Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "War and hatred are not the solution to any problem": Benedict XVI said so today, while news was being released about the beginning of the ground offensive by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip. After the prayer of the Angelus today, the pope spoke for the third time in this Christmas season about the fiery conflict between Israelis and Palestinians: "The dramatic news that comes to us from Gaza," the pope said, "demonstrates how the rejection of dialogue leads to situations with untold impact on populations that are once again the victims of hatred and war."
Benedict XVI confirmed again his participation in the Day of prayer scheduled for today by patriarchs and Christian leaders in Jerusalem: "The patriarchs and leaders of the Christian Churches in Jerusalem," the pope said, "today, in all of the Churches of the Holy Land, are asking the faithful to pray for an end to the conflict in the Gaza Strip, and to implore justice and peace for their land. I unite myself with them, and I also ask you to do the same, remembering, as they say, 'the victims, the injured, those with broken hearts, who live in anguish and fear, that God may bless them with the consolation, patience, and peace that come from Him'."
"Let us pray, then," he added, citing the statement by the Christian leaders, "that the 'Child in the manger . . . may inspire the authorities and those responsible on both sides, Israeli and Palestinian, to immediate action to put an end to the current tragic situation'."
Before this, the pontiff dedicated the reflection before the Marian prayer to a brief commentary on the gospel of this Sunday (the second in the Christmas season), which presents the prologue of the Gospel of John, which Benedict XVI called "a dizzying synthesis of the entire Christian faith," the result of "a lived experience" and not at all a "rhetorical figure," written by the witness John.
"It is not," the pope said, "the learned word of a rabbi or a doctor of the law, but the impassioned testimony of a humble fishermen who, attracted as a young man by Jesus of Nazareth, over three years of life together with Him and the other apostles experienced his love - so much so that he called himself 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' - saw him die on the cross and appear resurrected, and then received his Spirit together with the others. From this entire experience, upon which he meditated in his heart, John drew one deep conviction: Jesus is the Wisdom of God incarnate, he is his eternal Word made mortal man."
"Every man and every woman," he added, "needs to find a deeper meaning for his or her own existence. And for this books are not enough, not even the sacred Scriptures. The Child of Bethlehem reveals to us and communicates to us the true 'face' of the good and faithful God, who loves us and does not abandon us, not even in death. 'No one has ever seen God', John's Prologue concludes. 'The only Son, God, who is at the Father's side, has revealed him' (John 1:18)."
"The first one to open her heart to contemplate 'the Word made flesh'," the pontiff concluded, "was Mary, the mother of Jesus. Thus a humble girl from Galilee became the 'seat of Wisdom'! Like the apostle John, each one of us is invited to ' take her into his home' (John 19:27), in order to know Jesus profoundly and experience his faithful and inexhaustible love. This is my wish for each one of you, dear brothers and sisters, at the beginning of this new year."