Vatican City ( AsiaNews) - Once again the need for peace was in the Pope's prayers this Sunday, because " the pursuit of peace is long and requires patience and perseverance " for peace in the Middle East : Syria but also Lebanon, Israel , Palestine, Iraq and Egypt. One day after the great day of prayer and fasting, which involved millions of people worldwide, the voice of Pope Francis returns to repeat his no to war.
The same numbers as last night
gather today to St. Peter's Square for the Angelus, maybe 80 thousand people.
But today the discourse is extended to include the war we all have to wage in the choice between good and evil. An "inner war "against evil". What's the point of waging war, so many wars, if we are incapable of waging this war against evil". "This involves, among other things, saying no to fratricidal hatred and the lies it feeds on, to violence in all its forms, the proliferation of weapons and their illegal trade. There is so much, there is so much. This is a commercial war to sell these weapons. These are the enemies we must fight united and with consistency, following no other interests beyond those of peace and the common good".
Following the recitation of the Marian prayer Pope Francis spoke again about yesterday. He said: "I would like to thank all those who, in different ways, have joined in the prayer vigil and fasting last night. I thank the many people who took part uniting their sufferings. I thank the civil authorities, as well as members of other Christian communities and other religions, and men and women of good will who on this occasion, experienced moments of prayer, fasting and reflection. But the commitment continues, we must move forward with prayer and works of peace, I invite you to continue to pray for an immediate end to the violence and devastation in Syria and for renewed effort and commitment to finding a just solution to the fratricidal conflict. I pray also for other countries in the Middle East, particularly Lebanon, that it may find the desired stability and continue to be a model of coexistence; for Iraq, so that sectarian violence gives way to reconciliation and for the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, so it may forge ahead with decision and courage. And we pray for Egypt, so that all the Egyptians; Muslims and Christians, be committed to building a society together for the good of the entire population. The search for peace is long and requires patience and perseverance, let us continue with our prayer".
But even before the Angelus, the Pope, illustrating today's Gospel today, had made reference to war, which is not just "external" to man, but the one that everyone has to fight within himself. " In today's Gospel - he said - Jesus insists on the conditions to be his disciples; to prefer nothing to love for Him, to carry His cross and follow Him. Fact, Many people approached Jesus , wanting to come among His followers , and this occurred especially after some miraculous signs that credited Him with being the Messiah, the King of Israel . But Jesus did not want to deceive anyone. He knew what awaited Him in Jerusalem, which is the path that the Father asks Him to travel: it is the Way of the Cross , the sacrifice of Himself for the forgiveness of our sins".
"Following Jesus does not
mean taking part in a triumphal procession ! It means sharing His merciful love
, in His great work of mercy for all mankind. And this universal forgiveness
comes through the Cross. But Jesus does not want to do this work alone:
he wants to involve us in the mission that the Father had given him. After the
resurrection He tells His disciples:
"As the Father has sent me, even so I send you ... for those whose sins
you forgive , they are forgiven " (Jn
20,21.22 ) . A disciple of Jesus renounces all goods because he finds the
greatest good in Him, in which all goods are given their full value and
meaning: family ties , other relationships , work, cultural
and economic endeavors... the Christian detaches himself from everything and finds
everything in the logic of the Gospel , the logic of love and service . "
"To explain this need, Jesus uses two parables : one of the tower to be built and the other of the king who goes to war . This second parable says: " What king marching to war against another king , does not first sit down and consider whether he can stand with ten thousand men, the king who comes to meet him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends messengers to ask for peace "(Lk 14.31 to 32 .) Here Jesus does not want to deal with the theme of war , it is only a parable . Yet, in this time when we are strongly praying for peace , this Word of the Lord touches us to the quick, and essentially tells us, there is an inner war that we must fight , each one of us! It is the strong and courageous decision to renounce evil and its enticements and choose good, ready to pay in person, this is following Christ , this is taking up His cross ! This involves, among other things, saying no to fratricidal hatred and the lies it feeds on, to violence in all its forms, the proliferation of weapons and their illegal trade. There is so much, there is so much. This is a commercial war to sell these weapons. These are the enemies we must fight united and with consistency, following no other interests beyond those of peace and the common good. "
The Pope finally concluded by recalling today's feast of the "Nativity of the Virgin Mary , particularly dear to the Eastern Churches . Let us send warm greeting to all the bishops , monks and nuns of the Eastern Churches , Orthodox and Catholics. Jesus is the sun, Mary is the dawn that heralds its rising. Yesterday evening we held vigil and entrusted to her intercession our prayer for peace in the world, especially in Syria and throughout the Middle East. Now we invoke her as the Queen of peace. "