Vatican City (AsiaNews) - For an hour, the Catholic Church gathered in prayer around the world in different time zones. In front of the ostensorium, Catholics came together for a Worldwide Eucharistic Adoration, with Pope Francis in St Peter's; with the bishops in the cathedrals of almost 5,000 dioceses in the world; in parishes and convents. It was 5 pm in Rome; 5 am in the Cook Islands, on Samoa and in Honolulu; 3 pm in Reykjavik (Iceland); 10 pm in Vietnam, 11 pm in China, the Philippines and Malaysia, midnight in Korea, 3 am on Monday morning, 3 June, in Oceania.
For an hour, there was silence, singing, Bible readings and prayers written by recent popes, from Pius XII to Benedict XVI. Francis did not speak, but two of his intentions were present during worship.
The second one said: "For those around the world who still suffer slavery and who are victims of war, human trafficking, drug running, and slave labour. For the children and women who are suffering from every type of violence. May their silent scream for help be heard by a vigilant Church so that, gazing upon the crucified Christ, she may not forget the many brothers and sisters who are left at the mercy of violence. Also, for all those who find themselves in economically precarious situations, above all for the unemployed, the elderly, migrants, the homeless, prisoners, and those who experience marginalisation. May the Church's prayer and its active closeness give them comfort and assistance in hope and strength and courage in defending human dignity."
Violence and war were particularly relevant for the pope today. As he said during the Angelus this morning, he was eager for a group of 80 people to be present at the Mass celebrated in the Domus Sanctae Marthae-relatives of Italian soldiers killed in peace missions in the past 4-5 years, particularly in Afghanistan, as well as soldiers wounded in the same missions.
In its report on the homily, Vatican Radio quoted the Holy Father as saying, "Today we have come to pray for our dead, for our wounded, for the victims of the madness that is war! It is the suicide of humanity, because it kills the heart, it kills precisely that which is the message of the Lord: it kills love! Because war comes from hatred, from envy, from desire for power, and-we've seen it many times-it comes from that hunger for more power."
Throughout history, the Pope noted, we've seen "the great ones of the earth want to solve" local problems, economic problems, and economic crises "with a war. Why? Because, for them, money is more important than people! And war is just that: it is an act of faith in money, in idols, in idols of hatred, in the idol that leads to killing one's brother, which leads to killing love. It reminds me of the words of God our Father to Cain, who, out of envy, had killed his brother: 'Cain, where is your brother?' Today we can hear this voice: it is God our Father who weeps, crying for this madness of ours, who asks all of us, 'Where is your brother?' Who says to the powerful of the earth, 'Where is your brother? What have you done?'"
Yet, in today's prayer, there is no violence nor any abuse. In fact, the pope's first intention was "For the Church around the world, today, in a sign of unity, united in the adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist. May the Lord make her ever more obedient to hearing his Word to stand before the world 'without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish' (Eph, 5:27). May the Word that saves, through its faithful announcement, still resonate as the bearer of mercy and may it cause renewed commitment to love to give full meaning to pain and suffering, and give back joy and serenity."
Lastly, all this love came together in the blessing with the ostensorium with which the Pope concluded this unprecedented event in the history of the Church.