» 12/01/2013, 00.00
Pope: the hope of Advent to end all wars
Pope Francis mentions the prophecy of Isaiah, turning "swords" into "ploughshares" and "spears" in "pruning hooks". Humanity must find a shared horizon for its existence. The Church and the world are walking together toward the final goal. The Virgin Mary is the model to emulate. The Pontiff's thoughts also go out to people living with AIDS, grateful to missionaries and health care workers who quietly stand by them.
(AsiaNews) - Pope Francis appealed twice today for an end to all wars. Trusting
that the hope of Advent may embrace the earth, he read twice a passage by the
prophet Isaiah, from today's Mass, the first Sunday of the liturgical season before
Christmas, in which the prophet said, "They shall beat their swords into
ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise
the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again" (2:4).
tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St Peter's Square for the Angelus
prayer, the pope said: "Let me repeat what the prophet Isaiah said, 'Give heed
to my words!'"
when will this happen?" he asked after re-reading the verse. "When will the
time come in which weapons will be disassembled and turned into tools of labour?
Is that possible! Our wager is that there is always hope for peace."
he said, "has not ended. As in the life each one of us, there is a need to
share, rise, and recover a sense of what our existence is all about, so for the
great human family it is necessary to renew always the shared horizon towards
which we are journeying. A horizon of hope! The season of Advent, which we
begin again today, gives us a horizon of hope, hope that does not disappoint
because it is founded on the Word of God, for the Lord never disappoints: He is
faithful, He will not disappoint. Let us consider, feel this beauty!"
pontiff explained the meaning of the new liturgical year, which began with
Advent, describing it as "a new journey by the People of God with Jesus
Christ, our Shepherd, as our guide through history towards the fulfilment of
the Kingdom of God".
rediscover the beauty of being on the road. The Church, with its vocation and
mission, and humanity as whole with its peoples, civilisations, and cultures, all
of us are on the road through the paths of time. On the road to where? Do we
share a goal? And what is that goal?"
again to Isaiah's prophecy (2: 2-3), Francis said that his journey "is a
universal pilgrimage towards a shared goal, which in the Old Testament is
Jerusalem, where the temple of the Lord stands, for it is from there, from
Jerusalem, that the revelation of the face of God and His law came. Revelation found
its fulfilment in Jesus Christ, and the 'temple of the Lord' has become himself,
the Word made flesh. He is the guide as well as the destination of the
pilgrimage of God's people, and in his light, other nations can walk towards
the Kingdom of justice and peace."
In order to take
to this road in this day and age, the Virgin Mary is a role model to emulate. "In
her womb, God's hope turned into flesh, became man, and made history: Jesus
Christ. Her Magnificat is the canticle of the People of God on the way, and of
all the men and women who hope in God, and in the power of his mercy. Let us be
guided by her who is mother, a mum who knows how to guide us in this time of
waiting and active watch."
Angelus prayer before greeting the many groups present, Francis noted that
today is World AIDS Day. "Let us express our closeness," the pope said, "with
the people who are affected [by HIV/AIDS], especially the children, closeness that
is very real in view of the quiet work performed by many missionaries and [health
care] workers. Let us pray for all of them, including physicians and
researchers. May every sick person, without exception, have access to the care
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On the feast day of the Holy Family, Francis calls on the faithful in St Peter's Square to pray in silence (and then with a Hail Mary) in support of families in need. The pontiff mentioned the importance of grandparents and intergenerational solidarity in households. At the end, his thoughts go to the plane that disappeared between Singapore and Indonesia, and for people in distress in the waters of the Adriatic, saying "I am close to you affection and prayer."
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During the Angelus, Pope Francis compared the lives of people and the Church to a boat, which face difficulties and trials. "Faith gives us the assurance of a Presence that pushes us to overcome the storms of life, [it is] the certainty of a hand that grabs us to help us cope with difficulties, pointing us towards the way even when it is dark."
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In a written appeal, the religious systematically take apart the version of the conflict touted by governments, NGOs and international news organizations. In Ghouta east, jihadists attack the capital and use civilians as human shields. The Syrian government and people have a duty to defend themselves from external attacks. The conflict alone has undermined the coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country.
Xinjiang, crosses, domes, statues destroyed: the new 'Sinicized' Cultural Revolution
Crosses removed from the domes and the tympanum of Yining Church as well as external decorations and crosses, and the Way of the Cross within the church. The same happened at the churches of Manas and Hutubi. The Cross represents "a foreign religious infiltration ". Prayer services forbidden even in private houses under the threat of arrests and re-education. Children and young people forbidden to enter churches. Religious revival frightens the Party.
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