on today's Sunday Gospel (XXI during Year
C, Luke 13, 22:30), in which Jesus, on
his way to Jerusalem, calls for striving "through the narrow door"
"The image of the gate," the pope explained, "comes back several times
in the Gospel, a reference to home, the hearth where we find safety, love and
warmth. Jesus tells us that there is a gate through which we come into God's
family, the warmth of God's house, and of communion with Him. Jesus himself is
that gate (cf. John, 10:9). He is the
gateway to salvation. He leads us to the Father. And Jesus's gate is never
closed; it is always open to everyone, without distinction, without exclusion, and
without privileges. Everyone is invited to cross that gate, to cross the gate
of faith and come into his life, and let him into our life, so that He may
renew it, and give it full and lasting joy "
"Nowadays," the pontiff added," we walk by many gates that beckon us
to come in by promising happiness that lasts but a moment, that dries up by itself
and has no future. By which gate do we want to come in? Who do we want to let
in through the gate of our life? Let me say this in no uncertain terms: We are not
afraid to cross the gate of the faith in Jesus, to let him into our lives more
and more, to get out of our own selfishness, our own close-mindedness, our
indifference toward others."
"Of course, Jesus's door is a narrow one," Francis said in concluding,
"not because it is a torture chamber, but because it calls upon us to open our
hearts to Him, to acknowledge our sins, our need of his salvation, his
forgiveness, his love; to be humble enough to accept his mercy and be renewed by
Him. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that being a Christian does not mean sporting
a 'label', but represents a way of living and bearing witness to the faith in
prayer, in works of charity, in promoting justice, and in doing good. Through the
narrow gate that is Christ, our whole life must pass.
"To the Virgin Mary, Gate of Heaven,
we ask for help to cross the gate of faith, to let her Son transform our
existence as he transformed hers in order to bring the joy of the Gospel to everyone."
After he greeted various groups present the square, Francis offered everyone
his best wishes for a safe return from holidays.
"For many people," he said, "this is a time that marks the end of summer
holidays. I wish everyone a quiet return to the normal work of daily life,
looking forward to the future