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".
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. "
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. "