Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - Peace and religious freedom for the Egyptian Copts , the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East . "May all enmity and division forever cease". This was the call this morning from Pope Francis during Mass at Casa Santa Marta concelebrated with the Patriarch of Alexandria of the Catholic Copts , Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak , during the public manifestation of "ecclesiastical communion" with the Successor of Peter.
In his homily, the Pope first turned his thoughts to the Coptic faithful, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah in the first reading, discussing an awakening of the heart in expectation of the Lord : " The encouragement 'to the faint of heart' we feel aimed at those who are experiencing insecurity and violence , sometimes because of the Christian faith in your beloved land of Egypt. 'Have courage : be not afraid ! 'Here are the consoling words which are confirmed by our fraternal solidarity. I am grateful to God for this meeting which gives us a way to strengthen your and our hope, because it is the same".
The Gospel , he said, presents " Christ who overcomes the paralysis of humanity." And moreover, "the paralysis of conscience is contagious". "With the complicity of the poverty of history and our sin, it can enter and expand in the social structures and communities to block entire peoples ." But " Christ's command can reverse the situation : 'Arise , walk!'".
"Let us pray with confidence so that peace can always rise up again from the all too recurrent and dramatic episodes in the Holy Land and throughout the Middle East. May enmity and division forever cease. May the peace agreements often paralyzed by conflicting and obscure interests quickly resume. May real guarantees of religious freedom to all finally be given, along with the right for Christians to live peacefully where they were born , in the homeland they have loved as citizens for two thousand years , to contribute as always to the common good!".
The Pope then recalled what Jesus
experienced when he fled with the Holy Family and found refuge in the "fertile
land " of Egypt. He
thus invoked the Lord to "watch over the Egyptians who seek dignity and
security on the streets of the world".
"And may we always go forward, seeking the Lord , looking for new ways, new ways to get closer to the Lord. And if you need to open a hole in the roof to get closer to the Lord all that our creative imagination of charity leads us to this: to find and to make new paths of encounter, of brotherhood, of peace. "
For his part, Patriarch Sidrak expressed his joy at the chance to celebrate Mass with the Pope , and emphasized that the Church in Egypt , in this delicate moment in history , "needs the fatherly support" of the Successor of Peter. He then invoked the gift of peace : " May the light of Christmas to be the star that reveals the path of love , unity, reconciliation and peace, gifts which my land has such great need of. I ask for your blessing , Holy Father , we eagerly await you in Egypt. "