Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "May the Lord make hearts and minds converge on concrete proposals for peace in the Holy Land”. Benedict XVI today joined his prayer to the International Day of Intercession for peace in the Holy Land, addressing the 30 thousand people in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus. A message of peace embodied in some way by the two doves released from the window of his study by two young people from Catholic Action Rome, who gathered, like every year, in St Peter's Square at the end of their "Caravan of Peace."
The pope, after the Angelus, also sent his wishes "of serenity and prosperity" to all peoples of the Far East, who in a few days time will celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Before the Marian prayer, inspired by today's Gospel of the Sermon on the Mount, the Pope had said that "the Church does not fear poverty, contempt, persecution in a society often attracted to material wealth and worldly power," because "as St. Paul writes," God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something "(1 Cor 1:27-28)."
When Jesus proclaimed "blessed" the poor in spirit, the afflicted, the merciful, those who hunger for justice, the pure in heart, the persecuted," he did not present "a new ideology," but "a teaching that comes from above and touches the human condition". A teaching that is "directed to the whole world, now and in the future ... and which can be understood and lived only in following Jesus, walking with Him". The Beatitudes, in fact, "are a new way of life, to free us from the false values of the world and open us up to true good, present and future."
"In fact, when God comforts, satisfies the hunger for justice, dry the tears of the afflicted, it means that in addition to significantly rewarding each person, He opens the Kingdom of Heaven. "The Beatitudes are the transposition of the cross and resurrection in the existence of the disciples' ((Jesus of Nazareth, Milano 2007, p. 97). They reflect the life of the Son of God who allows himself to be persecuted, despised to the point of a death sentence so that men are given salvation”.
Finally, Benedict XVI also had a thought for today’s celebration of the World Day of for Sufferers of Leprosy, "promoted in the 1950s by Raoul Follereau and officially recognized by the UN. Leprosy, although declining, still unfortunately affects many people who live in conditions of severe poverty. I assure all patients of my special prayer, which I also extend to those who assist them and, in many ways, are committed to defeating Hansen's disease. "