Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - The violence that continues in Ukraine and the victims of the landslide in Afghanistan were remembered today by Pope Francis in the recitation of the Regina Caeli, following a morning visit to the "Church of Rome's Polish community", St. Stanislaus in Botteghe Oscure.
Before the Marian prayer, the Pope , addressing the 70 thousand people present in St Peter's Square, commented on today's Gospel , which tells of the disciples of Emmaus who, after the death of Jesus on the way back to their village are joined by the Risen Jesus, but do not recognize him . "Seeing them so sad, He first helped them to understand that the passion and death of the Messiah were part of God's plan and announced in the Holy Scriptures, and thus rekindled a fire of hope in their hearts. At that point, the two disciples noticed an extraordinary attraction to the mysterious man, and invited him to stay with them that night. Jesus accepted and entered with them into the house. and when, at the table, he blessed the bread and broke it, they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight, leaving them in awe. Having been enlightened by the Word, they recognized the Risen Jesus in the breaking of bread, a new sign of His presence. They immediately felt the need to go back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples about their experience, of having encountered the living Jesus and recognizing Him in the act of breaking of the bread".
"The Road to Emmaus becomes a symbol of our journey of faith: Scripture and the Eucharist are the essential elements for our encounter with the Lord. Too often we go to Sunday Mass with our concerns, our difficulties and disappointments. .. Life sometimes hurts us and we go with sad hearts, to our ' Emmaus' , turning our back on God's plan. But we are welcomed by the Liturgy of the Word: Jesus explains the Scriptures and rekindles in our hearts the heat of faith and hope. Then, in the Liturgy of the Eucharist, Jesus gives us Himself, the Bread of eternal life. Mass, the living presence of the risen Jesus - a presence that is expressed in the Word and in the Eucharist - enlightens us and propels us toward Jerusalem, toward the community of brothers and the human community, where we can experience sharing and mission".
"Remember well, when you're sad, pick up the Word of God and go to church to take the Eucharist". "Dear brothers - he concluded - through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we pray that every Christian, reliving the experience of the disciples of Emmaus, especially at Sunday Mass, rediscover the grace of the transforming encounter with the risen Lord, who is always with us. There is always a Word of God that gives us guidance after our slip ups; through our weariness and disappointment there is always a breaking of bread that keeps us going on the journey".
L'Ucraina e l'Afghanistan sono stati ricordati da papa Francesco dopo la recita della preghiera, quando, rivolgendosi alle persone presenti in piazza san Pietro ha invitato "ad affidare alla Madonna la situazione in Ucraina, dove non cessano le tensioni. La situazione è grave. Prego con voi per le vittime di questi giorni, chiedendo che il Signore infonda nei cuori di tutti sentimenti di pacificazione e di fratellanza".
Ukraine and Afghanistan were remembered by Pope Francis after the recitation of the prayer , when, addressing the people present in St Peter's Square he invited them " to entrust to Our Lady the situation in Ukraine, where tensions continue unabated." The Holy Father went on to say, "I pray with you for the victims of recent days, asking that the Lord instill sentiments of peacemaking and brotherhood in the hearts of everyone".
"We also pray - he added - for those who died in the massive landslide that struck a village in Afghanistan two days ago. May almighty God, who knows the name of every one of them, welcome all into his peace, and give survivors the strength to go forward, with the support of those who seek to alleviate their suffering . "
The Pope's day began this morning with a visit to the church of St Stanislaus in Botteghe Oscure for a Mass of thanksgiving for the canonization of John Paul II. "You - he told the Polish faithful - are part of a people that has experienced times of trial in its history. Polish people know that to enter into glory they must pass through the passion and the cross. And you know this because you have studied it, you have experienced it; knows because he has lived. St. John Paul II, as a worthy son of his fatherland, followed this path. He followed it in an exemplary manner, receiving from God a total spoliation. This why ' his flesh rests in hope'. And what about us? Are we willing to travel this path? Dear brothers and sisters, who formed the Christian community of Poles today in Rome, do you want to travel this path?". "St. Peter, also the voice of St. John Paul II says: ' conduct yourselves with fear of God in the time in which you live down here as foreigners". That's true, but we are pilgrims not wandering, we are on a journey but we know where we are going, the wanderers do not know. Pilgrims but we do not wanderers, like St. John Paul II said".
"We too can become 'resurrected pilgrims', if his word warms our heart, and the Eucharist opens our eyes to the faith and nourishes us in hope and charity. We too can walk alongside their brothers and sisters who are sad and desperate, and warm their hearts with the Gospel, and break the bread of brotherhood with them".