Pope: peace is not built by the sword, but by being ready to suffer rejection and persecution
On the eve of the Assisi Day, Benedict XVI invites us to pray that "in a world still torn by hatred, division, selfishness, war," it may "encourage dialogue between people of different religious affiliation and bring a ray of light that can illuminate the minds and hearts of all men, so that rancor give way to forgiveness, division to reconciliation, hatred to love, violence to gentleness, and peace reign in the world. "
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "If we want to be bearers of Christ's kingdom of peace, we must be willing to pay in person, to suffer misunderstanding, rejection and persecution in first person. The sword of the conqueror does not build peace but the sword of the sufferer who knows how to gift his life. " On the eve of the Assisi Day, where "the meeting of religious leaders for peace will take place," Benedict XVI thus defined the attitude that Christians should have in the search for peace in the world.
A Liturgy of the word, took the place of today’s general audience. Bad weather prevented the meeting from being held out in the open, instead it was held in two stages to allow Benedict to meet with about 15 thousand present: first in St Peter's Basilica and then in the Paul VI.
Peace was, of course, the heart of the Pope’s homily who, at the end of the liturgy, also called for prayers for the people of Turkey "hard-hit by the earthquake" and support for the rescuers.
Previously, referring to the meeting tomorrow, in which an estimated 300 representatives of different faiths are expected to participate, Benedict XVI renewed his invitation for prayers that may help "encourages dialogue between people of different religious affiliations and bring a ray of light that can illuminate the minds and hearts of all men, so that rancor give way to forgiveness, division to reconciliation, hatred to love, violence to gentleness, and peace reign in the world".
Christians know that peace is a gift from God and that "we ask God for the gift of peace, let us pray that He will make us instruments of peace in a world still torn by hatred, division, selfishness, war." And recalling the theme of tomorrow’s meeting "Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace," Benedict XVI explained that it means "the commitment that we want to renew with people of other religions and even non-believers for the promotion of the true good of humanity and peace-building. As I have already mentioned, Those journeying to God cannot but transmit peace, those who are building peace cannot but draw close to God".
But "how to build a world of peace of which Christ is King?" Jesus "is not a king who dominates with political and military power, but a king who rules with gentle humility and meekness before God and men ". "The commandment that Christ gave to his apostles and to us all is' go and make disciples of all nations. Here I am with you always, to the end of the world '. The messengers of peace must begin a journey, responding to his invitation, go to out into the world, but not with the power of war or the force of power. Christ does not guide them with powerful tools, but as lambs among wolves. St. John Chrysostom - added the Pope - says that as long as we are lambs we will win and even though surrounded by many wolves, we will be able to overcome them, but if we become wolves we will be defeated because without our pastor. Christians - Pope Benedict XVI's warned- should never be tempted to become a wolf among wolves, it is not with the power of force and violence which the kingdom of Christ is spread, but with love, even love toward our enemies. Jesus did not conquer the world by force of arms but by the strength of the cross. The consequence is to be ready for sacrifice, for martyrdom, so that peace may triumph in the world".
"The Cross is the new arrow of peace, sign and instrument of reconciliation, forgiveness, understanding, a sign that love is stronger than all violence and oppression, is stronger than death: that evil is overcome with good, with love. "